The cold-headed architect

October 8, 2013

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“The absence of women from the profession of architecture remains, despite the various theories, very difficult to explain and very slow to change.” (p. 12, from Francesca Hughes’ The Architect Reconstructing Her Practice)

When developing an architectural project architecture students are taught to question their ideas during the process and thereby achieving the best possible result. Both male and female students are humbly able to kill their darlings.

A practicing architect however is even more so expected to make hard-core decisions in the end. To the bone, if necessary. This is a well-known fact of architectural processes. There is no reason why any cold-headed architect is not able to be rational, man or woman. If you put yourself in such a position, you resolve it.

The question here is rather who wants you be the decision maker? Obviously the majority is not women. If it is the overwhelming feeling of traditions, expectations or lack of insight, I don’t know. But the fact is – cold-headed rationality does not depend on gender.

Respons to: Lori Brown, ”Introduction” in Feminist Practices: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture, London: Ashgate, 2011.

Johanne Killi

One Response to “The cold-headed architect”

  1. elsajannborg Says:

    For the firs: I do not understand why a practising architect has to feel like decisions have to be hard-core. Doesn’t one work with the idea or question to be able to make a logical decision? Well, I have only been working on an office for one year and only at one office, but in that office we worked against a goal and when we had come to the goal the decisions was made naturally.

    For the second: It may be true that students of architecture are taught to question their ideas. But what is a good idea? And who decides if an idea is good? There is clear that there is an underlying culture, at least at KTH, of different rights and wrongs. It’s hard to work in a different way than the “right” way. One can try to work differently, but mostly one will surrender. Lose. Compare the basic design studio with the critical studies design studio. One of them dose not even exist benefit to the other one.

    elsa jannborg


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