številka / volume 228-229
december / december 2021
letnik / anno LI

Ženske v arhitekturi
Women in Architecture
vsebina številke
table of contents
Miha Dešman Uvodnik
Leader

Ženske v slovenski arhitekturi
Mika Cimolini Ja načrtujemo
Barbara Vodopivec, Helena Seražin Projekt MoMoWo in pionirke v slovenski arhitekturi, gradbeništvu in oblikovanju
Nuša Zupanc Ženske skupine arhitektk v Sloveniji
Zakaj ženska arhitektura
Natalija Zanoški »V našem biroju ne vezemo blazin!« Uvod v drugi poskus pregleda vpliva feminističnih gibanj in formalno izobraženih arhitektk na spremembe v arhitekturi
Iva Lukan Mesto kot materializacija patriarhata
Renata Šribar Feministična periperformativnost arhitekture in njeni androcentrični viri
Vesna Vuk Godina Ali je kaj resnice v mitu, da je položaj arhitektk v Sloveniji enakopraven zaradi miselne in praktične dediščine socializma, da so slovenske ženske poklicno zaradi te dediščine bolj emancipirane?
Boštjan Bugarič Recenzija knjige Po drugi poti
Intervjuji z arhitektkami
Yes we plan
Predstavitev projekta Yes we plan
Predstavitev rezultatov ankete
Predstavitev skupine Ženske v arhitekturi pri Zbornici za arhitekturo in prostor Slovenije
uvodnik

Ženske v arhitekturi

Miha Dešman

Napisati uvodnik za »žensko« številko AB-ja se je hitro izkazalo za zelo zahteven projekt. Zahteva prevpraševanje številnih samoumevnosti in klišejev, na katerih sloni slovenska in svetovna arhitekturna realnost. Že površen študij te zelo obsežne tematike mi je odprl številna vprašanja, perspektive in povezave, ki so me na robu zavesti spremljale že dalj časa, a so mi prej ostajale skrite med drugimi zadevami.

Na področju arhitekture velja, da je »človek merilo stvari«. Človeško telo, postavljeno v sobo, dom, sosesko, mesto in tako naprej, zavzema osrednje mesto v procesu načrtovanja. Feministične raziskovalke in raziskovalci so kritično ugotovili, da v kanonu vedno in samoumevno nastopa normalizirano in normativno heteroseksualno belo moško telo, kot je ponazorjeno v Le Corbusierovem modulorju ali v priročniku Ernsta Neuferta, ki se še vedno rutinsko uporablja. Kje so vsi ostali, ženske, otroci, pripadniki drugih ras in usmeritev, kaj šele živali in rastline?

Tema žensk v arhitekturi odpira številna pomembna vprašanja, ki se dotikajo samoumevnosti in samozavedanja poklica arhitektke/arhitekta. Eno med njimi se glasi: ali obstaja povezava med ženskimi arhitekturnimi praksami ter feministično teorijo in metodologijo? Kako, če sploh, feminizem vpliva na arhitekturo? Vprašanj je še veliko. Na kakšen način sta povezana spol in arhitektura, kako spol vpliva na načrtovanje (produkcijo) in uporabo prostora? Kako se v arhitekturi odraža spolna razlika oz. kako se skoznjo vzpostavljajo in vzdržujejo patriarhalni odnosi? Kako so razmerja moči, ki temeljijo na spolu, in prostorsko oblikovane oblike dominacije oblikovali in še naprej oblikujejo naše fizično okolje?

Kot odgovor so avtorice v tej številki AB-ja izpostavile številne ženske alternative prevladujočemu patriarhalnemu sistemu arhitekturne prakse. Pri analizi specifičnega področja arhitekture se lahko naslonimo na splošno feministično teoretizacijo prevlade moških, ki poudarja mizogine in seksistične družbene strukture, ki patriarhalni sistem omogočajo, spodbujajo, legitimirajo in normalizirajo. Ob tem pa so pomembni kontekstualni in vsakdanji vidiki arhitekture, vključno z vprašanji, kot so spolna usmerjenost, queerness in pisana mavrica raznolikosti sodobne družbe.

V zgodovini moderne arhitekture so ženske brez dvoma odigrale izjemno vlogo, ki pa je bila (in je še) velikokrat potlačena. Direktor Bauhausa Walter Gropius je v pozitivnem duhu izjavil, da so na šoli dobrodošli vsi, tako »močni« kot »lepe«. Ta izjava veliko pove o njegovem stališču, nedvomno modernem, a utemeljenem na predsodkih. Teorija arhitekture, tudi moderna, ni zgolj patriarhalna, pogosto je odkrito falocentrična. (1)

Pomen, ki so ga imele Charlotte Perriand in Eileen Gray za Le Corbusiera, Lilly Reich za Miesa van der Roheja, Margaret McDonald za Charlesa R. Mackintosha in tako naprej, je še danes v veliki meri slepa pega moderne arhitekture. Primerov je nešteto. Med drugimi se spomnimo Alvarja Aalta, ki je delal najprej s prvo ženo Aino Aalto, po njeni smrti leta 1949 pa z drugo ženo Elisso. Do leta 1949 se je arhitekturni par pod svoje razstave in dela vedno podpisoval z »Aino in Alvar Aalto«, kasneje v zgodovini arhitekture pa je bila vloga Aine Aalto pretežno zamolčana. Za mnoge je Ray Eames še danes brat Charlesa Eamesa, ne pa njegova partnerica in žena. Denise Scott Brown je kljub nesporni briljanci ostala v senci Roberta Venturija, spregledana je bila pri podelitvi Pritzkerjeve nagrade. Podobno je tudi Lu Wenyu, skupaj z Wangom Shujem ustanovna partnerica biroja Amateur Architecture Studio, ostala brez Pritzkerjeve nagrade, podeljene njenemu možu. Obratno pa je Kazuyo Sejima vztrajala, da mora biti hkrati z njo nagrajen tudi njen partner v studiu SANAA Ryue Nishizawa.

