Richard W. Hayes

Postmodern Social Housing 40 Years Later: Charles Moore’s Whitman Village

Series: Lunchtime Lecture
Date: Tuesday 21 November 2017
Time: 13:00
Venue: Lecture Hall
Running time: 42 mins

Charles W. Moore was one of the leading architects of the Postmodern Movement of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. A little-known but important aspect of Moore’s career was his work on housing for low- and moderate-income residents. This talk focuses on Moore’s designs for affordable housing with a particular emphasis on Whitman Village in Huntington Station, Long Island. Built in 1974, Whitman Village exemplifies many of Moore’s most characteristic preoccupations such as supergraphics, learning from the vernacular, and the search for a valid public realm. Forty years after its completion, Whitman Village continues to provide 260 units of below market-rate housing in a region of America most in need of social housing: New York’s commuter suburbs. In 2016, the author visited the project to assess how Moore’s original intentions have held up over the course of four decades. Whitman Village emerges not only as a key project in Moore’s architectural career as but as a case study of the challenges in providing affordable housing for the suburbs.

Richard W. Hayes is a New York-based architect and architectural historian, educated at Columbia and Yale universities. His previous publications include The Yale Building Project (Yale University Press, 2007), a comprehensive history of an influential educational programme.  Recipient of numerous grants and awards, Hayes is currently engaged on a research project funded by the New York State Council on the Arts focused on affordable housing during the years 1965-1995. In 2009 and 2013, Hayes was a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge.

Image: Whitman Village Housing, New York.  Photograph by Norman McGrath courtesy of the Charles Moore Foundation.

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