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Feminism: The Latest Architecture and News

How the Star System and Sexism Have Erased the Contribution of Women Architects in Intimate-Creative Partnerships

While women in architecture already face more obstacles than men in their careers, as proven by studies and research from across the globe, the disparities become even more obvious when it comes to partnerships involving both genders. In the history of the profession, there are many examples of office partnerships or collaborations that reveal the discrepancies in terms of recognition achieved by the work, reflected in awards, honors, citations, and salaries.

Many of these collaborations are between intimate couples who, as in any business partnership, design and make work decisions together. But in the particular case of architects in a heterosexual relationship, the role of the "wife" seems to have prevailed over that of collaborator, architect, or equal partner on many occasions.

Project Galath3a: a Woman-Machine Collaboration at the Berlin Open Lab

Exploring the use of innovative technologies in architecture and practicing at the crossroads between art and spatial design, Gili Ron and Irina Bogdan have imagined project Galath3a, a woman-machine collaboration. The research-based venture uses a UR5 robotic arm named Gala (short for Galatea), to speculate on what is culturally considered as "womanly behavior".

Laboratory tests performed at Berlin Open Lab, Universität der Künste,Berlin. Image Courtesy of Gili Ron and Irina BogdanDesign proposal: Set design for “The Robot Salon”. Image Courtesy of Gili Ron and Irina BogdanDesign proposal: Set design for “The Robot Salon”. Image Courtesy of Gili Ron and Irina BogdanDesign proposal: Set design for “The Robot Salon”. Image Courtesy of Gili Ron and Irina Bogdan+ 9

How Did the Evolution of Women's Role in Society Change the Built Environment?

In theory and practice, in the modern era, the idea of spatial separation between home and work was related to the traditional sexual division of men and women, and of their role in life. Going back to the earliest feminist thinking in architecture, in western industrialized communities, we are elaborating in this article on women’s changing role in the 20th century and its impact on the space we experience today. 

Decoration Deserves to Be Celebrated for What It Is, Rather Than Dismissed for What It Isn’t

Beginning with the moral indignation expressed in Adolf Loos’s 1910 lecture “Ornament and Crime” and Le Corbusier’s 1925 The Decorative Art of Today, decoration has been attacked from every possible angle. Driven by the heroic male architect, Modernist dictates of good design—functionalism, truth to materials, purity of form—quickly took over and continue to be the dominant ideology today in the way architecture and interiors are taught and practiced. If Modern architecture was rational, masculine, and structural, then decoration was considered emotional, feminine, and shallow. Or, according to Loos, it was flat-out degenerate.

What Can Cities Imagined by Women Look Like? The Case of Barcelona

Although cities are supposed to be built for everyone, they are in most of the time, thought, planned and designed by men: “Cities are supposed to be built for all of us, but they aren't built by all of us.”

With basic different needs, men and women expect different outcomes from their urban surroundings. A city should be able to fulfill everyone’s essentials. Lately, the topic that has everyone's attention revolves around cities designed by women. With a female mayor onboard and a feminist agenda, for the past four years, Barcelona has been undergoing major transformations on this subject.

Dead Fish on the Beach: the Problem with “Women in Architecture”

9 Lessons For Post-Architecture-School Survival

We’ve already talked about this. You’re preparing your final project (or thesis project). You’ve gone over everything in your head a thousand times; the presentation to the panel, your project, your model, your memory, your words. You go ahead with it, but think you'll be lousy. Then you think just the opposite, you will be successful and it will all be worth it. Then everything repeats itself and you want to call it quits.  You don’t know when this roller coaster is going to end. 

Until the day arrives. You present your project. Explain your ideas. The committee asks you questions. You answer. You realize you know more than you thought you did and that none of the scenarios you imaged over the past year got even close to what really happened in the exam. The committee whisper amongst themselves. The presentation ends and they ask you to leave for a while. Outside you wait an eternity, the minutes crawling slowly. Come in, please. The commission recites a brief introduction and you can’t tell whether you were right or wrong. The commission gets to the point.

You passed! Congratulations, you are now their new colleague and they all congratulate you on your achievement. The joy washes over you despite the fatigue that you’ve dragging around with you. The adrenaline stops pumping. You spend weeks or months taking a much-deserved break. You begin to wonder: Now what?

The university, the institution that molded you into a professional (perhaps even more so than you would have liked), hands you the diploma and now you face the job market for the first time (that is if you haven’t worked before). Before leaving and defining your own markers for personal success (success is no longer measured with grades or academic evaluations), we share 9 lessons to face the world now that you're an architect.

Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice: Materialism, Activism, Dialogues, Pedagogies, Projections

Architecture and the arts have long been on the forefront of socio-spatial struggles, in which equality, access, representation and expression are at stake in our cities, communities and everyday lives. Feminist spatial practices contribute substantially to new forms of activism, expanding dialogues, engaging materialisms, transforming pedagogies, and projecting alternatives. Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice traces practical tools and theoretical dimensions, as well as temporalities, emergence, histories, events, durations – and futures – of feminist practices.
Authors include international practitioners, researchers, and educators, from architecture, the arts, art history, curating, cultural heritage studies, environmental sciences, futures studies, film, visual communication, design and

Call for Submissions: RESPECT ME at 2018 NYC Design Week

Grouphug, the NYC-based design collective, invites emerging and established designers from all disciplines to submit their work for its 2018 NYC Design Week show: RESPECT ME.

Why Spaces Shouldn't Be Described as "Masculine" or "Feminine"

What is the most misused word in the world of architectural writing? Could it be "iconic"? What about "innovative"? The staff over at Curbed have a nomination: referring to spaces as either "masculine" or "feminine." In an op-ed published last month, they write that "the people who write about decor and design need to stop describing spaces with gendered terms," arguing: "Let's say two spaces were written up in a decor blog, and one was described as masculine, and the other feminine. Which would have white walls? Which would have raw concrete floors? ... If these have fairly easy answers, it's because we're in the realm of stereotype."

When Will Architects Speak Up for Women's Rights?

On April 12, 2013, the Board of Health of the Commonwealth of Virginia approved new laws deploying building codes and architectural regulations sanctioning that clinics offering first trimester abortions meet the same building specifications as newly-constructed, full-service surgical hospitals. Mandating compliance within about 18 months, these standards will entail significant and costly alterations to existing facilities that may bankrupt many clinics in the state.

The political maneuvering which occurred to achieve these architectural arrangements, and the responses of concerned professionals in Virginia, were well documented in the press. The Health Commissioner resigned in protest. The chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine called these building codes “arbitrary and capricious.” A director of the University of Richmond School of Law wrote an editorial challenging the legislation on legal grounds. Almost 200 physicians took a public stand, denouncing the politicians and urging the state to reject the architectural alterations.

Health policy analysts, social workers and advocates for low income women - who will be greatly impacted when these local clinics close - continue to speak up and organize. We have heard from just about everyone with a stake in the impending architectural arrangements. 

Except architects.