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Abitare: Interview - Despina Stratigakos on Women in Architecture

by SAH News | Jun 07, 2013

Though the word “feminism” has hardly caught on in most architectural circles, as a movement, feminism has provided a framework to rethink architecture as a practice, where a lack of diversity continues to hold back the field in a rapidly changing world. The impact of feminism in architecture today has a broader scope, as family and work/life balance issues are increasingly relevant to men as well as women. In our interview with her, Sarah Wigglesworth argued that “feminism stresses the connection between the personal and the political; these two facets need to be brought closer together to reflect the realities of women’s, and increasingly men’s, lives.” For our second interview with Despina Stratigakos, we continue the discussion of women in architecture by looking at the narratives around feminism and gender in architecture schools, firms, and society in general.

Despina Stratigakos is an architectural historian, writer, and professor at the University of Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. She is author of the award-winning book A Women’s Berlin: Building the Modern City (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), which traces a largely forgotten version of the city that embraced a feminine modernity, both culturally and architecturally. Stratigakos is currently working on her next book, Hitler at Home, which examines the aesthetic and ideological construction of Hitler’s domesticity, focusing on his two private residences. In 2007, she curated an exhibition on Architect Barbie that focused on gendered stereotypes within the architectural profession and in 2011, she collaborated with Mattel on the development and launch of the doll. Stratigakos is the Deputy Director of the University of Buffalo’s Gender Institute and has served on the board of directors of the Society of Architectural Historians, among others.

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