'Amerikafebern' och byggnadsskicket - En studie av emigrationens påverkan på landsbygdens bebyggelse i Västsverige
The' America Fever' and the Building Tradition - A study of the impact from emigration on rural buildings in west Sweden
In the years 1850-1930, about 1.2 million Swedes emigrated, most of them to North America. In popular speech one could say there was an 'America fever' in Sweden. As a result a huge network developed that united people across the Atlantic. Contact was maintained via letters and photographs but also through the approximately 200,000 people who returned home. These 'reemigrants' influenced Sweden in many ways, people brought back with them money, artefacts, working methods and a new worldview. This thesis aims to contribute to the understanding of the influences the emigration might have had on the building tradition. My hypothesis is that American building styles and technique have influenced Swedish building tradition, not only via the professional architecture but also more direct within the vernacular building connected to the emigration. The overall objective is to investigate issues connected to houses built by returning emigrants to contribute, complement and nuance the picture of local and regional building tradition in west Sweden. It is done through four specific objectives; - Present an overview of the emigration to North America as a background to understand the context surrounding building activities of those who returned. - Describe North American architecture regarding villas/dwelling houses during the period 1850-1920. - Account for how influences connected to house building are spread, especially regarding architectural influences of North America. - Trough an investigation of buildings in Western Sweden as examples of "American houses" built during the period 1890 to 1935, discuss connections to the emigration, house styles in North America and how news may have been spread. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods is used that provides the study with both primary and secondary data. The qualitative part is an investigation of a selection of unique objects, the quantitative part is based on literature studies used to build a theoretical frame. The work has included mapping, field studies, documenting trough photography, interviews and archives. The study focusses on rural houses found in the counties Dalsland and Västergötland from the days of mass emigration, 1860-1920. The investigated objects are used as physical traces and are analysed visually. Comparing the inventory objects with American house styles that the emigrants may have encountered during the specific period has been a main point. The result presents that the investigated objects all show inspiration from North American building tradition and can be seen as a concrete expression of the emigration. But the thesis also show that influences came from many different sources in a time of great change and industrialization and that it is difficult to detect how news are spread. But very interesting is that the emigration seems to have created a kind of direct line that allowed popular house models in the USA to land on farms and in villages in western Sweden without intermediaries. It challenges the idea of center and periphery. News connected to building reached rural Sweden broader and maybe fasterthanks to the emigration. It is obvious that architecture and new techniques shows great resemblance with the development in North America. We have the wooden tradition in common with the development of sawmills and carpentry. The trend of the time reached us from many places but especially from North America, an area so many west Swedes had a strong and personal relation to.
Uppsats för avläggande av filosofie masterexamen med huvudområdet kulturvård 2021, 60 hp Avancerad nivå 2021:5