• Single People and Mass Housing in Germany, 1850–1930: (No) Home Away From Home
    Erin Eckhold Sassin
    Bloomsbury Academic, 2020
    Erin Eckhold Sassin

Single Bedroom of the Catholic Ledigenheim/Kolpinghaus on the Blücherstrasse, 1909, Düsseldorf, Germany. Msgr. Schweitzer, Hospize und Ledigenheime der kath. Gesellenvereine (M. Gladbach: Volksvereins Verlag, 1911), 74.

Homes for unmarried men and women, or Ledigenheime, were built for by nearly every powerful interest group in Germany—progressive, reactionary, and radical alike—from the mid-nineteenth century into the 1920s. Designed by both unknown craftsmen and renowned architects ranging from Peter Behrens to Bruno Taut, these homes fought unregimented lodging in overcrowded working-class dwellings while functioning as apparatuses of moral and social control. A means to societal reintegration, Ledigenheime effectively bridged the public-private divide and rewrote the rules of who was deserving of quality housing—pointing forward to the building programs of Weimar Berlin and Red Vienna, experimental housing in Soviet Russia, Feminist collectives, and accommodations for postwar “guestworkers,” as well as refugees, migrant workers, and the elderly today.

Erin Eckhold Sassin received her PhD in the history of art and architecture from Brown University in 2012 and joined the faculty at Middlebury College the same year. At Middlebury, she teaches courses on the history of art, architecture, and urbanism, with a particular focus on class and gender. Her research is closely linked to her teaching interests: she has published articles on the public/private world of middle class women in the German Empire and the intersection of architecture, power, and ethnicity in Upper Silesia. Currently, she is working with Sophie Hochhäusl (University of Pennsylvania) on the feminist implications of ephemeral and ad-hoc architecture during World War One and collaborating with Florence Feiereisen (Middlebury College) on a digital humanities project marrying architectural history with acoustic ecology—recreating the sights and sounds of the infamous Berlin tenement Meyershof (1873–1972).