Free essays

Introduction

Since gender is a fundamental component of the human interaction, many theorist and critics evolved theories and approaches to the architecture/art. In this paper, I will use these theories and approaches and discuss two works: “Architecture and Sexuality: The Politics of Gendered Space” by Gerard Rey A. Lico and “Excerpts from ‘Subversive Bodily Acts’ from Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity” by Judith Butler.

Feminist Studies

Recent critical theoretical approaches have made lots of links between architecture and sexuality. For instance, Michel Foucault asserts sexuality was an important, but unstated concern of 18-century French schools. "One may have a feeling that sex was hardly mentioned at all in the institutions. But one merely has to glance over architectural plan and the whole interior arrangement: the issue of sex was a constant obsession” (Foucault, Hurley 115-241). According to Michel Foucault, students’ schedules, classroom design and the resting arrangements all reveal an attentiveness and fear of juvenile sexuality. This understood attention to sexuality as a part of communication of power that, therefore, effects itself even as it forms sexual identity. Though Foucault has been criticized for a wholly male perspective and for a failure to permit the personal agency, his formulations of the relations between architecture, sexuality, and gender provide suggestive frameworks for further research.

Roberta Gilchrist has investigated ties between gender and architecture in English convents of the Middle Ages. The spatial organization of the convents demonstrates signs of a profound concern with gender and sex, just like what Foucault asserts. Thoughts about gender were basic to convent style - from the election of a construction site to the provision of the division of members from visitors inside the walls of a convent. The connection between gender and architecture is a mutual one. If concepts of gender impact the design of a convent or school, the style, in turn, informs the deeds and reflections of humans who contact it. Spatial arrangement, therefore, plays a crucial role in the construction of gender. Gilchrist observes that “the space provides more than merely a map of social ties; it is mainly to the creation of gender identity” (Gilchrist, 25-39). This approach in a way reminds the work “Architecture and Sexuality: The Politics of Gendered Space” by Gerard Rey A. Lico (Lico, 30-44). In the English convent of the Middle Ages, for instance, a strong stress on privacy, made probably by sexual separation, influenced nuns’ notions of what it meant to be religious females and to be simply females.

Privacy was crucial for nuns in the Middle Ages; probably more than for the male monks. According to Gilchrist’s research, the furthest room in a females’ convent – that’s a room divided from the outside by the uppermost number of gates, doors, and other restrictions - was practically always the dormitory. Though the dormitory in men’s places was also distant, the chapter room (utilized for gatherings) and the sacristy (utilized for storing vessels and holy garments) were usually just as distant. Sacristies were far simpler reached in females’ than in males’ houses, since a male priest required access to females’ sacristy to celebrate mass (Gilchrist, 25-39).

Sexual separation was important for the defense of nuns’ solitude in convents since males were usually present. All nuns depended on priests to celebrate at masses, and ordinary visitors were widespread. “Double” buildings, with orders for females and males also occurred. Sexual separation was the rule, nevertheless, there may have been much more severely enforced in females’ houses than in males’. This gender separation extended to the parts males and females played in the mass. "In nunneries, stress was on the erection of gender distinctiveness through the severe enclosed space of nuns, and in separating male and female roles”. Though religious ladies took vows, which resembled males’, the positions in a convent and church were very dissimilar. Actually, the gender identities of religious females were closer to worldly females’ than to religious males’.

Postmodern Culture or “Postmodernity”

Our time period in history has been called by many the postmodern age, and many current critics are understandably interested in making sense of the time in which they exist. Though an admirable attempt, these critics unavoidably run into problems given the pure difficulty of existing in history: we do not yet realize which parts in the culture will win out and we do not always acknowledge the slight but insistent manners that alterations in the society influence our ways of thinking and being in the globe. Judith Butler’s usage of the notion of performativity, for instance, has been tremendously influential on postmodernism, gender and sex. Except postmodern age, Judith Butler wrote about the feminism in architecture.

Feminism and Modern architecture

Females continue to be under-represented in the architectural jobs. In spite of the equal numbers of male and female students entering architectural colleges, there’s at least 25% attrition of female students and not all remaining become actual architects. In the professional and academic spheres of architecture, positions of authority are practically entirely male. Thus, the profession is defined by the heterosexual, Eurasian male perspective.

Generally speaking, feminists assert people live in a man-made globe that results, thus, in constructions, cities, machines and appliances that fail to take into account the requirements, values and safety of females and mothers with kids. Male-dominated spheres of industry create new goods with females in mind, which may be of a certain value to ladies, but they do not often challenge the division of labor by gender – it is still females who are expected to do the washing. The gendering of products - scooters = feminine, motor-bikes = masculine - is one of the issues Feminist architects wish to address. However, all the architects tend to do this in their own way.

Feminist approach as it applies to the architecture has copied the manner for one more discovery of female architects as Schröder-Schräder and Eileen Gray. Females imagined the architecture, which challenged the manner the customary family would exist. They practiced this art with what they described as feminist approaches. The discovery of architecture with the help of a feminist approach is not restricted to women architects. The architects like Adolf Loos and Le Corbusier have also had the architecture reexamined with the help of a feminist theory.

In Dolores Hayden's book “The Grand Domestic Revolution”, she clarifies the manners in which “the forgotten feminine custom” led to “one more defining of house work and the housing requirements of females, making architects reconsider the impacts of design on family living” (Hayden, 197-218). This notion of the altering requirements of the family may be seen in the buildings of Eileen Gray, Truus Schröder and Villa Stein de-Monzie of LeCorbusier. The Rietveld Schröder building is a perfect case of the manner the “current” lives of the family demanded a novel architecture. The Schröder building was not merely an inspired work of a creative design, but suggested its users the novel surroundings to redefine family living, females’ rights, and duties of humans.

