Phillip Goad, Homes built for Post-war living
Homes built for Post-war living
Interview with Phillip Goad
Filmed by Tribal Media
Contributor: Heritage Victoria
What house is that? Interactive, created by Heritage Victoria.
Homes of this period were built for cars, appliances, and modern living. Phillip Goad describes how the social and technological changes in Post-war society influenced how people lived, and what they lived in.
To learn more about Post-war architecture, Click Here.
Professor Phillip Goad is Director of the Melbourne School of Design and Professor of Architecture in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. Professor Philip Goad is internationally known for his research and is an authority on modern Australian architecture. Philip has worked extensively as an architect, conservation consultant, and curator. Philip is an expert on the life and work of Robin Boyd, and has held visiting scholar positions at Columbia University, Bartlett School of Architecture (London) and UCLA (Los Angeles). Philip is a past editor of Fabrications, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, and is a contributing editor to Architecture Australia.
The kitchen becomes the undoubted centre of the world in the post-war house.
One of the great things that happens is that the stove and the fridge go from cream to white. There's this new colour change.
Stainless steel sinks are now de rigueur - they're common as opposed to being something of a novelty during the 1930s. And you have an increasing focus on the kitchen as not only the, if you like, control centre for the house but it also becomes increasingly the social centre.
And so you have the kitchen having direct access, open access to where meals are served as opposed to a separate dining room. It's in this post-war period that the idea of the kitchen-dining room becomes a unified space.
The kitchen-dining room, family room becomes a unified space, and that's what we know as incredibly common today - of where we live, we also eat and we also cook.
And that notion, which we take for granted, is really a post-war invention.
There's no doubt that, after World War II, there was an incredible reassertion or reconfirmation of traditional gender-based division in the household.
Dad went to work, Mum stayed at home in the kitchen, and that was, if you like... some might say quite a regressive step, when, during the war, many women were able to enter the workforce with ease because many of the men were overseas in military service.
So, after the war, when you have this need for the re-education of returned servicemen, an incredible housing shortage, an amazing baby boom that's about to take place, the gender-based divisions of work and labour really reassert themselves.
And I think that that's actually accentuated by the kitchen becoming this sort of centre of consumption for the house and also the rise of television.
The home becomes a private entertainment centre as well as the sort of private consumption centre.
And there's incredibly concentrated efforts in the '50s and '60s of the home really replacing many of the sort of public-realm functions.
I think this increase in consumption meant that there was an increase too in home entertainment, so you had living rooms that opened onto back gardens and the rise of the swimming pool - not as being a luxury item, but something that the middle class could afford.
And you had progressive dinner parties at home rather than dining out, and these were probably competitive progressive dinner parties.
But you also had this idea of home entertainment being indoor and outdoor so that you could go from the living room or the family room to the outdoor patio, and there wasn't this, if you like, neglect of the backyard - it now became a back garden.
And so the rear of the house now looked directly onto a garden and there was direct interaction, rather than it being where the laundry or the back door... You might have had an outdoor toilet, for example.
These were often at the back of the house in the 1930s, no longer in the 1950s and 1960s.
You had your private home entertainment outdoor space at the back as well.
The kitchen really saw gadgets like Magimix... the Mixmaster and so on, and these high-tech objects - new forms of toasters.
And where in the '30s they'd been streamlined, now they became almost sort of space age in their design.
And, of course, you have to remember the '50s is the age of Sputnik - 1957 - and so there is this romance of space and... technological, if you like, progress.
And so the television is part of that. New designs for telephones into the '60s.
We would move from the Bakelite telephone into the plastic telephone by the 1960s and so on and so forth. And it's the same you can see on the motorcar - we have sort of rocket fins on the backs of Holdens in the 1950s and early 1960s, and they progress through into the 1970s.
The other interesting aspect to this idea of technology is the role of the carport and the garage.
The carport comes to be... In the 1930s, the garage was discretely down the side of the house.
You would have a driveway with a little grass strip where the oil could drop discretely but not stain the concrete. By the early 1960s, the carport had really brought the car into the open, and the car was displayed to the street.
You owned the latest Falcon or latest Valiant. And it was on show, and if you had two of them in the driveway, that was even greater status symbol.
One of the interesting aspects of the car and domestic design was that it now became an expectation potentially for the lady of the household to drive - to drive to the supermarket, come home, get the bags of shopping from the car and be able to go directly under cover from the carport to the front door.
It was about convenience. And this is, I think, actually one of the interesting aspects of the '60s - this idea of convenience, access from the car to the front door, and the closest distance between the car and the kitchen generally was what was being examined closely.
And in some houses, you find that the kitchens are actually brought to the front of the house to actually decrease that distance between carport and kitchen.