Prva ženska, ki je bila sprejeta na isto raven kot njen mož, je bila najbrž Alison Smithson, katere ime se v paru omenja pred Petrom – Alison in Peter Smithson. Danes se tako imenujejo biroji številnih parov, npr. Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Lacaton & Vassal, Jakob + MacFarlane, Burkhalter Sumi Architekten, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos in tako naprej. Pri nas pa imamo pravzaprav več obrnjenih situacij, ko je moški partner v imenu biroja pred žensko: France in Marta Ivanšek, Dekleva Gregorič arhitekti, imamo pa seveda tudi obratne primere, kot npr. pri biroju Gužič Trplan arhitekti. V svetu je vse več arhitekturnih birojev, ki jih samostojno vodijo ženske, poleg pisarne Zaha Hadid Architects (ki jo po Zahini smrti vodi Patrik Schumacher) so tu še mnoge: Anna Heringer, Amanda Levete, Tatiana Bilbao, Odile Decq, Jeanne Gang in številne druge. Podobno je pri nas, kot dokazuje tudi vsebina te številke AB-ja.

Po zaslugi Beatriz Colomina vsi poznamo odnos Le Corbusiera do žensk – tako na primeru Charlotte Perriand kot tudi Eileen Gray. Beatriz Colomina primerjalno analizira zasnove vil Adolfa Loosa in Le Corbusiera, predvsem njihovih interierjev. Raziskuje način, na katerega so te hiše fotografirane, in ideje, ki so v ozadju, ter prikaže, kako so ti utopični, popolni prostori – paradoksalno – gledališke kulise za drame domačega življenja. Med sanjami arhitekta o popolnem prostoru in dejansko zmešnjavo vsakdanjega življenja obstaja implicitno protislovje; ne glede na to pa je ženska vedno skrita, predstavljena znotraj, vedno je predmet moškega pogleda.

V filmu Architecture d’aujourd’hui (1929), ki ga je režiral Pierre Chenal, z Le Corbusierom kot protagonistom, igrata vlogo tako moški kot ženska. Moški (Le Corbusier) se pripelje z avtomobilom. Vstopi v hišo in se povzpne na strešni vrt, kjer sedijo ženske in se igrajo z otroki. Pojavi se na drugi strani terase, čeprav nikoli ni v stiku z njimi. V naslednjem prizoru se povzpne po spiralnem stopnišču na najvišjo točko hiše, se ustavi in pogleda ven. Pozneje v filmu gre skozi hišo tudi ženska. A ona je že v hiši, v vili Savoye. Ni avta, od začetka je vsebovana in uokvirjena v hiši – kot za rešetkami. Kamera ji sledi, v maniri stopnjevanja tesnobe, kot v kriminalki. Zdi se, da je ranljiva. Nikoli ne pogleda tega, ki jo gleda skozi oko kamere. Beatriz Colomina v tem zazna privilegiran »moški« pogled, pogled voajerja.

Tudi na fotografijah in risbah ženske vedno gledajo stran in nikoli ne zasedajo istega prostora kot moški. Vsi osebni predmeti v hiši so predmeti moškega (nikdar ne najdete torbice, šminke ali kakšnega ženskega oblačila). (2)

Če se vrnemo nazaj v zgodovino, se med modernističnimi arhitekti ter renesančnim arhitektom in filozofom Leonom Battisto Albertijem razkrijejo presenetljive podobnosti (ali pa morda niso tako presenetljive). Mark Wigley (3) pokaže, da Alberti tako v svoji razpravi o družini kot v svojem arhitekturnem traktatu (4) opisuje idealno hišo kot zgradbo, ki zapira, prikriva in na koncu fetišizira heteroseksualne odnose; ločeni sobi moža in žene sta povezani z zasebnimi vmesnimi vrati, tako da drugim članom gospodinjstva nikoli ni treba vedeti, kdaj imata partnerja spolne odnose. Na splošno postane po Albertijevih predlogih interier doma zapora za ženske, čeprav Wigley namiguje, da se je ta arhitekturna manifestacija patriarhata v celoti uveljavila šele z buržoazijo 19. stoletja.

