Suomalaisen kodin likaiset paikat

The dirty places of Finnish homes – Hygiene and the formation of the modern dwelling

Sunshine, fresh air and a functional differentiation of space were key aspects in social and popular medical discussions on dwelling and housing hygiene from the late 19th century onwards. These discussions had a key role in spatial hygiene, when light, air and the regulation of encounters between users became central organizing principles in the planning of hospitals, schools and dwellings. Bacteriological thinking was important in the genealogy of modern home. Functionalists following the footsteps of social-hygienists went even further than the latter in the definition and realization of spatial hygiene. Modern, functional architecture and the construction of the Nordic welfare state were closely related with each other: the making of the new society can be described as a huge ventilation project in which sunshine and fresh air were made to circulate freely both in dwellings and between them. Cleanliness and aesthetical meanings connected with it had a key position in the making of new functional dwellings and new bacteria-free homes. New aesthetics of health and cleanliness were formed in the planning of housing. Cleanness was a sign of a bacteria-free environment. To be clean it was essential to look clean: appearances, smells and touches were important in the definition of the clean. In the "classless" aesthetics of functionalism the clean, the healthy and the rational implied the beautiful and vice versa. The dwelling that fulfilled the demands of the modern age and society was essentially clean and hygienic. Housewives were responsibe for cleanness at home, and through that, the cleanness of her children and family. It was her duty to eliminate dirt and purify her home.

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