Eileen Gray's construction is the other ideal sample of the feminist approach being utilized in the architecture. Just like Schröder, Gray created architecture, which would address the requirements of the inhabitants and the novel family unit. Eileen operated within the approach of current architecture, LeCorbusier's “five points of novel architecture” (Adam, 205-300). She addressed the matters of the architecture or house as an experience.

Gray also collaborated with LeCorbusier on the project E1027; who is recognized for his work on one more house that called customary family arrangement and architecture into issue. Like The Schroder House or E1027, Villa Stein de Monzie was rediscovered via the feminist theory. Much more recognized is the way in which this building called gender ties and the manner in which the ties between males and females were negotiated in a new manner. The building is of an unique significance in feminist theory since it called into matter the characteristic gender ties and domestic group. The domestic group, which comprised a married couple and a female with her kid called domestic space into matter.

At the historical view, the wild males of architectural drawing (G. B. Piranesi, Ferriss, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Antonio Sant'Elia) show the close tie between sex fantasies and architectural fantasies. But only Piranesi appears to have been honest enough to admit that these fantasies have a masochistic value to them, with the houses becoming the final dominating authority figure.

Leslie Kanes Weisman is a well-known feminist architect who begins from the same principle as Gerard Rey A. Lico that built surroundings are the expression of a recognized social order, presupposing space and relations it maintains reflect and strengthen current gender, race and class ties in the social order. Weisman treats access to the space and its misappropriation as political acts. Weisman has stressed the role of professionals and citizens in guaranteeing the fact that the built environment doesn’t exclude. For Weisman and Gerard Rey A. Lico, relations between females and the architectural surroundings are also treated as a prism for treating the relations between those who create the cities, and make certain decisions concerning them, and those people who reside in them (Weisman, 89-95).

Beatriz Colomina is a globally renowned architectural historian and theorist who has written many works on questions of architecture and media. Through several close readings of 2 main figures of the current movement, Le Corbusier and Adolf Loos, Beatriz Colomina asserts architecture just becomes current in the engagement with mass media, and in so doing, it fundamentally displaces the customary feeling of space and prejudice.

Privacy and publicity bravely queries some ideological suppositions underlying the obtained opinion of current architecture and reconsiders the method of architectural criticism. Where conventional criticism depicts current architecture as very creative practice in opposition to the mass culture, Beatriz notices the appearing systems of communication, which have come to describe 20th century culture - mass media - as the real position within which current architecture was created. She considers architectural conversation as the junction of many systems of representation, for instance, drawings, photographs, models, books, movies, and ads. This doesn’t mean leaving architectural object, the construction, but rather looking at it in the other way. The construction is realized as all the media that frame it, as an instrument of symbol in the own right (Colomina, 176-296).

In the USA today, feminist architecture in general has practically disappeared. The overflow of matters during the 1990s has ground to a stop; too few schools carry on offering classes on “architecture and gender, and scholars tend to find some other subjects - sustainability, digitalization or globalization - more interesting and challenging. With modernity, the position of architectural creation basically moved from streets into photos, movies, publications - a dislocation, which presupposes a novel feeling of space, defined by images rather than mere walls. The age of publicity contact the alteration in the position of the private; Colomina asserts that modernity is actually the publicity of the private (Colomina, 176-296). Current architecture renegotiates the customary relations among public and private in a manner, which deeply changes the experience of space. In a fascinating intellectual trip, Colomina tracks the shift through the current incarnations of the city, sexuality, advertising, ultimately focusing on the home interior, which constructs the current subject it seems simply to house.

Conclusion

As gender is a fundamental component of human interaction; many theorist and critics evolved certain theories and approaches to the architecture/art. In this paper, I utilized these approaches and discuss two works: “Architecture and Sexuality: The Politics of Gendered Space” by Gerard Rey A. Lico and “Excerpts from ‘Subversive Bodily Acts’ from Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity” by Judith Butler.

Ladies are still under-represented in existing architectural jobs. In spite of the equivalent quantities of students of both sexes entering architectural colleges, there’s at least 25% abrasion of female students, and not all remaining become actual architects. Current feminists assert people live in a man-made globe that fail to take into account women needs. In the USA nowadays, feminist architecture in general has almost disappeared. The overflow of issues during the 1990s has ground to a stop; too few schools carry on offering classes on “architecture and gender, and scholars tend to find some other subjects - sustainability, digitalization or globalization - more interesting and challenging. Nevertheless, many feminist architecture historians would refuse any appraisal of the project as total, or its feasibility as dependent upon educational fashion. Though this quiet period is certainly considered a delay, one good by-product may be that it suggests a time of comparative calm, detached from fiery polemics of the previous time period.

The feminist approach reminds the work “Architecture and Sexuality: The Politics of Gendered Space” by Gerard Rey A. Lico. Lico asserts that the underrespresentation of females’ body and experience in the spatial structures makes a probable setting for subordination (Lico, 30-44). Judith Butler in her works also utilized the feminist approach, combining the issues of gender and sex. Though people do not yet realize which parts in the culture will win out, and we do not always acknowledge the slight but insistent manners that alterations in the society influence our ways of thinking and being in the globe. However, Butler’s usage of the notion of performativity has been influential on postmodernism, gender and sex. Except the postmodern age, Judith Butler, as many female architects, wrote about the feminism in architecture.

"The Last Judgment" by Michelangelo The Art History
Related essays
LIVE CHAT
ORDER NOW
TO TOP