Gendering Domestic Architecture 

Author(s): Suzanne Spencer-Wood

Year: 2013


Historic domestic architecture interacted with gender in two ways: it expressed and shaped gender roles, practices, identities and ideologies; and the architect’s gender affected house designs. Architecture, including house design and construction, were traditionally men’s occupations. Men’s house designs affected women’s lives in many ways as houses developed from a few multi-purpose rooms in early English colonies to more task and gender specific rooms in Georgian and later house designs. Changes in house construction and their spatial arrangement in communities affected gender power dynamics. In a second trend, after 1850 a few women designed houses to facilitate and elevate the status of women’s housework and mothering, such as Harriet Irwin’s hexagonal house design, and the cruciform house design of Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. In domestic manuals reform women also designed the interiors of houses for more scientific and efficient housekeeping and mothering.

Cite this Record

Gendering Domestic Architecture . Suzanne Spencer-Wood. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428636)


Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 181