Towards a history of interior architecture

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This paper considers the theoretical problems raised by the idea of a history of interior architecture. This interrogation takes as its starting point the notion that interior architecture is a recently formed discipline. From this point of view the discipline’s relationship to history becomes clearly distinct from architecture’s. While this approach may give rise to certain problems, it also opens up a critical opportunity to challenge deeply embedded historiographical notions such as typology and chronology. The key data consists of a selective review of architectural (and some interior design) histories outlining challenges to approaches in architectural history. The general problems of historiography gleaned from these critiques are used to develop guidelines for a history of interior architecture. The argument will outline key ideas in historiography focusing on Banham, Foucault and Tafuri. Key concepts will be identified such as the idea of operative history, critical history and microhistory. The argument will then suggest an approach which reflects (or rejects) these key concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThinking Inside the Box: a reader in interiors for the 21st century
EditorsJ. Gigli
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherMiddlesex University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781904750222
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • History and theory
  • identity
  • historiography
  • discourse
  • interior architecture
  • architecture


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