Home Improvement: “Problems of Housing” 1944 Encyclopaedia Britannica Films

more at http://quickfound.net

“Modernizing antiquated U.S. housing stock to bring it up to health and safety standards.”

NEW VERSION with improved video & sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uduug_z9CXU

Public domain film from the Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original).

Wikipedia license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

A house is a home, building, or structure that functions as a habitat for humans or other creatures. The term house includes many kinds of dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to complex structures composed of many systems. English-speaking people generally call any building they routinely occupy “home”.

The social unit that lives in a house is known as a household. Most commonly, a household is a family unit of some kind, though households may be other social groups, organizations, or individuals…

Little is known about the earliest origin of the house and its interior, but it can be traced back to the simplest form of shelters. Roman architect Vitruvius’ theories have claimed the first form of architecture as a frame of timber branches finished in mud, also known as the primitive hut. Philip Tabor later states the contribution of 17th century Dutch houses as the foundation of houses today.

“As far as the idea of the home is concerned, the home of the home is the Netherlands. This idea’s crystallization might be dated to the first three-quarters of the 17th century, when the Dutch Netherlands amassed the unprecedented and unrivaled accumulation of capital, and emptied their purses into domestic space.

Communal rooms

In the Middle Ages, the Manor Houses facilitated different activities and events. Furthermore, the houses accommodated numerous people, including family, relatives, employees, servants and their guests. Their lifestyles were largely communal, as areas such as the Great Hall enforced the custom of dining and meetings and the Solar intended for shared sleeping beds.

Interconnecting rooms

During the 15th and 16th centuries, the Italian Renaissance Palazzo consisted of plentiful rooms of connectivity. Unlike the qualities and uses of the Manor Houses, most rooms of the palazzo contained no purpose, yet were given several doors. These doors adjoined rooms in which Robin Evans describes as a “matrix of discrete but thoroughly interconnected chambers.” The layout allowed occupants to freely walk room to room from one door to another, thus breaking the boundaries of privacy…

Although very public, the open plan encouraged sociality and connectivity for all inhabitants.


An early example of the segregation of rooms and consequent enhancement of privacy may be found in 1597 at the Beaufort House built in Chelsea. It was designed by English architect John Thorpe who wrote on his plans, “A Long Entry through all”. The separation of the passageway from the room developed the function of the corridor. This new extension was revolutionary at the time, allowing the integration of one door per room, in which all universally connected to the same corridor. English architect Sir Roger Pratt states “the common way in the middle through the whole length of the house, [avoids] the offices from one molesting the other by continual passing through them.” Social hierarchies within the 17th century was highly regarded, as architecture was able epitomize the servants and the upper class. More privacy is offered to the occupant as Pratt further claims, “the ordinary servants may never publicly appear in passing to and fro for their occasions there.” This social divide between rich and poor favored the physical integration of the corridor into housing by the 19th century…

In the United States, modern house-construction techniques include light-frame construction (in areas with access to supplies of wood) and adobe or sometimes rammed-earth construction (in arid regions with scarce wood-resources). Some areas use brick almost exclusively, and quarried stone has long provided walling. To some extent, aluminum and steel have displaced some traditional building materials. Increasingly popular alternative construction materials include insulating concrete forms (foam forms filled with concrete), structural insulated panels (foam panels faced with oriented strand board or fiber cement), and light-gauge steel framing and heavy-gauge steel framing…