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Cover Art
Author Heath, Kingston Wm.

Title The patina of place : the cultural weathering of a New England industrial landscape / Kingston Wm. Heath.

Published Knoxville : University of Tennessee Press, [2001]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Store  728.314097448 HEAT GD2    AVAILABLE
Edition 1st ed.
Physical description xxiii, 249 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 227-237) and index.
Contents Introduction: Architecture as Cultural Production xvii -- Part I New Bedford: One Generation and Many -- 1. Growing Up in a New Bedford Three-Decker: An Environmental Autobiography 3 -- 2. From Whaling Port to Leading Textile Center: An Overview of the City's Shift in Economies 24 -- Part II Corporate Housing as an Index to Social Change -- 3. Housing the New Industrial Workforce 61 -- 4. Howland Mill Viliage: The Dashed Dream for an Industrial Utopia 86 -- Part III From Corporate Paternalism to a Speculative Building Market: The Three-Decker in New Bedford -- 5. Anatomy of a New Bedford Three-Decker and the Forces That Shaped It at the Height of the Textile Era 119 -- 6. Cultural Transformation of the Three-Decker at the Close of the Textile Era in New Bedford 162 -- Conclusion: Cultural Weathering as a Vehicle for Exploring the Process of Place Making 182.
Summary The Patina of Place offers a multidisciplinary analysis of workers' housing as an index to social change and cultural identity in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Kingston Heath discusses both the city's company-owned mill housing and the subsequent transition to a speculative building market that established the three-decker rental flat as the city's most common housing form for industrial workers. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the booming textile industry turned many New England towns and villages into industrialized urban centers. This rapid urbanization transformed not only the economic base but the regional identity of communities such as New Bedford as new housing forms emerged to accommodate the largely immigrant workforce of the mills. In particular, the wood-frame "three-decker" became the region's multifamily housing design of choice, resulting in a unique architectural form that is characteristic of New England.
In The Patina of Place, Heath provides the first book-length analysis of the three-decker and its cultural significance, revealing New Bedford's evolving regional identity within New England. Using his concept of "cultural weathering" to explore the cultural imprints left by inhabitants on their built environment, Heath considers whether the three-decker is a generic type that could be transferred, unaltered, elsewhere. Heath shows how the three-decker was designed, built, and lived in, and then illustrates its transformation by later generations of residents following the collapse of the textile industry in the mid-1920s up to the present day. By the very nature of the discussion throughout the book, the author raises a critical question: What factors contribute to architectural relevance? Through his intensive study of the unique building form of the three-decker, Health shows that architecture is not merely the product of individual creative expression or initial use; instead, he argues that architecture also has relevance when viewed as a collective social act. This view allows for a redefinition of a building type's identity, meaning, and importance as it evolves over time. Thus, while The Patina of Place focuses on the three-decker in New Bedford, its overarching theme concerns the cultural, economic, and social complexities of place-making and the role that common people play in the creation of a region's identity.
Subject Working class -- Dwellings -- Massachusetts -- New Bedford.
Working class -- Housing -- Massachusetts -- New Bedford.
Apartment houses -- Massachusetts -- New Bedford.
Urban renewal -- Massachusetts -- New Bedford.
Architecture, Domestic -- Massachusetts -- New Bedford.
ISBN 1572331380 (alk. paper)