How to live in a flat: A study over William Heath Robinson’s representations on life in modern houses

Çelik C., Ergin G.

A/Z ITU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, vol.19, no.2, pp.387-399, 2022 (Scopus) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 19 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.5505/itujfa.2022.79735
  • Journal Name: A/Z ITU Journal of the Faculty of Architecture
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.387-399
  • Keywords: Dwelling, How to live in a flat, Modern houses, Modernism, William Heath Robinson
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022, Istanbul Teknik Universitesi, Faculty of Architecture. All rights reserved.Radical changes have taken place on housing under the influence of modern-ism. These changes drove the writers, sociologists, philosophers, artists, architects, and designers of the period. Today, urban growth and narrowing housing spaces have increased the research on houses again. Upon closer inspection, contemporary houses show that the effects of modernism still last. Therefore, it is essential to examine the productions and discourses on housing to produce new, practical, and realistic spaces. This study examines modern dwelling through the illustrated book How to Live in a Flat by William Heath Robinson and K.R.G. Browne in 1936. As critiques of modernism, the satirical images in this illustrated book are still valid today to understand modernism’s effects on the dwelling. This paper deals with the development, symbols, interior features, and furniture of modern houses. The identity of the modernist house was questioned through this book by using phenomenological research as a qualitative research method. The paper examines modernist interiors with a comprehensive literature review. Subsequently, a discussion was held on future predictions by using inductive rea-soning. These images offer a considerable amount of data on modern dwellings and decrescent living spaces from modernism until today. As a result, the study argues that examining the previous works will prepare a practical ground for future productions instead of predicting or defining a new residential life. In light of the data obtained, the study concludes that designing by evaluating the data of everyday life should be accepted as a prerequisite.