Issue 8
ISSUE
STORY TYPE
AUTHOR
10
PERSPECTIVE
June 17, 2024
We Need More Than Fewer, Better Things
by Deb Chachra
10
PERSPECTIVE
June 3, 2024
An Ode to Garages
by Charlie Weak
10
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
May 28, 2024
In Search of Domestic Kintsugi
by Edwin Heathcote
10
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
May 13, 2024
The Perils of the Landscapes We Make
by Karrie Jacobs
10
PERSPECTIVE
May 6, 2024
Using Simple Tools as a Radical Act of Independence
by Jarrett Fuller
9
PERSPECTIVE
April 29, 2024
Why Can’t I Just Go Home?
by Eva Hagberg
9
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
April 22, 2024
Why Did Our Homes Stop Evolving?
by George Kafka
9
ROUNDTABLE
April 8, 2024
Spaces Where the Body Is a Vital Force
by Tiffany Jow
9
BOOK REVIEW
April 1, 2024
Tracing the Agency of Women as Users and Experts of Architecture
by Mimi Zeiger
9
PERSPECTIVE
March 25, 2024
Are You Sitting in a Non-Place?
by Mzwakhe Ndlovu
9
ROUNDTABLE
March 11, 2024
At Home, Connecting in Place
by Marianela D’Aprile
9
PERSPECTIVE
March 4, 2024
VALIE EXPORT’s Tactical Urbanism
by Alissa Walker
8
PERSPECTIVE
February 26, 2024
What the “Whole Earth Catalog” Taught Me About Building Utopias
by Anjulie Rao
8
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
February 19, 2024
How a Run-Down District in London Became a Model for Neighborhood Revitalization
by Ellen Peirson
8
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
February 12, 2024
In Brooklyn, Housing That Defies the Status Quo
by Gideon Fink Shapiro
8
PERSPECTIVE
February 5, 2024
That “Net-Zero” Home Is Probably Living a Lie
by Fred A. Bernstein
8
PERSPECTIVE
January 22, 2024
The Virtue of Corporate Architecture Firms
by Kate Wagner
8
PERSPECTIVE
January 16, 2024
How Infrastructure Shapes Us
by Deb Chachra
8
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
January 8, 2024
The Defiance of Desire Lines
by Jim Stephenson
7
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
December 18, 2023
This House Is Related to You and to Your Nonhuman Relatives
by Sebastián López Cardozo
7
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
December 11, 2023
What’s the Point of the Plus Pool?
by Ian Volner
7
BOOK REVIEW
December 4, 2023
The Extraordinary Link Between Aerobics and Architecture
by Jarrett Fuller
7
PERSPECTIVE
November 27, 2023
Architecture That Promotes Healing and Fortifies Us for Action
by Kathryn O’Rourke
7
objects and things
November 6, 2023
How to Design for Experience
by Diana Budds
7
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
October 30, 2023
The Meaty Objects at Marta
by Jonathan Griffin
6
OBJECTS AND THINGS
October 23, 2023
How Oliver Grabes Led Braun Back to Its Roots
by Marianela D’Aprile
6
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
October 16, 2023
Can Adaptive Reuse Fuel Equitable Revitalization?
by Clayton Page Aldern
6
PERSPECTIVE
October 9, 2023
What’s the Point of a Tiny Home?
by Mimi Zeiger
6
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
October 2, 2023
A Book Where Torn-Paper Blobs Convey Big Ideas
by Julie Lasky
6
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
September 24, 2023
The Architecture of Doing Nothing
by Edwin Heathcote
6
BOOK REVIEW
September 18, 2023
What the “Liebes Look” Says About Dorothy Liebes
by Debika Ray
6
OBJECTS AND THINGS
September 11, 2023
Roy McMakin’s Overpowering Simplicity
by Eva Hagberg
6
OBJECTS AND THINGS
September 5, 2023
Minimalism’s Specific Objecthood, Interpreted by Designers of Today
by Glenn Adamson
5
ROUNDTABLE
August 28, 2023
How Joan Jonas and Eiko Otake Navigate Transition
by Siobhan Burke
5
OBJECTS AND THINGS
August 21, 2023
The Future-Proofing Work of Design-Brand Archivists
by Adrian Madlener
5
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
August 14, 2023
Can a Church Solve Canada’s Housing Crisis?
by Alex Bozikovic
5
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
