Alex Banister

Thesis title: Designing the Domestic: Women’s Writing on Architecture and Design in Interwar Britain

Start year: 2022


Supervisor(s): Dr Jane Stevens Crawshaw

Research topic

My research project investigates the role of women in the design of the domestic environment during the interwar period in Britain.

My PhD research builds on existing work that re-evaluates traditional architectural histories by positing that women played a larger role in the demand for, and the design of, modern ways of living than previously credited. The project aims to expand upon these existing methodologies and understandings by emphasising ‘architecture on the page’: the work of female practitioners who formulated and disseminated their ideas through the written word rather than actualised buildings.

Informed by intersectional feminist histories, this reassessment will be achieved with a focus on women’s magazines and periodicals as key sources, as well as books written by, and in collaboration with, female architects and designers. An analysis of such sources will develop the interpretive approach of using the written word, as well as drawings and illustrations, as a means of communicating architecture for modernity beyond the physical building, considering as much the ideas behind designs as the forms they take. It will locate these publications as a primary site for conversations on modern domestic architecture and interwar feminism. As well as the writers of these texts, the project looks at the intended readers, with particular attention to representation in terms of gender, nationality, class, and race

Academic school / department

School of Education, Humanities and Languages

Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

Co-convenor, PhD and Early Career Network, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain