Women As Spatial Designers Cultural Studies Essay

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Thesis statement : The role of female in spatial design. Architecture is an industry that is typically associated with men. However in the modern society as women are gaining more equality we can see from the emergence of great women designers. Women as architect and interior designers, what kind of contribution and impact they make? How different are they in the process of design compared to men? What are the challenges they face?

I. Introduction

A. General overview on the role of women in architecture.

1. Brief history on feminist movement.

2. Brief history on women in architecture.

II. Body

A. Great contributions by early female designers.

1. Anna Keichline - patented K-Brick

2. Margaret Lihotzky - invention of efficient kitchen.

B. Demographics of female architects.

1. Statistics and numbers.

2. Greatest contributors to the status of women in architectural profession.

C. Current society. Gender equality. Remarkable woman architect.

D. Case Study

1. Female architect - Zaha Hadid, Itsuko Hasegawa.

2. Male feminist architect - Le Corbusier

3. Male & Female partnership - Charles & Ray Eames, SANAA.

4. Female user building - Ehwa Womans University in Korea, Female hospital.

E. Theory - Feminism and other related theories associated.

F. Challenges faced by women in workplace. Should women be given special privilege in design?

G. How different are the female spatial designers contrbutions from male?

III. Conclusion

A. The advantage and disadvantages of being a woman architect.

B. Should women be given more chance and more room to explore their talent in spatial design?

C. Does women fare better than men in spatial design? Does the gender matter?


According to 2011 world population census there are approximately seven billion people here on Earth and 49% are female. That would be over three billion female! With that collective numbers we can focus further to the niche of female professionals in the field of spatial design. There is no denial that all this time women has played important role in everyday life. However in the field of architecture where it is still dominated mostly by men, women have much more role than just adding feminine touches to a space. If one was asked to name ten male famous architects, certainly there is not much problem. However if one was asked to name at least five famous female architects, other than mentioning Zaha Hadid most will need to pause and think just to name a few correctly.

In the past women are suppose to be only concerned with household affairs. Women have almost no say outside the house. Therefore women used to be excluded both as designer as well as the users. Only in the late 18th century when the feminist movement happened to promote gender equality, women's rights are slowly improving. After the latest wave of feminist movement in 1990s which promotes development and recognition for achievements by women professionals.

In this 21st century women have shifted from being a domestic homemaker to literally making a physical home for the family. In the current society, women are viewed as equal with men in the workplace. Although in certain parts of the world women are still paid averagely twenty five percent less than men. Sometimes in mature companies we can even see more women in the team than men. Nowadays women's opinion and talent are just as valuable as men's. Which bring us to the few question, is there any way to identify a building designed by woman? How are women different in their approach of spatial design? What is the impact of women architect in practice?

Progress and Notable Achievements of Women in Architecture

1900 - There are thus far 39 formal 4-year architectural program woman graduates in the US.

1958 - Currently there are a total of 320 registered women architects, which equals to 1% of the total number of registered architects in the US.

1980 - M. Rosaria Piomelli heads the City College of New York College of Architecture, becoming the first woman dean of a US architecture school

1983 - The AIA begins collecting data on the gender and race of its members

1985 - Norma Merrick Sklarek is the first African-American woman in the US to form her own firm, Siegel-Sklarek-Diamond. She is also the first African-American woman to license in the US and to be inducted as a fellow of the AIA

1988 - The number of female licensed architects is approximately 2100 (about 4%).

1999 - The number of female licensed architects is approximately 30,000 (about 15.5%), and the proportion of principals or partners who are women is 11.2%.

2001 - Of the 1,038 tenured architecture school faculty members, 16% are female and 8% are ethnic minorities. For architecture undergraduates, 37% are female, 15% are ethnic minorities. For graduates, 34% are female and 20% are ethnic minorities

2002 - The proportion of female licensed architects is about 19.9%, and the proportion of principals or partners who are women is 20.7%.

2003 - From the 2003 AIA Firm Survey, 20% of registered architects are female

Source - www.lifeofanarchitect.com/women‐in‐architecture/

Looking back at the history of women in architecture, we can see a great progress for women to be more involved in the architectural field. In 1869 a book entitled "The American Woman's Home" was published by two important female writers during that era - Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catherine Beecher. The book contains detailed home designs from female perspective which was often ignored by male architects. In 1888 Louise Blanchard Bethune is the first American women to work as a professional architect. In 1920 Margarete Schutte-Lihotzky, an austrian architect designed the efficient kitchen. Which till date the working triagle that she designed to fit a small kitchen is still being used in the modern kitchen planning. Then in 1927 Anna Keichline is another notable architect. She patented several inventions during her career, the most famous being the K-brick. "The K-brick is a hollow fireproof clay brick that was cheaper and lighter than any other brick of its time. It could be filled with isulating or sound-proofing material and was designed for hollow wall construction."