Professor in Residence, Department of Architecture, GSD, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
The Plan Journal, vol. 4 , no. 2 [Fall]
New perspectives on gender issues and the impact of gender mainstreaming to re-assess the past, change the present and envision the future of the design fields
Dörte Kuhlmann, TU Wien, Vienna
In his inaugural address to the students at the Bauhaus, held in April 1919, Walter Gropius declared: "We shall make no distinction between the fair sex and the strong sex; there shall be absolute equality.” Nevertheless, he believed that men, with their experience as soldiers coming face to face with death, made for better artists than female students, to the extent that sometimes he limited the female students’ access to the workshops.
Looking back at the history of the architectural profession, we find that architecture has a fairly long and well-documented history as a profession, and we feel that we have a certain understanding of what “good” architects should be like – including their dispositions or habitus. Despite attributes that used to be considered “feminine” – for instance, a consideration of the “domestic” realm – an architect was traditionally considered a male figure and until modern times their initiation into the profession came via apprenticeship. Women joined the field around 100 years ago when they were first admitted into architectural schools. Henry Atherton Frost, who founded in 1915 the first architecture school for women (the Harvard Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture), pointed out that female architects did indeed add significant issues to the architectural discourse, when he stated in 1941 that a typical student of his:
“… thinks clearly, reasons well, and is interested in housing rather than houses; in community centers for the masses rather than in neighborhood clubs for the elect; in regional planning more than in estate planning; in social aspects of her profession more than in private commissions … her interest in the profession embraces social and human implications.” 1
Today more or less fifty percent of the architecture students are female, yet women represent just about one in five licensed practitioners. Even though architecture seems to be of equal importance for men and women, there are quite often differences in their expectations regarding the built environment. As Aaron Betsky argued in Building Sex: Men, Women, Architecture, and the Construction of Sexuality (1995), public space is full of performative signs of power, and hence we need to keep asking ourselves whether our environment really responds to the expectations and needs of the different sexes.2
Although still relatively few women architects have received lasting international recognition, the design fields seem to have been substantially enriched from the theoretical debates on feminism and gender.
What are the most important contributions of the female pioneers in architecture, design and urbanism still to be duly investigated and recognized? Will gender mainstreaming continue to challenge contemporary design issues? And will it become a basic principle in architecture and design, as well as opening up new issues in urbanism?
The TPJ seeks contributions that can illustrate recent research on “gender issues in design”, and how this knowledge can be used to envision more sustainable cities and habitats. We welcome proposals that address innovative research on this topic from a variety of angles, including: historical/theoretical case studies in Modern architecture, typological or technological investigations, cross-disciplinary studies (across the fields of product design, interior design, landscape architecture, and urban design), projects and/or case-studies in reflective practice, critical reflections on gender and urbanism, and experimental pedagogies.
- Doris Cole, From Tipi to Skyscraper: A History of Women in Architecture (New York: Braziller, 1973), 97.
- Aaron Betsky Building Sex: Men, Women, Architecture, and the Construction of Sexuality (New York: William Morrow & Co, 1995).
Priority for peer-review evaluation and publication will be given to complete manuscripts, but proposals in the form of long abstracts [300/500 words] are also encouraged as a first step in the editorial review process. Authors of accepted proposals will then be invited to develop complete manuscripts, which will then go through the peer-review process.
Submitting proposals as a first step is only an option and full manuscripts are encouraged also as first submissions.
Proposals due by June 17, 2019
Invitation to develop accepted proposals into complete manuscripts sent to authors by July 1, 2019
All complete manuscripts due by September 2, 2019
Accepted and edited manuscripts expected to be published on-line by December 15, 2019
Print version of the issue expected to be available by January 31, 2020
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