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'Naked Houses' Topic of Santa Monica Library Presentation

 
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By Jorge Casuso

August 28, 2017 -- In the staid, manicured suburbs of 1950s America, some white-middle-class families were modifying their homes to accommodate an alternative lifestyle hidden from the eyes of their neighbors -- they were going nude.

The trend -- which continues in such cities as Tampa -- is the topic of author Sarah Schrank's presentation “Sunshine Architecture: Naked Living and the Rethinking of the American Suburbs,” on Saturday, September 9, at 1 p.m. at the Santa Monica Library.

Schrank, who is a professor of History at California State University, Long Beach, will focus on "post World War II suburban nudist experiments and the ways in which standard 1950s and 1960s tract homes, mostly in Florida and California, were adapted to allow for modern concepts in indoor-outdoor living."

Schrank argues that "the existence of suburban nudism forces a reconsideration of suburban conservatism while acknowledging how neatly alternative lifestyles could fit into a postwar domestic ideology of atomized family life and consumer capitalism," she wrote in an abstract for an article on the subject.

Schrank is the co-editor of "Healing Spaces, Modern Architecture, and the Body," a compilation of scholarly essays co-edited with Didem Ekici.

The book, which was released this year, examines how "architects, urban planners, medical practitioners and everyday people have applied modern ideas about health and the body to the spaces in which they live, work, and heal," according to the book's publicity.

The compilation also explores "how urban dwellers have strategized and modified their living environments themselves to create a kind of vernacular modernist architecture of health in their homes, gardens, and backyards."

A book sale and signing will follow the presentation.

The library program is free and all ages are welcome. Space is limited and on a first-arrival basis.

The event is presented by the Society of Architectural Historians, Southern California Chapter (SAH/SCC). For more information, visit smpl.org or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.

The Main Library is served by Big Blue Bus routes 1, 7, R7, R10 and 18 and provides bicycle parking racks.

 


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