August 7, 2023
In Search of Healing, Helen Cammock Confronts the Past
by Jesse Dorris
5
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
July 31, 2023
What Dead Malls, Office Parks, and Big-Box Stores Can Do for Housing
by Ian Volner
5
PERSPECTIVE
July 24, 2023
A Righteous Way to Solve “Wicked” Problems
by Susan Yelavich
5
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
July 17, 2023
Making a Mess, with a Higher Purpose
by Andrew Russeth
5
ROUNDTABLE
July 10, 2023
How to Emerge from a Starchitect’s Shadow
by Cynthia Rosenfeld
4
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
June 26, 2023
There Is No One-Size-Fits-All in Architecture
by Marianela D’Aprile
4
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
June 19, 2023
How Time Shapes Amin Taha’s Unconventionally Handsome Buildings
by George Kafka
4
SHOW AND TELL
June 12, 2023
Seeing and Being Seen in JEB’s Radical Archive of Lesbian Photography
by Svetlana Kitto
4
PERSPECTIVE
June 5, 2023
In Built Environments, Planting Where It Matters Most
by Karrie Jacobs
3
PERSPECTIVE
May 30, 2023
On the Home Front, a Latine Aesthetic’s Ordinary Exuberance
by Anjulie Rao
3
PERSPECTIVE
May 21, 2023
For a Selfie (and Enlightenment), Make a Pilgrimage to Bridge No. 3
by Alexandra Lange
3
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
May 8, 2023
The Building Materials of the Future Might Be Growing in Your Backyard
by Marianna Janowicz
3
BOOK REVIEW
May 1, 2023
Moving Beyond the “Fetishisation of the Forest”
by Edwin Heathcote
2
ROUNDTABLE
April 24, 2023
Is Craft Still Synonymous with the Hand?
by Tiffany Jow
2
OBJECTS AND THINGS
April 17, 2023
A Historian Debunks Myths About Lacemaking, On LaceTok and IRL
by Julie Lasky
2
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
April 10, 2023
How AI Helps Architects Design, and Refine, Their Buildings
by Ian Volner
2
SHOW AND TELL
April 3, 2023
Merging Computer and Loom, a Septuagenarian Artist Weaves Her View of the World
by Francesca Perry
1
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
March 27, 2023
Words That Impede Architecture, According to Reinier de Graaf
by Osman Can Yerebakan
1
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
March 20, 2023
Painting With Plaster, Monica Curiel Finds a Release
by Andrew Russeth
1
PERSPECTIVE
March 13, 2023
Rules and Roles in Life, Love, and Architecture
by Eva Hagberg
1
Roundtable
March 6, 2023
A Design Movement That Pushes Beyond Architecture’s Limitations
by Tiffany Jow
0
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
February 7, 2023
To Improve the Future of Public Housing, This Architecture Firm Looks to the Past
by Ian Volner
0
PERSPECTIVE
February 7, 2023
The Radical Potential of “Prime Objects”
by Glenn Adamson
0
SHOW AND TELL
February 20, 2023
Xiyadie’s Queer Cosmos
by Xin Wang
0
CHRONICLES OF CULTURE
February 13, 2023
How Michael J. Love’s Subversive Tap Dancing Steps Forward
by Jesse Dorris
0
SHOW AND TELL
February 7, 2023
Finding Healing and Transformation Through Good Black Art
by Folasade Ologundudu
0
BOOK REVIEW
February 13, 2023
How Stephen Burks “Future-Proofs” Craft
by Francesca Perry
0
ROUNDTABLE
February 27, 2023
Making Use of End Users’ Indispensable Wisdom
by Tiffany Jow
0
OBJECTS AND THINGS
February 7, 2023
The New Lessons Architect Steven Harris Learns from Driving Old Porsches
by Jonathan Schultz
0
PERSPECTIVE
February 7, 2023
The Day Architecture Stopped
by Kate Wagner
0
OBJECTS AND THINGS
February 7, 2023
The Overlooked Potential of Everyday Objects
by Adrian Madlener
0
ROUNDTABLE
February 7, 2023
A Conversation About Generalists, Velocity, and the Source of Innovation
by Tiffany Jow
0
OBJECTS AND THINGS
February 7, 2023
Using a Fungi-Infused Paste, Blast Studio Turns Trash Into Treasure
by Natalia Rachlin
Untapped is published by the design company Henrybuilt.
BOOK REVIEW
12.04.2023
The Extraordinary Link Between Aerobics and Architecture

