Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

What does Fitzhugh mean by a phalanstery?  He’s referring to Charles Fourier’s utopian building concept, the phalanstère:

Fourier believed that the traditional house was a place of exile and oppression of women. He believed gender roles could progress by shaping them within community, more than by pursuits of sexual freedom or other Simonian concepts.

The structure of the phalanstère was composed by three parts: a central part and two lateral wings. The central part was designed for quiet activities. It included dining rooms, meeting rooms, libraries and studies. A lateral wing was designed for labour and noisy activities, such as carpentry, hammering and forging. It also hosted children because they were considered noisy while playing. The other wing contained a caravansary, with ballrooms and halls for meetings with outsiders. The outsiders had to pay a fee in order to visit and meet the people of the Phalanx community. This income was thought to sustain the autonomous economy of the phalanstère. The phalanstère also included private apartments and many social halls. A social hall was defined by Fourier as a seristère.


Le Corbusier adapted the concept of the phalanstère when he designed the Unité d’Habitation commune in Marseilles.


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