What is important about the codification of these measurements is that it translated individual human experiences into terms that are easily understandable. It produced a vocabulary of dimensions that everyone can understand, even though they do not directly experience what is being measured.
Twentieth-century measurement systems show that designers have attempted to find more objective ways to escape the confines of the universal man. The most influential such work, at least in Europe, was Ernst Neufert’s 1936 Architects’ Data, a compendium of standardized measurements for architects and designers that covered the entire spectrum of the built environment (see illustration on page 63).40 Henry Dreyfuss’ American design firm also made a prominent attempt, in this case rationalizing human variations due to gender, age, and
These clearance measurements, applied to kitchen design, are derived from studies of human proportions and movement, Bathroom decor ideas such as reach. The planning of domestic kitchens has been found to be a factor influencing family relationships. Domestic engineering planning was appropriated by industry in the twentieth century without crediting the women designers who pioneered it disability. Dreyfuss’ The Measure of Man and Woman:
Human Factors in Design, first published in 1960, offers the diversity of human physical shape in graphical and statistical detail.41 Indeed, in accounting for human variation as a design parameter the blog might be said to shatter the mold of the universal man.
But even the attempts to classify diversity threaten to be canonized as a new standard. Physical measures are, and will always be, incomplete. Our engagement with the built environment in terms beyond the purely physical – has yet to be explored. Once established, experiential criteria should form the true measures of man and woman.
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