Paula Lupkin


On her book Manhood Factories: YMCA Architecture and the Making of Modern Urban Culture

Cover Interview of November 21, 2010

In a nutshell

Although it engages directly with the fields of architectural history, gender studies, and urban history this book is really for anyone who has ever gone swimming, or played a game of pick-up basketball, or worked out at a YMCA.

It is also for anyone who has walked on by the local YMCA without taking much notice of the building.  In other words, it is really for everyone: a call for understanding the role of architecture in shaping our everyday lives.

My goal in writing Manhood Factories was to draw attention to the meaning and importance of urban buildings we all take for granted.  Manhood Factories invites people to pay attention to seemingly unremarkable structures, like the YMCA.  The unassuming facades of these buildings masked the organization’s program to mold a modern, corporate, yet moral urban society through recreation and leisure.