Houses of Experiment: Modern housing and the will to laboratorization

Jane Jacobs, Ignaz Strebel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper adds historical and geographical specificity to the link between city building and laboratorization processes. It does so by way of the example of housing in mid-Twentieth Century Britain. Housing provision at this time was shaped by an intensification of the relationship between architectural design and science, both via the emergent field of building science and a new social science of householder expectations, satisfactions and behaviour. The paper focuses on two instances of these sciences in action in the production of British modern housing. The first instance deals with a set of experiments conducted on ventilation and heating in Britain’s Building Research Station. The second instance on the social science of a post-occupancy study of multi-storey flats in Glasgow. The paper argues that mid-Twentieth Century housing construction and provision was structured in and through a laboratory logic which had a complex geography and temporality. The science of housing sees the conflation and hybridization of the space of the laboratory, the site of the house and the action of the experiment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450–470
JournalInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • laboratory
  • experiment
  • housing science
  • building science


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