AD Editorial Round Up: Women in Architecture

There are few topics that stir up more controversy on ArchDaily than that of . From those of you who vociferously advocate for women in the field to those who steadfastly purport that gender has no place in architecture at all, you, our readers, represent a wide spectrum of viewpoints and opinions on the subject.

And so, in honor of International Women’s Day, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of our past comment-stirring articles (even more after the break):

Without Architects, Smart Cities Just Aren’t Smart

Visualization of Masdar City © Foster + Partners

Arguably the biggest buzzword in urbanism right now is the ‘Smart City’. The idea, although certainly inclusive of eco-friendly practices, has even replaced “sustainability” as the major intent of planning for positive future development. Smart City thinking has been used successfully in countries as diverse as Brazil, the US, the UAE, South Korea, and Scotland (Glasgow just won a £24million grant to pioneer new schemes throughout the city).

But what exactly are ? What benefit do they bring us? And, more importantly, how can we best implement them to secure our future?

The answer, in my opinion, lies in the hands of architects.

More on the potential of Smart Cities after the break…

On Zombies and the Immortality of the Shopping Mall

Image via Flickr User CC Gilderic Photography

This article, which originally appeared on Bullett Media, is by writer Matthew Newton. Newton has written for The Atlantic, Esquire, Forbes, and Guernica, and is currently at work on No Place for Disgrace, a collection of nonfiction stories based on the faded promise of the American suburbs. You can follow him on Twitter @newtonmatthew.

In November of 1977, filmmaker George A. Romero arrived with cast and crew at Monroeville Mall, a sprawling indoor shopping center located in the suburbs east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The young director, who by that time had established himself as a pioneer in the horror genre, was set to start production on his latest film, Dawn of the Dead, a sequel to his 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead. Once again Romero’s slow-shuffling ghouls — starved as always for brains and entrails, meaty thigh bones and plump jugulars — would be unleashed on bumbling humans ill-prepared for a world gone rotten.

This time around, however, Romero, who in Night of the Living Dead touched on issues of race in the civil-rights era, had plans to skewer a new social dilemma: the rise of the American consumer. And to properly lampoon the nation’s burgeoning shop-till-you-drop culture, Romero needed the ideal backdrop.

Read more of Matthew Newton’s take on the immortality of the shopping mall, after the break…

Non-Design: Architecture’s (Counter-Intuitive) Future

Quinta Monroy development after occupation. © Cristobal Palma

Global architecture underwent a seismic shift in the 20th Century. Governments, keen to mitigate the impoverishing effects of rapid urbanization and two world wars embarked on ambitious programs, pairing with modernists who promised that design could be the solution to social inequality and poverty. Today, the problems inherent in these mid-century tower blocks are well documented and well known, and these modernist solutions to poverty are often seen as ill-conceived failures.

If the 20th century was all about designing to solve social problems, then the 21st century has been about the exact opposite – not designing to solve social problems. These days, it is much more common to see architects praising the social order and even aesthetic of illegal slums, which in many cases provide their residents with a stronger community and higher quality of life than did many formal social housing projects of the past. The task of architects (both today’s and tomorrow’s) is to develop this construction logic: to use design and, rather counter-intuitively, non-design to lift these urban residents out of their impoverished conditions.

More on the social potential of non-design after the break…

Rendering / CLOG

Courtesy of

Every three months, the publication CLOG takes on “a single subject particularly relevant to architecture now.” It’s not a quick look at something trendy, but rather an in-depth look at the issues that are affecting – and will continue to affect – architecture as we know it today.

CLOG: is, in my opinion, the best issue yet. Through dozens of fascinating, concise articles and a handful of illustrative, quirky images, it takes on an enormous question often over-looked in the architectural world: what is a rendering? An alluring device to win over a jury or public? A realistic depiction? Or perhaps it’s an entity unto itself…

Rendering examines how the rendering has become a means of deception – not just for the public, but for ourselves – becoming an aesthetic end-product rather than the representation of an idea in-progress. But at the same time, the rendering is our best tool for entering into the “real” world, for communicating what we do to the public at large.

Is there a way to marry these opposing characteristics? What should the future of rendering be? CLOG takes these questions head-on. More after the break…