Michel Foucault trdi, da je arhitektura orodje (stroj) za preobrazbo posameznikov, za nadzor nad njihovim vedenjem, za »nadzorovanje in kaznovanje« kot pripojena učinka oblasti. Patriarhalna moč je v strukturi javnih in zasebnih prostorov konceptualizirana že od primitivnih družb in je bila uveljavljena v antični ideologiji, ki je sprožila razvoj spolne delitve v družbi, zlasti v arhitekturi. Družbeni odnosi so po Pierru Bourdieuju povezani s fizičnim prostorom in jih tvori sistem osnovnih opozicij, med katerimi je izrazito nasprotje med moškim in žensko (5). Bourdieu zagovarja prepričanje, da je moška dominacija primer simbolnega nasilja par excellence. Njegov koncept habitusa (6) kot sistema trajnih, pridobljenih dispozicij implicira podrejanje žensk moškim. Moška dominacija, meni Bourdieu, je zasidrana v naše nezavedno, zato je razmerje dominacije videti kot nekaj naravnega. Družbene prakse moških in žensk konstruirajo spolne vloge, zlasti skozi arhitekturo. Prostorska organizacija pomaga vzpostavljati odnose med spoloma in podpira dominantno moško ideologijo. Moška konotacija agore oziroma tržnega območja je bila na primer poudarjena z eno ali dvema vrstama religioznih kipov – herm, ki so predstavljali demokratičnega moškega državljana v njegovi spolni in politični avtarkiji. Ženske moških javnih prostorov niso smele obiskovati. Arhitektura zasebnih hiš je inavgurirala ločitev spolov, ki se je ohranila vse do 20. stoletja. Korelacijo moškosti in ženskosti v arhitekturi predstavljajo zabrisane ali ustaljene meje javnih in zasebnih prostorov ter notranja konfiguracija.

Vrnimo se k Eileen Gray in Le Corbusieru. Med letoma 1926 in 1929 je irska arhitektka in modernistka v sodelovanju s partnerjem, romunskim slikarjem Jeanom Badovicijem, zasnovala in zgradila E-1027 – belo kubistično vilo v francoskem letovišču Roquebrune-Cap-Martin na Azurni obali. Vila je bila njeno prvo večje arhitekturno delo in zasnovala jo je kot bivalni prostor, ki je izražal njeno umetniško vizijo, tako s postavitvijo v prostor kot z interierjem, ki je obsegal ves repertoar modernizma, od značilnih elementov opreme do oken od tal do stropa in poglobljenega solarija. Zasnova E-1027 je povezala gibanje, svetlobo in funkcionalnost; vsak del je služil določenemu namenu. Kmalu po dokončanju hiše leta 1929 sta se Eileen Gray in Badovici razšla, ona pa se je odselila. Potem je Badovici svojemu prijatelju Le Corbusieru dovolil, da na stene naslika osem ogromnih muralov. Ti namigujejo na biseksualnost Irke ter kršijo čistost prvotne barvne sheme in postavitve pohištva. Na koncu se je Le Corbusier z Badovicijem sprl in na lokaciji pod vilo E-1027 zgradil majhno leseno kočo Cabanon. V pismu je Eileen Gray Le Corbusierovo poslikavo svoje vile označila kot vandalsko dejanje oz. (intelektualno) posilstvo. Eileen Gray, ki je bila že pred tem uveljavljena oblikovalka pohištva, je z gradnjo vile postala pionirka tega, kar bo postalo znano kot mednarodni slog. Po vseh merilih bi morala biti vsaj enako znana kot njeni moški sodobniki, saj je bila vila E-1027 prva modernistična zgradba, ki jo je zasnovala arhitektka. Vendar pa je zgodba o E-1027 – in tem, kar se ji je zgodilo v nadaljevanju – negativno določila njeno poklicno biografijo. Sama vila je zaradi razvpitosti afere z Le Corbusierovo intervencijo v veliki meri zakrila obsežni, kompleksni opus Eileen Gray. Šele v zadnjem času je izšla serija kakovostnih monografij, ki obravnavajo njeno delo v celoti.

Charlotte Perriand pa je, nasprotno, zanikala, da bi njena znamenita fotografija na chaise longue pomenila izraz mizoginije (Le Corbusiera), saj je trdila, da je bil pogled stran izvorno njena lastna ideja.

Zgodovina arhitekture je, če parafraziram Donno Haraway (7), praksa vizualizacije: kako gledati, od kod gledati, kako je gledanje omejeno, kdo je zakrit, kdo interpretira vizualno polje. Z drugimi besedami, način, kako kaj vidimo, je tudi način, kako nečesa ne vidimo – fokus na zadevo A pomeni spregled zadeve B.

Ženskost je v prvi vrsti biološka kategorija, nato osebna identiteta in seveda tudi socialni konstrukt. Živimo v pluralni družbi, identitete, tudi spolne, se hitro spreminjajo. Družba in institucije pa tem spremembam ne sledijo. Uradni svet še vedno nagovarja predvsem heteroseksualnega belega moškega. Ko je Freud zastavil slavno vprašanje: »Kaj hoče ženska?«, je med prvimi priznal enigmatičnost in kompleksnost ženske narave in predvsem seksualnosti. Mnogim moškim pa je pozicijo ženske, tudi v arhitekturnem poklicu, še danes (že delno, kaj šele v celoti) težko doumeti.

