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Beatriz Colomina on the Correlation Between Playboy and Architecture

Beatriz Colomina, Professor of Architecture at Princeton, recently gave an interview to Architect Magazine on the current exhibition of her thesis—“Playboy Architecture 1953-1979”—at the Elmhurst Museum in Chicago. Her interest in the correlation between Playboy and architecture began nearly thirty years ago with her exploration on the role of gender and architecture in the work of Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier. From there, she began to observe numerous parallels between Playboy and the world of design.

Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979

What is the connection between sex, architecture and design? Opening tomorrow, September 29, Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 explores the role of architecture in the famous men’s magazine Playboy. Colomina, along with the curators of NAiM/Bureau-Europa in Maastricht, The Netherlands, centers the exhibition around the research of Beatriz Colomina, a professor at the Princeton University School of Architecture and founder of their Media and Modernity program, who has been studying the connection for the past three years.

Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979 illustrates how cities, buildings, interiors, furniture and products have always played an important role in the fantasy world of Playboy. Ever since Hugh Hefner launched Playboy in 1952, its erotic spreads have featured the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Buckminster Fuller, Moshe Safdie, and Paolo Soleri. As Colomina’s program argues, “sexual revolution and architectural revolution are inseparable.” The exhibition reveals how Playboy reshaped masculinity with the influence of architecture and design.