Villa Kirsti or Housing of the Future

The project room

19 August – 4 September 2022

Mary Backman
Villa Kirsti
The sixties is above all the decade of the building boom in Sweden. The strong growth period of the post-war years led
to a move to the big cities and prosperity put pressure on those in power to raise the standard of living
Darden at the accommodation. A million programs was launched and began to be realized towards the end of the decade and
almost lived up to the vision of exactly one million functional apartments adapted for above all
the ideal family, mother, father plus two children. The big project wasn’t just about fashion
bathrooms with water closets and running water and cost-effective construction processes, without a whole
revolution regarding women’s new everyday life as professional workers. Women were needed in the labor market
while the everyday chores still had to be carried out by – the women.

Based on a saved advertisement from Expressen, Maria Backman unfolds a family history from Smedje-
the hill, which in its specific context profoundly affected her upbringing. At the same time, it is a
story from the so-called record years, about the ideals and debates of the sixties. The ad, dated 1964,
announces a housing competition, and behind the concept is the then buzzed-about and combative housing association
the historian Olle Bengtzon (1919 – 2009). The competition was sponsored by the company Elementhus and instruc-
The mission was to choose the best modern villa. Maria Backman’s mother, Kirsti submitted a proposal that
won third prize. An honor that did not pay dividends in the form of money, but which came to be celebrated by
the jury and is realized. The competition’s experts said that “Her dream home is strictly matter-of-fact but
at the same time generously hospitable”. In a report from the time, the author herself explains the idea behind it
spacious, square single-storey villa with a flat roof and light coming in from all directions. “I love
children, but I dislike housework’. Maria grew up in that house and the family lived there from 1965 until
2000. It was a house for the young generation, co-created through her mother’s experiences and
visions for a modern family life with a small laboratory kitchen, open living room and recreation room. A house
which could then be ordered from a catalogue.
The pictures from albums, catalogs and magazines also show the family’s furnishings consisting of a few decades
niers various IKEA furniture, frame chairs and rya rugs. No status objects and on the question of Mrs. Kirsti
regrets something, she replies that she doesn’t really like parquet at all.
With her presentation of a single event from her own life, Villa Kirsti simultaneously highlights the great ones
the shifts in post-war Sweden, how the state’s social engineering is combined with that of the evening papers
golden age, the commercial forces in the construction industry and women’s new visibility in a society that
stuck to her demand for unpaid housework. The Preschool Act only came ten years later, in 1975.

Text: Paulina Sokolow