Odnos med arhitekturo in spolom je doživel razvoj od bolj političnih feminističnih diskurzov, ki so zahtevali izboljšave, kot sta izenačenje pravic in enakopravna zastopanost, do drugih, radikalnejših, ki so pozivali k prevratu, s katerim bi bila odpravljena patriarhalnost arhitekturnega poklica, nadomestile pa bi jo različne oblike s feminizmom navdihnjenih praks. Pri arhitekturnem študiju so številni, zlasti ženske, nekako potisnjeni v vlogo, v kateri morajo zatreti svoj spol in se prilagoditi opisani moški agendi. Kako bodo lahko delovali v realnem svetu, ki ni več ukrojen po tej meri? Najbrž bodo prispevali k ohranjanju statusa quo, razcepa med realnostjo ter formalnimi načeli in legislativo. Včasih se zdi, da se kolo zgodovine obrača nazaj, da se kolektivno pogrezamo v živi pesek nevednosti in nemoči.

Po drugi strani pa se zdi, da v Sloveniji arhitektke in biroji, ki jih vodijo ženske, postajajo nova normalnost. So se časi dejansko spremenili ali se moramo še vedno zavedati, da peščica lastovk še ne prinese pomladi? Pomlad je res za oglom, a patriarhalna zima še zdaleč ni izgubila vseh zob. Spol – kot značilnost tako družbe kot politike – je vedno, poleg rase, ključno določal, katere skupine imajo formalne in neformalne vire in priložnosti. Za Slovence se danes zdi kar samoumevno, da je enakopravnost spolov na najvišji ravni vseh časov. Pa je to res? Formalno morda že, vendar so ženske arhitektke daleč od enakosti. Bistveno premalo so zastopane v vrhovih poklica, na položajih v politiki, v ZAPS, na šolah za arhitekturo (na oddelku za krajinsko arhitekturo je zastopanost žensk veliko močnejša kot na ljubljanski in mariborski »arhitekturi«), kar je glede na to, da študira in se v poklic vključuje več žensk kot moških, nepravično. Tudi v praksi so ženske pogosto »v drugi liniji«, skrite za javno izpostavljenimi imeni moških arhitektov. To sicer ni absolutno pravilo, a velja, bolj ali manj drastično, v večini primerov. Tudi stereotipi so še vedno globoko zasidrani v moške, pa tudi v ženske svetove, zlasti skrb vzbujajoč je vzpon desnega populizma, ki bi žensko rad vrnil k ognjišču in otrokom.

Danes so primarne teme, tudi v arhitekturi, trajnostnost, digitalizacija in globalizacija. Problem diskriminacije žensk v poklicu se v tej luči zdi manj pereč, saj naj bi bil, vsaj v razvitem svetu in tudi pri nas, v zadnjih desetletjih dosežen velik napredek. A vendar je problem zasidran v jedru današnje krize. Arhitektura je za družbo izjemno pomembno področje, ki pa je hkrati tudi zelo močno povezano z oblastjo in s kapitalom. To izhodišče postavlja na eno stran mačizem, neoliberalizem in »tehniko gospostva« ter na drugo stran feminizem, svobodo in odprtost. To verjetno pomeni, da je arhitektura navznoter razcepljena na dve veji, na družbeno odgovorno in na družbeno neodgovorno vejo, kjer je prostovoljna sužnja kapitala oz. del problema, ne rešitve. Sicer je res, da kategorizacija sveta v poenostavljene binarne opozicije – umetnost vs. znanost, praksa vs. teorija, risanje vs. pisanje, slabo vs. dobro ali ženska vs. moški – preprosto ne zajame kompleksnosti sodobne realnosti. Uporaba pojma ženska ali moški pač ni le oznaka spolne različnosti. In kot razmišlja Slavoj Žižek, je deklarativno obsojanje mačizma, pogosto kar moškosti nasploh, v končni konsekvenci spodbujanje moškega klišeja glede žensk: ženske imajo rade dialog, so prijazne, nenasilne in tako naprej: »Danes je tako v modi zgraditi določeno podobo ženskosti, ki je ideološki konstrukt, kot veste,naj bi bila bolj nežna dialoška, interaktivna, ki se popolnoma prilega današnjemu globalnemu kapitalizmu.« (8) V modernih družbah se moška dominacija ne pojavlja več kot nekaj samoumevnega. Gre za to, da obstaja razlika med dejanskim spreminjanjem zatiralskih sistemov in zgolj spremembo načina, kako o njih govorimo. Govorjenje namesto delovanja implicitno podpira nadaljevanje obstoječih družbenih odnosov in potrošniškega kapitalizma – ženske ne emancipira, pač pa jo delegira na mesto stroja za reprodukcijo. Z demonizacijo določenega dela tradicionalno moškega vedenja prevladujoča kultura hkrati idealizira specifično podobo ženskosti, ki prikriva pravo naravo stvari. Žižkova poanta pa je ravno v tem, da ženska enigma skriva to, da ni česa skrivati, da »tam onkraj« ravno ni nobenega skritega bistva, da je ženska narava v tem, da ženske narave ni. Če gremo do konca, lahko rečemo celo, da v strogem smislu ženska sploh ne obstaja – vsa je v površini menjavanja svojih podob, svojih preoblek, svojih mask, za katerimi ni nobenega subjekta, ki bi vlekel vrvice iz ozadja. Prav zato pa ženske ni mogoče ne definirati, ne kontrolirati, ne predvideti, kako bo delovala. Kot simptom te nemoči pa paradoksno dobimo ravno to – definicije, kontrolo, nasilje nad ženskami.