A new book chronicles the social implications of domestic spaces designed for exercise.

Black and white wide shot of Gege Figini holding onto gymnastics rings that are hanging from a small gymnasium on her house's rooftop terrace
Gege Figini in a gymnasium on the rooftop terrace of her family’s house in Milan, designed by her husband, architect Luigi Figini, in 1934. (Photo: Studio Crimella. Courtesy MART, Archivio del ’900, Fondo Figini-Pollini)


When Walter Gropius, the founding director of the Bauhaus, stepped down from the school, in 1928, he appointed Hannes Meyer, the school’s head of architecture, to take over. Largely overlooked in the Bauhaus’s history—Meyer was one of three directors from the school’s short tenure, following Gropius and preceding Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—the Swiss-born architect’s two-year term ended in accusations of Communism in an increasingly precarious political environment.

Meyer joined the school in the midst of reverberations from the second industrial revolution, where he found the Bauhaus navigating the newfound tensions between individual expression and mass production. It is here that Meyer’s impact on the school is perhaps most evident: He came down firmly on the side of the latter. In a 1926 essay titled “The New World,” Meyer wrote what would become, in essence, his manifesto for the institution. “Trade union, co-operative, Lt., Inc., cartel, trust, and the League of Nations are the forms in which today’s social conglomerations find expression, and the radio and the rotary press are their media of communication,” he wrote. “Co-operation rules the world. The community rules the individual.”

For Meyer, the collective was die neue baulehre, “the new way to build.” In other words, it was within the group that artistic expression could be found. He believed that sport, and physical activity more generally, provided an ideal metaphor for the collective, and that the gymnasium had replaced the museum as the primary site where ideas and emotions emerged. “The stadium has carried the day against the art museum, just as bodily reality has taken the place of beautiful illusion,” Meyer continued. “Sport unifies the individual with the masses. Sport is becoming the advanced school of collective feeling.”

Equating aerobics and architecture may seem like a stretch. But the relationship between them is more closely linked than we might realize, as is beautifully explored in the new book The Advanced School of Collective Feeling (Park Books) by architects Nile Greenberg and Matthew Kennedy. In the short, richly illustrated document, Greenberg and Kennedy present a revisionist history of modern architecture through the lens of “physical culture”—a term for health and exercise promotion that originated in the 19th century and proliferated in the 1920s and ’30s—and make the case that there is still much designers can learn from the movement.

Black and white wide shot of two women in athletic clothing sitting in an apartment with a gym in it
A Berlin apartment for a gymnastics instructor, designed by Marcel Breuer, in 1930. (Courtesy Marcel Breuer Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)


Like modernism, physical culture was significantly influenced by an industrial revolution. As populations moved from countrysides to cities, societies reshaped previously unchanged social structures including economic orders, educational methods, and recreation. A concern about a disconnection from nature gave way to a codified gymnastics that was influenced by both interest in physical fitness and intellectual development. Consequently, the history of physical culture is consistently tied to educational reform, from the integration of gymnastics into school curricula in the late 18th century to early precursors of the modern gym that promoted collective exercise. “To learn to think,” Rousseau wrote in 1762, “it is necessary to exercise our limbs, our senses, our organs, which are the instruments of our intelligence.”

In the early 20th century, physical culture became linked to ideas of modernity. “Emerging in concert with a broader modern movement,” Greenberg and Kennedy write in their book, “the aptly named physical culture was both scientific and poetic, intimate yet collective, and physical, intellectual, and spiritual all at once.” Central to this new approach was the integration of objects and equipment to facilitate bodily results, placing physical culture and architecture onto a shared trajectory: Exercise, just like the design of spaces and things, became something both more mechanical and more creative.

“The modern architecture of the 1920s and ’30s was above all characterized by a sweeping reconsideration of the rituals of daily life, and therefore often involved radical typological experimentation,” Greenberg and Kennedy continue. “The question of the modern house, so central to the architectural discourse of the era, was fundamentally intertwined with a preoccupation with the modern body.” From this thesis, the authors move from example to example, using an incredible index of historical photographs and plans to show physical culture’s impacts on the design of domestic spaces, and the possibilities such spaces held for their inhabitants.

Black and white photograph of seven women facing each other and jumping in a rooftop aerobics class
Karla Grosch leads Bauhäuslers through an exercise regimen on the roof terrace of the Prellerhaus, Bauhaus Dessau, in 1929. (Photo: Estate of T. Lux Feininger. Courtesy Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin)


In his essay “Building,” published the same year as “The New World,” Meyer listed the primary considerations an architect should make when designing a house: “1. sex life, 2. sleeping habits, 3. pets, 4. gardening, 5. personal hygiene, 6. protection against weather, 7. hygiene in the home, 8. car maintenance, 9. cooking, 10. heating. 11. insolation, 12. service.” The human—specifically, the human body—accounts for at least three of Meyer’s factors. As if to exemplify this idea, Meyer’s design for the ADGB Trade Union School in Bernau bei Berlin, Germany, created with Hans Wittner in 1928, shortly after Meyer took over the Bauhaus, featured a prominent gymnasium, complete with a running track and exercise equipment.

