Every March 8 at a global level, the struggle for equal rights and universal suffrage is commemorated as part of a date set by the UN in 1975. This commemoration brings together the efforts of women who demanded their right to vote, to work, to vocational training, to hold public office and to combat labor discrimination. This fight is the result of the work of women who sacrificed for the cause. Various events that we experience every day show that the social situation has changed. However, it is essential that both men and women, commit to progress and justice to make things happen.
The struggle in the architectural field at a global level has been represented by various women who have fought against the current situation they were living in, causing a significant shift in history. By raising their voices, they brought about a transcendental impact not only in the world of architecture, but in political contexts, economic and domestic. At ArchDaily we think women are a fundamental pillar in the profession and since its foundation, professionals from different areas have been part of this great multicultural team that extends throughout the world. At the time of publishing this article, the company is made up of 39 women and 31 men of different nationalities and management positions.
For this reason and to commemorate the fight for equality, we called on women from different areas, countries, professions and positions on ArchDaily to answer the following question: in your opinion and personal experience, what should the practice of architecture focus on to become more relevant in the future?
Managing Editor at ArchDaily
"I strongly believe that in order to build better spaces for the cities of the future, everyone should be included in the creative process and in all aspects of the design development. Until now, cities and architecture failed to do so, causing the alienation of more than half of the population. With no sense of belonging, most of us live in places, walk on streets and wander in spaces that don't look like us. We are so accustomed to feeling insecure, anxious, out of place, that somehow it became the norm.
Women, who don't look nor act like men, are expected to live like men. This absurd idea that the conceiver of space and cities is one single human being that dictates the rules, became so outdated. Although awareness reforms, popping everywhere in the world, are enlightening communities about "other options" to life, we are still behind when it comes to action taking. Information should be collected, guidelines should be drawn, women designers and decision makers should be involved, and everyone in the society should bring forward his vision and expectations. The road is long, and this can only be the start of a trial and error process."
Head of Community & Partnerships at ArchDaily
"Currently, politics, land planning and urban planning lack architecture and in turn, those responsible for architecture have not had a vision of politics, citizen culture or the importance of public space as a constructor of citizenship. To make it a relevant practice, we must first ask ourselves how we take the architecture out of its self-absorption to reconnect it with the city and the urban.
The 'relevant architecture' that will build the cities of the future should emphasize the design of public spaces that allow the exercise of democracy and citizenship. It should aspire to build social welfare and transform the mentality of its inhabitants, helping them to reach their full potential within society. The architecture should promote cultural, social and political actions in order to influence the development of better cities. Cities for all ages and genders, where women and girls can move freely and without fear."
Hana Abdel Latif
Built Projects Curator at ArchDaily
"In order to promote better cities, Architecture should focus on sustainable projects and building approaches. This is first and foremost done through pre- design planning, research and analysis. The latter are essential precursors to ensure a functional and long-term growth of healthy city living. The architect should be involved from the very start in assessing the needs, cultural references, material availability and site selection of a potential work. Offering city dwellers settlements and builds they do no need and cannot afford is neither beneficial nor maintainable in the future. The focus should therefore be the characteristics and specific requirements of each and every smaller community withing a large city scope."
Built Projects Manager at ArchDaily
"In the future –hopefully in the near one– architecture practices should be more interdisciplinary, with more active specialists from other fields to maintain social responsibility and tackle global challenges. Architects should be creating cities for everybody, providing a wider range of services for everyone and being aware of the need for creating inclusive spaces. Observing and truly understanding people’s behaviors, expression and needs, is the key to design a successful built environment.
Public and private spaces should melt away, making more open spaces to the public within a building, expanding the benefit not just for the users, but to the city. At the same time, architects should never loose focus in creating sustainable solution. Ensuring design improves the environment around them, not the other way around."
Chief Catalog Editor at ArchDaily
"I think climate change and social sustainability should be considered as big concerns in the years to come. As architects, we should open our minds not only to new designs (such as collaborative spaces, adaptable rooms, tiny houses...) but also to encouraging public policies that favour social sustainability over private property and real estate profit. On a different scale, designers of built space have the power to choose the composition of our built environment, by specifying and spreading the use of non-traditional materials that reduce the impact of the construction industry on the planet and promote small scale local production."
