OPINION. ‘Women in architecture’ by Zaida Muxí

The presence of women in architecture comes from very long ago, but yet it seems that we are still starting here. However, initiatives such as “Un día una arquitecta” [1], which publishes a female architect’s biography every day since 2015, have brought to broad layers of society and the profession, some academic works and visibility of the contributions of women as well as the own work of female architects who have preceded us.

 

The new communication technologies have become a great ally to break the mechanisms of invisibilization of women’s contributions to history in general and architecture in particular. They are undoubtedly a democratizing element of knowledge that allows us to reconstruct the gaps in history through which the contributions of women have gone [2].

 

The tradition of studies on the situation of women in the profession, especially in countries of Anglo-Saxon  ancestry, such as Great Britain, the United States and Canada, shows us that before the public presence of the architects in the avant-garde [3] like Lilly Reich, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, Aino Aalto, Charlotte Perriand or Eileen Gray among others, there had already been female architects, trained in both studies and universities. The explanation that women are present in architecture from the avant-garde, is still part of the heroic construction of modernity, which points to the modern movement as the first moment in which women were present; but history has not really been this way: women fought decades and centuries for their right to study, to exercise a public role, to their economic autonomy; and at the beginning of the 20th century they had already achieved a certain visibility and public presence.

 

The first architect to obtain the title was Mary Louisa Page at the University of Illinois in 1878, and the second one was Margaret Hicks at Cornell University in 1880. Hicks’ career was marked by her concern for the housing for people with fewer resources. As portrayed by Gwendolyn Wright [4], Hicks considered that his practice should not be the private property of a class and she worked in the architecture of the “tenement [5]” and in this way attended to the growing number of immigrants who arrived to NY.

 

Many of the first female architects were well-known in their time, this should not surprise us because if they had been able to study successfully in such a male and hostile world it was because their value was beyond discussion.

 

It is difficult to gloss in so little space all the female architects that deserve to be recognized. For that reason I will give some images that form a random collage to encourage you to look for them:

 

MARLEN LOPEZ FERNANDEZ
marlen lopez_fotomaton-mirando-al-cielo-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine
GISUE HARIRI 1956 | MOJGAN HARIRI 1958

Gisue_Hariri_i_Mijgan_Hariri_jewels-of-salzburg-sternbrauerei-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine

CINI BOERI 1924

cini boeri-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine

JANE DUNCOMBE 1925-2015

jane-duncombe-vivienda unifamiliar-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine

ESTRID ERICSON 1894-1981

estrid ericson_Josef Frank_diseño interior 1930-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine

REIKO TOMITA 1938

reiko_tomita_biblioteca ciudad komaki-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine

BELINDA TATO 1971

belinda_tato_eco-boulevard02-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine

AINO AALTO 1894-1949

aino-aalto-villa-mairea-02-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine

LILLY REICH 1885-1947

Lilly Reich-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine

FRANZISKA ULLMANN 1950franziska ullmann-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine
JULIA MORGAN 1872-1957

julia morgan-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine

SUSEL BIONDI 1977
biondi-poggione-y-otros_-casa-campo-oeste-lima-2012-mujeres en la arquitectura-more-with-less-magazine
SANDRA BESTRATEN 1976
ANUPAMA KUNDOO 1967
CARMEN MORENO ÁLVAREZ 1976
DIANA CABEZA 1954
MARGARETE SCHÜTTE-LIHOTZKY 1897-2000
NOBUKO TSUCHIURA 1900-1998

Zaida Muxí

PHD Architect – ETSAB – UPC Professor

 

[1] https://undiaunaarquitecta3.wordpress.com/

[2] http://blogfundacion.arquia.es/2018/03/yo-arquitecta-hago-huelga-el-8-de-marzo-de-2018/

[3] Sobre Lilly Reich, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, Charlotte Perriand y Eileen Gray ver ESPEGEL, Carmen Heroínas del espacio. Nobuko 2008

[4] WRIGHT, Gwendolyn “On the Frindge of Profession: Women in American Architecture” en KOSTOF, Spiro. Ed.  The Architect. New York:Oxford University Press, 1977.

[5] Se tratan de viviendas multifamiliares, de un solo propietario que arrienda espacios a diferentes familias. En general edificios viejos y en mal estado de conservación.

SPONSORS