Historical Research

How has comfort in the home changed over time?

Domestic architecture in nomadic times constituted basic shelter and protection. As farming and technology advanced, people began to bring additions into their homes to make them more comfortable. In countries we now deem developed, economic growth caused a divide between the progress of poor and rich housing, with the poorest homes being last to achieve enhanced levels of comfort.

Over time, housing for the poor was improved, through the introduction of minimum standards like building regulations and the public health act, and electric light, central heating bathrooms and eventually toilets made their way into homes in developed countries.

Reyner Banham said that our homes have undergone a ‘mechanical invasion’ and similarly half a century on Beatriz Colomina said that ‘the city has moved to the bed’. Today, homes in developed countries have so many objects and activities. But how comfortable are they? Do we really need to add all this stuff to be comfortable?