Globalizacija je morda koristila velikim segmentom človeštva, vendar se med družbami in znotraj njih pojavljajo znaki vse večje neenakopravnosti. Privilegirani se ne bodo zlahka odpovedali privilegijem, ki jim jih omogočajo rasa, narodnost in spol. Med pridobitve evropske tradicije, ki pozna tudi »uničenje modrih žensk« (9), spada, denimo, tudi javna uporaba uma v nasprotju z zasebnim umom, ki je po definiciji instrumentaliziran, podrejen zahtevam in vplivom različnih institucij in interesnih skupin. Zgolj mišljenje, ki ni v funkciji zahtev ekonomije ali drugih parcialnih interesnih sfer, lahko pomaga pri formulaciji pravih vprašanj in reševanju konkretnih zagat. Zadnje je toliko bolj pomembno v času, ko obstoječi sistem razpada, rešitve 20. stoletja ne zadoščajo več, obenem pa se kakršnakoli alternativa ali sprememba zdi nemogoča. Moški in ženske smo skupaj ujeti v napačen razvojni koncept in v demokratski primanjkljaj, ki ne zadeva samo neenakosti žensk, ampak je del vse hujšega primanjkljaja demokracije na vseh ravneh, da drugih problemov sploh ne omenjam. Ženske so/ste, podobno kot mladi, eno zadnjih upanj za spremembo sedanje paradigme, ki nevarno rine v smer propada kulture, svobode in človeštva nasploh.

Ta številka AB-ja nikakor ni namenjena dokazovanju, da so tudi neka posebna bitja, ženske, zmožna biti odlična v arhitekturi – to bi bilo zares ponižujoče. Gre za normalnost – povezava med arhitekturo in žensko obstaja od nekdaj in se v temelju ne razlikuje od povezave med arhitekturo in moškim. Na kakšen način? Ob vprašanju, kaj je arhitektura, naletimo na popolnoma identično situacijo, kot smo ji priča pri ženski. Tako ženske kot arhitekture namreč ni mogoče preprosto definirati in ju na ta način spraviti pod kontrolo – obe ji bistveno uhajata, sta radikalno nepredvidljivi, zato pa bistveno subverzivni in uporniški. Dokler je ženska, dokler je arhitektura, do takrat je tudi boj za drugačen svet. Zaključujem s še enim citatom, prilagojenim za našo temo, tokrat gre za parafrazo Žižka (ki govori o filozofinjah): Najboljši arhitekti danes so arhitektke.

  1. Falocentrizem se nanaša na obstoj privilegija moškega nad ženskim. Ta model je bil v zgodovini postopoma vključen v kolektivno nezavedno, kar je povzročilo posploševanje prevlade moškega spola. S tega vidika je ženska razumljena kot predmet, celo seksualni predmet za moške, in njena primarna naloga naj bi bila, da zadovolji moško željo.
  2. Beatriz Colomina, Privacy and Publicity – Modern Architecture as Mass Media, MIT Press, 1996, 289–292.
  3. Mark Wigley, »Untitled: The Housing of Gender«, v Sexuality and Space (ur. Beatriz Colomina), Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 1997, 327–389.
  4. Leon Battista Alberti, O arhitekturi, Ljubljana, Studia Humanitatis, 2007.
  5. Pierre Bourdieu, Moška dominacija, Ljubljana, Sophia, 2010.
  6. Habitus je koncept, ki opisuje notranje strukturirane sisteme shem in dispozicij posameznikov, ki jih strukturirajo okoliščine in pogoji socializacije.
  7. Donna Haraway, »Umeščene vednosti: vprašanje znanosti v feminizmu in privilegij parcialne perspektive«; v Opice, kiborgi in ženske: Reinvencija narave, Ljubljana, Študentska založba, 1999.
  8. Slavoj Žižek, Sex and the Failed Absolute, London/New York, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020.
  9. Z izrazom modra ženska (femina saga) so bile v srednjem veku označene ženske, ki so se, pogojno rečeno, ukvarjale z ženskimi zadevami: pomagale so pri porodih, pripravljale in razdeljevale kontracepcijska sredstva ter širile znanje o kontracepcijskih metodah, izdelovale mamila in poživila ter izvajale splave. Ko se je, spričo kuge in drugih razlogov, po 12. stoletju zmanjšalo število aktivnega (kmečkega) prebivalstva, ki je bilo kot delovna sila nepogrešljivo, je postal ogrožen evropski ekonomski ustroj. Krivce za nastalo krizo je oblast poiskala pri Judih in modrih ženskah ter začela eno najstrašnejših preganjanj v zgodovini. V stoletjih najbolj nasilnega preganjanja (v obdobju med letoma 1500 in 1700) je bilo usmrčenih približno 500.000 »čarovnic«. Pri »uničenju modrih žensk« naj bi šlo torej predvsem za ogrožanje ekonomskega interesa države in Cerkve (Gunnar Heinsohn, Otto Steiger, Uničenje modrih žensk, Ljubljana, Krt, 1993).

leader

Women in Architecture

Miha Dešman

Writing a leader for the "women's" issue of ab quickly proved a very demanding project. It demands the re-examination of numerous instances of self-evidence as well as clichés which form the basis of the Slovene and the world's architectural reality. I found that even a very percursory study of this vast topic raised numerous questions, opened perspectives, and yielded connections which I had been toting along in the corners of my conscious mind for some time, but had to that point been kept out of my sight by other matters.

