The image of the architect is undeniably gendered. While the male architect might be celebrated as the ideal man in Hollywood romantic comedies, blessed with practicality and creativity in equal measure to impeccable taste and an enviable lifestyle, the image of the woman architect is not so clear cut. While women have been practicing and excelling in architecture for more than a hundred years, their professional identity, as constructed in the media, is complex and sometimes contradictory. This book explores the working lives and aspirations of women in architectural practice, but more than this it explores how popular media – newspapers, magazines, and websites – serve to define and describe who a woman architect should be, what she should look like and how she should behave. Looking further, into the way that professional characteristics are reinforced through awards like the Pritzker Prize, the book demonstrates how idealised characteristics such as sensitivity and vision are seen to be neither entirely masculine nor feminine, but instead a complex hybrid owing much to historic concepts of genius. Drawing on history, sociology, media analysis and feminist theories of architectural practice, the book will be of interest to all of those who seek to better understand the image and identity of the architect.
This book was published as a double special issue of Architectural Theory Review.
Table of Contents
1. Editorial 2. Keynote: Women Architects and Their Discontents 3. Identification Through Disidentification: A Life Course Perspective on Professional Belonging 4. The Woman/Architect Distinction 5. ‘‘Nothing Else Will Do’’: The Call for Gender Equality in Architecture in Britain 6. Hard Hats and Aprons: Pioneering Female Architects Portrayed by the Press in Puerto Rico 7. Limited Visibility: Portraits of Women Architects 8. Aptitude and Capacity: Published Views of the Australian Woman Architect 9. Genius, Gender and Architecture: The Star System as Exemplified in the Pritzker Prize 10. ZAHA: An Image of ‘‘The Woman Architect’’ 11. A Cross-National Study of Accommodating and ‘‘Usurpatory’’ Practices by Women Architects in the UK, Spain and France 12. A ‘‘New Institutional’’ Perspective on Women’s Position in Architecture: Considering the Cases of Australia and Sweden 13. Fabrication and Ms Conduct: Scrutinising Practice Through Feminist Theory
Naomi Stead is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Architecture at the University of Queensland, where she is a member of the Research Centre ATCH (Architecture | Theory | Criticism | History).