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Women Writing

Fri, Apr 20, 2018    1pm

Women Writing

Jing Liu, Mimi Hoang, Anna Puigjaner in conversation with Hilary Sample.

Writing about architecture remains critical to the education of an architect. It is an act that is undertaken in academic and professional settings. As such this initiative brings together a select group of architects who have written about their design work, doing so as a means to both better understand the built environment and reflect on the field of architecture as a whole. Women Writing will explore short essays and critical statements written by female architects about their own work and reflect upon writings by renowned women architects.

Each participant will present an exemplary piece of writing that has inspired her own work and writing as a kind of call to action. Through female trailblazers and pioneers, we can research the established domains of architecture in order to reframe its future. This initiative seeks to examine both buildings and writings in parallel as way to understand the field of architecture and its creative culture up close.

During the discussion, a series of questions are being asked:
As architecture is a profession, formal education being compulsory to achieve licensure, what educational limitations were presented and what opportunities arose? How does gaining an education and achieving professional status intersect? Similarly, how does a lack of education affect professional status? … Did specific role models or mentors contribute to a career path? And, in turn, is working with a mentor important? What other influences may be identified? … Was gender a consideration in seeking out education or professional opportunities? … When examining design work and its making, do individual styles seem to influence or shape the work? Similarly, when examining written texts, how is this work completed? Does it also demonstrate an individual style? … If certain architect-writers are as well known for their buildings as for their texts, how might these different types of achievement affect their work? Is design enriched by writing? And if so, how? Does the role of collaboration impact creative work? What kinds of practices create novel forms of authorship, and how may credit be attributed individually or in collaboration? And which areas or subjects have these practices advanced in the field? … As no subject appears off-limits to architects—be it aesthetics, color theory, social or climate engineering, environment, materiality, structure, digital theory and representations, … or beyond to urban planning, design, or historic preservation—where are these texts published? What other venues for exhibiting work have aided the architect-writer in establishing an audience? When does architecture become part of a broader cultural conversation or awareness, and what role have architects played in that awareness? … What role does experimental architecture play? What critical knowledge is established in design work versus written work about design? Beyond the obvious and expected, how are these two forms different? Where have text been published? Where they written in response to another text? Or to a specific work of architecture? … What is an ideal length of text? Did any specific images accompany the text?
- Hilary Sample

Women Writing is the beginning of a new multi-semester, multi-event initiative led by Hilary Sample at Columbia GSAPP. The project will commission new short texts by architects on their own work and will culminate with the publication of these short texts as a collection, in book form. The event will further serve as a preview to Sample’s Fall 2018 design research seminar, titled “Architect Writers.”

Organized by Columbia GSAPP in collaboration with The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) and GSAPPXX.
Free and open to the public.