In architecture, it is deemed that "humans are the measure of things". A human body placed into a room, a home, a neighbourhood, a city etc. occupies the central place in the design process. Through criticism, feminist researchers have established that the canon always and self-evidently features a normalised and normative, heterosexual white male body, as demonstrated by Le Corbusier's Modulor or Ernst Neufert's handbook, which is still routinely used. Where are all the others, women, children, members of other races and orientations, let alone animals and plants?

Women in architecture is a topic that raises numerous important questions which touch on the self-evidentialities and self-awareness of an architect's profession. One of such questions is whether there is a connection between women's architectural practices and feminist theory and methodology. How, if at all, does feminism affect architecture? The questions continue to abound. What is the nature of the connection between gender and architecture, how does gender affect the design (production) and the use of space? How does architecture express gender difference and how is the former employed to establish and maintain patriarchal relations? How have the power relations based on gender and spatially formed modes of domination shaped and continue to shape our physical environment?

As an answer, the women authors in the present issue of ab point out numerous female alternatives to the predominant patriarchal system of architectural practice. In analysing the specific field of architecture, we may build upon the general feminist theorisation of the masculine dominance, which emphasises the misogynous and sexist social structures which enable, encourage, legitimise and normalise the patriarchal system. In addition, there is the significance of the contextual and everyday aspects of architecture including questions such as sexual orientation, queerness, and the vivid rainbow of diversity of the contemporary society.

In the history of modern architecture, women indisputably played an exceptional role, which was often (and continues to be) held back. The Director of Bauhaus Walter Gropius stated in a spirit of positivity that the school welcomes everyone, both "the strong" and "the pretty". The statement speaks volumes about his standpoint, certainly a modern one, but based on prejudice. The theory of architecture, including modern, is not only patriarchal but is often openly phallocentric.

The significance which Charlotte Perriand and Eileen Gray held for Le Corbusier, Lilly Reich for Mies van der Rohe, Margaret McDonald for Charles R. Mackintosh and so forth continues to remain a major blind spot within modern architecture to this day. There are heaps of examples. Among others, let us recall Alvar Aalto, who initally worked with his first wife, Aino Aalto, and, after her death in 1949, with his second wife, Elissa. Until 1949, the architectural couple always signed their exhibitions and work with "Aino and Alvar Aalto" but later in the history of architecture, Aino Aalto's role was largely suppressed. To this day, many believe Ray Eames to be Charles Eames's brother rather than his partner and wife. Despite her indisputable brilliance, Denise Scott-Brown remained in the shadow of Robert Venturi and was passed over in the awarding of the Pritzker prize. Similarly, Lu Wenyu, founding partner of office Amateur Architecture Studio with her husband Wang Shu, was left empty-handed as the Pritzker prize was awarded to her husband. Contrariwise, Kazuyo Sejima insisted that her partner in studio SANAA, Ryue Nishizawa, receive the award alongside her.

The first woman to have been given recognition on the same level as her husband was probably Alison Smithson, whose name comes before "Peter" in the duo Alison and Peter Smithson. Nowadays, many couples' offices are named in this way, e.g. Diller Scofidio, Lacaton + Vassal, Jakob+MacFarlane, Burkhalter Sumi Architekten, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, and so forth. In Slovenia, the reverse, where the male partner in the office comes before the woman, is actually true in more cases than not: France and Marta Ivanšek, Dekleva Gregorič arhitekti, though there are examples to the contrary, as well, such as Gužič Trplan arhitekti. Internationally, more and more offices are independently headed by women, many more beside Zaha Hadid Architects (which after Zaha's death has been headed by Patrick Schumacher): Studio Anna Heringer, Amanda Levette, Tatiana Bilbao, Odile Decq, Jeanne Gang and a number of others. In Slovenia, the situation is analogous, as evidenced also by the present issue of ab.

Owing to Beatriz Colomina, Le Corbusier's attitude towards women is now a matter common knowledge, manifested both in the relationships with Charlotte Perriand and Eileen Gray. Colomina contrastively analyses the designs of villas by Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier, particularly of their interiors. She researches the manner in which these houses were photographed as well as the underlying ideas, demonstrating how these Utopian, perfect spaces paradoxically act as theatre backdrops for the dramas of domestic life. There is an implicit contradiction between an architect's dreams of a perfect space and the actual chaos of everyday life; regardless, the woman is always presented as hidden and inside, an object of the male gaze.

In the film Architecture d’aujourd’hui (1929), directed by Pierre Chenal and featuring Le Corbusier as the protagonist, there is a male and a female part. The man (Le Corbusier) arrives in a car. He enters the house and ascends to the roof garden where women are sitting and playing with children. He appears on the other side of the deck despite not ever being in contact with them. In the next scene, he ascends the spiral staircase to the highest point of the house, stops, and looks out. Later in the film, the woman also walks through the house. But she is already in the house, in Villa Savoye. There is no car, she is contained and framed in the house from the beginning - as if behind bars. The manner in which the camera follows escalates the anxiousness the way it would in a crime thriller. She appears to be vulnerable. She never looks at him who watches her through the eye of the camera. All this leads Colomina to detect a privileged "male" gaze, the gaze of a voyeur.