At the Bauhaus, even pre-Meyer, physical culture was central to community life. Classes in bodily movement were taught by former student Karla Grosch and competitive sport was a common pastime between classes. Greenberg and Kennedy show how these extracurriculars made their way back to the design studio. When, for example, Marcel Breuer was commissioned to renovate a Berlin apartment in 1926, a few years after completing studies at the Bauhaus, gymnastics equipment—a punching bag, wall bars, medicine balls—were prominent. The permanence of these objects contrasts with the bed, which can be folded away when not in use. As Greenberg and Kennedy write, “The fact that the bed could disappear when the inhabitants wished it suggests that the more traditionally domestic program of the bedroom was subservient to a more innovative program: the home gym.” Breuer would go on to design the apartment of gymnast Hilde Levi (also featured in the book) and in 1931, his installation “House for a Sportsman,” unveiled at the Building Exposition in Berlin, seamlessly blended the domestic space and gymnasium in a model apartment.

Greenberg and Kennedy prove that the interest in physical culture was not limited to the Bauhaus, but rather transcended cultures, politics, and locales. Architects in the Deutscher Werkbund, the German artists’ collective, frequently incorporated gymnasiums into their designs, from Richard Döcker’s Weissenhof Estate to Theo Effenberger’s WuWA Estate. At Brussels’s 1935 Exposition Universelle, “La maison du jeune homme (House of a Young Man),” conceived by French designers Charlotte Perriand, René Herbst, and Louis Sognot on behalf of the office of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, shows punching bags, weights, and acrobatic swings sitting next to modern furniture in the main living space. At the Triennale di Milano, in 1933, a bedroom prototype imagines exercise as an important part of domestic life as it includes a rowing machine, boxing equipment, and sliding pole its inhabitant could use to more swiftly access the ground floor.

And in the United States, Richard Neutra’s Lovell Health House, designed for physician and naturopath Philip Lovell and his wife, Leah, was positioned on the grounds for maximum sunlight across a series of terraces designed for gymnastics, swimming, and sunbathing. Inspired by his clients’ interest in physical culture, the strategies Neutra employed here made their way into the vocabulary of mid-century architecture and influenced many of his later housing projects.

Black and white photograph of three women on a second-story terrace that has been transformed into a gym
Gymnasium on a second-story terrace conjoining House 26/27, designed by Theo Effenberger for the Wohnung und Werkraum Ausstellung, in Wrocław, Poland, in 1929. (Courtesy the Museum of Architecture in Wrocław)


But just as the architects of the modernist movement were uninterested in interrogating claims of universality, their incorporation of physical culture also presumed a default, universal body: that of a straight, white, able-bodied male. In this way, despite their utopian ideals, the designers perpetuate the racism, sexism, and ableism so often embedded in the modernist project and the Eurocentric canon that shapes both modern architecture and beauty standards.

Greenberg and Kennedy believe there is still much we can take from these experiments. Despite its problematic histories, we can reclaim modern architecture not as a style but as a tool for liberation, in hopes that we can realize its utopian ideals in favor of plurality, collectivity, and identity. For the authors, the modern body represents agency, and in merging physical culture with domestic space, new forms of self-construction might materialize.

To look at the book’s photographs is to see modern architecture in a new way: as an attempt to reconcile universality with particularity. The home is not simply “a machine for living in,” as Le Corbusier wrote, but rather, a space for becoming. “The individual and the collective do not operate, and indeed never have operated, in dialectical opposition to one another. [B]y setting aside inherited, often moralistic notions of the domestic sphere, we render it possible to contribute to the collective,” Greenberg and Kennedy write in their conclusion. This “suggests, however gently, that the central task of the dwelling is to provide the conditions for a profound act of self-invention, or perhaps more accurately, self-construction. At its most radical, this act can challenge archetypal ideas of identity, and thereby expand the scope of who constitutes that society.” If that’s not a worthy goal for design, I don’t know what is.



The book
The Advanced School of Collective Feeling will be the focus of the December 8 gathering of the New York Architecture + Design Book Club, a quarterly book subscription and event series co-organized by Untapped and the Brooklyn bookshop Head Hi. The book’s authors, along with designer and dancer John Sorensen-Jolink, will lead the program’s interactive discussion. Find out more and RSVP on the book club’s website.