Soledad Sambiasi Zanghellini
Director of Software Product Management at Architonic ArchDaily
"I think one of the most important aspects to focus on is the quality of interiors, in the most broad and comprehensive aspect of the concept. As populations keep on growing, with an expected growth of 10 billion people by 2050, the cities of the future will be extremely dense, we will need to live in smaller spaces, share spaces with more people, and learn to co-habit with very diverse cultures as well. The better the quality of this space, the healthier we will be, physically, psychologically, spiritually and as a society."
Editor at ArchDaily México
"I think that architecture should focus on serving the territory holistically, with the support of professionals specialized in different areas to rethink urban territories. Cities as we know them now, were erected under principles accorded at their time. Nevertheless, those territories face consequences related to political, social and geographical issues –without forget the increasingly present climate crisis– that require solutions that adapt to new ways of inhabit the planet. Architecture should be more aware of and deal with the neglected problems that have dragged on for decades, which have mutated into war territories, expelling the weakest population. The cities of the future must provide shelter, listen and learn from the vulnerable groups."
Customer Success Manager at ArchDaily
"I think the practice of architecture should focus on human interactions. Namely, to think not only of a space fulfilling an aesthetic function, but also to wonder: how this will help improve human interaction? We live in a very individualistic world in which the sense of community, face-to-face interaction, has been lost. Gradually, we have isolated ourselves from the public space, from living with the other. That is why I think it would be interesting to rethink this at the time of planning the cities of the future. Spaces should be open to dialogue, open to live with nature, should coexist with the environment and the people."
Psychologist in Culture & Talent at ArchDaily
"From my perspective as a psychologist, I think that the ability to work collaboratively between different areas (social anthropology or environmental sciences, for example) is very important to meet structural and cultural needs (multidisciplinary collaborative work). In addition, from a motivating point of view, it is very important to always be interested in looking for and learning new ways, new technologies such as virtual reality and big data, sustainability and the use of spaces. It is very important to have knowledge about the design and use of spaces, as well as how it affects our mental and psychological health. The way these spaces are designed has an impact on our lives, moving the way people think, learn and understand the world."
Head of Content at ArchDaily
"Every single designed space should be inclusive (from urbanism to private and public buildings)! We need to educate ourselves and our society through the spaces we inhabit and use every day until they become obvious and necessary, not "optional" for a specific group of people. This way architecture can change not only the physical world but our mindset and empathy."
Country Manager at ArchDaily Mexico
"Good architecture should be accessible to everyone. However, in a world that grows so quickly that self-construction is a reality, it becomes complex. On the other hand, if we focus our efforts in carrying the information and knowledge to more people –since we all need a space to inhabit– and we are concerned with guiding and accompanying both communities and groups, we can raise the quality of life. Although not everyone has access to an architect, I consider it is part of our responsibility to make that knowledge accessible."
Customer Success Team Lead at ArchDaily
"Our practice should be constantly evolving as the needs of people moving to big cities are. The key for architecture to stay relevant in the future, on my perspective, is having the capability to address all users' needs by designing adaptable spaces able to fully transform & change on an effective and practical way as today, people execute all type of actions in one same space."
Projects Built Curator at ArchDaily
"Cities should focus on fostering a sense of community and belonging, by becoming more inclusive. Architecture should, therefore, create and boost new shared typologies and public spaces: accessible, safe and welcoming to everyone, with integrated facilities that allow overlapping activities and meaningful interactions."
Business Development Manager at ArchDaily
"The design of sustainable, eco-friendly spaces and projects that address its context are the future of architecture. Currently, the design of these spaces must be adapted to the technology we use day-by-day. Smart houses, offices and schools that facilitate our way of living are the future of spaces."
Projects Built Curator at ArchDaily
"Architecture should not lose focus on the people, on the inhabitants of the cities for which it is designed, offering urban design and architecture as a powerful tool to ensure the safety and inclusion of all within urban spaces. It should provide adequate meeting and recreation points to share, discuss and express ourselves. Thus, each person can feel part of the same community."
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on March 11, 2020.