On photographs and drawings, women are always looking askance and never occupy the same space as men. All the personal belongings in the house are a man's objects (you never find a handbag, lipstick, or an item of women's clothing).

If we travel back in history, surprising (or maybe not so surprising) similarities between modernist architects and Renaissance architect and philosopher Leon Battista Alberti are revealed. Mark Wigley demonstrates how Alberti in his two treatises, on family and on architecture, describes the ideal house as a building which encloses, conceals and ultimately fetishises heterosexual relations; the husband's and wife's separate rooms are connected by an intermediate private door, sparing other household members from ever having to know when the partners are engaging in sexual relations. For all intents and purposes, Alberti's proposals render the interior of a home into a closet for women, though Wigley suggests that this architectural manifestation of patriarchy had only been fully realised by the bourgeoisie of the 19th century.

Michel Foucault claims that architecture is a machine for the transformation of individuals, for the control of their behaviour, for "disciplining and punishing" as adjunct effects of power. Patriarchal power was conceptualised in the structure of public and private spaces already in primitive societies and instituted in Classical ideology, which triggered the development of sexual separation in the society, particularly in architecture. According to Pierre Bourdieu, social relations are connected with the physical space and are constituted by a system of fundamental opposites, the express opposition between man and woman being among those. Bourdieu argues that masculine domination acts as an example of symbolic violence par excellence. His concept of habitus as a system of permanent acquired dispositions implies the subjugation of women to men.

Bourdieu believes masculine domination to be anchored in our subconscious, which is why this relationship of domination appears as something natural. Social practices of men and women constitute gender roles, particularly through architecture. Spatial organisation helps to establish relationships between the sexes and lends support the dominating masculine ideology. The masculine connotation of the agora, i.e. the market area, is for instance accentuated by one or two rows of religious statues - herms, which represent the democratic male citizen in his sexual and political autarchy. Women were not allowed to visit male public spaces. The architecture of private houses inaugurated the separation of the sexes which was preserved until the 20th century. The correlation of the masculine and the feminine in architecture is represented by the blurred or entrenched boundaries of public and private spaces and the interior configuration.

Let us return to Eileen Gray and Le Corbusier. Between 1926 and 1929, the Irish architect and modernist designed E 1027 - a white, cubist villa built in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on the French Riviera - with her partner, Romanian painter Jean Badovici. The villa was her first major architectural work and she designed it as a living space that embodied her artistic vision both in terms of the siting and the interior, which runs the modernist gamut from the characteristic furnishings to the floor-to-ceiling windows and a sunken solarium. The design of E 1027 ties together motion, light, and function; each element served a specific purpose. Soon after the completion of the house in 1929, Gray and Badovici separated and she moved out. Badovici then allowed his friend Le Corbusier to paint the walls with eight huge murals, which allude to Gray's bisexuality and violate the purity of the original colour scheme and the arrangement of furniture. Ultimately, Le Corbusier and Badovici fell out and Le Corbusier built a small timber cabin Cabanon on a site under E 1027. In a letter, Gray referred to Le Corbusier's painting of her villa as an act of vandalism and (intellectual) rape.

The erection of the villa led to Eileen Gray, who had already made her name as an established furniture designer, becoming a pioneer of what would later become known as the International style. By any measure, she ought to be at least on equal footing as her male contemporaries in terms of recognition, being that E 1027 stands as the first modernist building designed by a woman architect. However, the story of E 1027 and what befell it later on ended up marring her professional biography. Due to the notoriety of Le Corbusier's intervention, E 1027 itself eclipsed Gray's extensive and complex body of work. Only recently has a series of quality monographs been published which consider the entirety of her work.

Contrariwise, Charlotte Perriand rejected the notion that the famous photograph of her reclining on the chaise longue should represent an expression of (Le Corbusier's) misogyny, claiming that the askance look was originally her own idea.

The history of architecture is, to paraphrase Donna Haraway, a practice of visualisation: how to look, where to look from, what are the limitations of looking, who is concealed, who interprets the visual field. In other words, the manner in which we see something is also a manner of not seeing something - focusing on A means overlooking B.

"Woman" is firstly a biological category, then a personal identity, and obviously also a social construct. We live in a plural society and identities, including gender ones, are quickly changing. The society and institutions, however, don't follow these changes. The official world still chiefly addresses the heterosexual white man. When Freud posed his famous question, "What does a woman want?", he was one of the first to admit the enigma and the complexity of female nature, and sexuality in particular. For many men, it is still difficult to partially, let alone fully comprehend a woman's position, including in the architectural profession.

The relationship between architecture and gender saw the development of discourses ranging from more political feminist ones demanding improvements such as equal rights and equal representation, to other more radical ones calling for an upheaval which would do away with patriarchy of the architectural profession and replace it with various forms of feminism-inspired practices. Studying architecture, many - women in particular - find themselves in a role in which they must renounce their gender and adapt to the aforementioned masculine agenda. How will they be able to function in the real world, which no longer follows this script? They will likely do their bit in preserving the status quo, the divergence between the reality and the formal principles and legislation. Sometimes it seems as if the wheel of history is rolling in reverse, that we're collectively sinking into the quicksand of ignorance and impotence.

