Share this Collection
1 Citation in this Annotation:
Annmarie Adams on Women and the Making of the Modern House
16 December, 2020
This annotation is an extract from Annmarie Adams (1998) review ‘Women and the Making of the Modern House: A Social and Architectural History’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, December 1998, 474-476
Queen Hatshepsut. Costanza. Empress Theodora. Hildegard von Bingen. Phoebe Apperson Hearst. Josephine Baker. Peggy Guggenheim. Phyllis Lambert. The history of architecture is dotted with women who inspired, commissioned, and in a few cases designed some of the world’s best-known monuments. The specific contributions to architecture of these remarkable women, however, have always been overshadowed by the high profiles of their powerful husbands, fathers, sons, colleagues, or lovers. Many architectural histories, for example, only hint at Theodora’s influence on Justinian at Hagia Sophia. Historians have minimized the pivotal role played by William Randolph Hearst’s mother, Phoebe, in recommending Julia Morgan as the architect for Hearst Castle. The story of Phyllis Lambert convincing her father, Samuel Bronfman, to hire Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the Seagram Building is somewhat better known, thanks to her own prominence on the architectural scene.
Alice T. Friedman’s Women and the Making of the Modern House: A Social and Architectural History is the first book-length study of the much-neglected subject of women as patrons of architecture. At the same time, it offers a refreshing look at the history of the modern house, illuminates how twentieth century architects have marketed their goods and services, and reminds us that architecture is, above all, an act of both persuasion and negotiation.