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Ideas of living

This is an issue about how domestic space organizes our surroundings and habits and values and bodies. It is also about convention: how norms became norms, and how design might gently or violently pull them apart to propose new ways of relating to ourselves and each other in our most intimate settings. It offers a few terms for discussing what can happen when architectural ideas come home.

Article 5 of 16

The Budge Home through a Leica

Photographs by Ilse Bing

In 1929, Ilse Bing bought a Leica camera and started a photographic career that took her from Frankfurt to New York via Paris. Working first for magazines as a photojournalist, she was soon running her own studio. While still in Frankfurt, she was commissioned by architect and urban planner Mart Stam to undertake a photographic survey of the modern buildings that were being erected in the city, including the Henry and Emma Budge-Heim building. Built according to Bauhaus precepts, with shared spaces and 106 rooms with personal terraces, the project set a precedent for many future construction projects for the elderly.

The light, versatile Leica eliminated the need for a tripod and made it easy for Bing to discover different and unusual perspectives in documenting the project, including high vantage points and close ups. In some cases she reveals her shadow or reflection in glass surfaces.

Our collection holds an album of sixty-eight photos of the Budge Foundation home by Bing, many of which were shown in the 2013 exhibition H-BLOCK Social Housing: Ilse Bing.

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