On the other hand, a woman architect and an office headed by a woman or women looks like the new normal in the making. Have the times changed in earnest or must we keep in mind that a handful of swallows don't make a summer? Summer truly is just around the corner, but the patriarchal winter may still give us frostbite. Gender - as a characteristic of both the society and politics - has always been crucial, beside race, in determining the groups with formal and informal resources and opportunities. For Slovenes, it seems self-evident that today, the equality of gender is at its highest level ever. But is it? Maybe formally, but women architects are still far from being equal. They are grossly underrepresented in the top echelons of the profession, in politics, in the Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning of Slovenia, in architectural schools (at the Department of Landscape Architecture, women are much better represented than at the departments of architecture in either Ljubljana or Maribor), all of which is unfair considering that there are more women students of architecture and more women joining the profession. In practice, women are often relegated to the lower ranks, kept out of sight behind the male architects with higher public profiles. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it holds well enough in most cases. Stereotypes are also still deeply rooted in both male and female worlds, while the rise of right-wing populism is the greatest cause of concern with its vision for women being limited to keeping the home fires burning and raising children.

The primary issues of today, applying to architecture just as much as to anything else, are sustainability, digitalisation, and globalisation. Comparatively, the discrimination against women in the profession appears as less of a problem due to the significant progress supposedly achieved in the developed world and also in Slovenia in the last decades. Yet this is a problem central to the present-day crisis. Architecture is a very important field for the society, but also a field crucially linked to power and capital. This premise pits machismo, neoliberalism, and the "technology of rule" on one side against feminism, freedom, and openness on the other. This likely means that architecture is internally split into two branches, one the socially responsible and the other socially irresponsible, a willing slave to the capital, finding itself as part of the problem rather than the solution. Granted, categorising the world as simplified binary oppositions - science vs. art, practice vs. theory, draughting vs. writing, bad vs. good, or woman vs. man - simply does not encompass the complexity of contemporary reality. Using the notions of "woman" or "man" is not just a designation of gender difference. Slavoj Žižek suggests that in the final instance, the declarative condemnation of machismo, and often of masculinity in general, reinforces for the masculine cliché of women - women like dialogue, they are friendly, non-violent and so on: "What is so fashionable today is to construct a certain image of femininity, which is an ideological construct, as you know, more gentle dialogical, interactive -- so on, so on -- which fits perfectly today's global capitalism."

In modern societies, male dominance no longer appears as self-evident. There is a difference, though, between actually changing oppressive systems and only changing the way in which they are spoken about. Talking instead of acting implicitly bolsters the perpetuation of existing social relations and consumer capitalism - it doesn't emancipate women but instead puts them in their place, i.e. that of a reproduction machine. By demonising a certain portion of traditionally masculine behaviour, the dominant culture simultaneously idealises a specific image of femininity, which conceals the true nature of the matter. Žižek's point is precisely that the female enigma hides the fact that there is nothing to hide, that there is no hidden essence out there, that the female nature is that there is no female nature. Going all out, we may even claim that in the strictest sense, the woman doesn't exist at all - her entirety is contained within the surface of her shape-shifting, her disguises, her masks with no subject in the background pulling the strings to be found behind them. This is precisely the reason a woman cannot be defined, or controlled, or predicted in terms of her actions. As a symptom of this impotence, however, we get just that: definitions, control, and violence against women.

Large segments of the humanity may have benefited from globalisation, but the signs of ever-increasing inequality between societies and within them are cropping up. The privileged are not about to relinquish the privileges enabled by their race, nationality, and gender. One of the achievements of the European tradition - which also brought about the elimination of wise women - is the public use of reason as opposed to the private reason, which is by definition instrumentalised and subjugated to the demands and influences of various institutions and interest groups. Only thinking which is not attending to the demands of economy or other spheres of particular influence may be of use in formulating the right questions and solving concrete issues. The latter is even more important in a time when the existing system is disintegrating, when the 20th century solutions no longer suffice, yet when any alternative or change seems impossible. As men and women, we are trapped together in a defective concept of development and a democratic deficit, which does not only affect the inequality of women but is part of an exacerbating deficit of democracy on all levels, not to mention further problems. Like the youth, (you,) women are one of the last hopes for turning around the present paradigm, which has gone quite far enough in the direction of the total collapse of culture, freedom, and indeed the humanity.

The present issue of ab is in no way intended to prove that certain special creatures, women, are also capable of being excellent architects - that would be truly demeaning. It's all about normalcy - the connection between architecture and women has been there from the beginning and does not fundamentally differ from the connection between architecture and men. How so? When we ask what architecture is, the situation we encounter is identical as with women. Neither women nor architecture may be simply defined and thus put under control - both intrinsically evade it, they are both radically unpredictable and, in consequence, intrinsically subversive and defiant. As long as there are women, as long as there is architecture, so long there is struggle for a different world. Let me conclude with another quote, adapted to the topic at hand, this time a paraphrase of Žižek (who spoke of women philosophers): Today, the best architects are women architects.