Vitruvius was a woman

Kolakowski, Marcin Mateusz (2010) Vitruvius was a woman. Architektura & Biznes . pp. 66-69. ISSN 1230-1817

Vitruvius Was a Woman

Request a copy
[img] PDF
2010_03_Vitruvius Was a Woman.pdf - Whole Document
Restricted to Repository staff only

Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


The article reflects on the role of women in modern architecture. Paradoxically, during Modernism, when everything could be changed and women fought for access to democracy, new architecture took on extremely 'masculine' characteristics: it became aggressive, problematic in contacts with the environment, technologically fetishist, and obsessively enamored of totalitarian gestures and ideas. The modernist invention – spatial separation of functions in urban and building design – shows signs of retardation in the perception of relations. No wonder then that Modernism was actually killed by three women.

The first of them, Rachel Carson – referred to as the grandmother of the 1960s counterculture – lay foundations for the environmental thought and movement by publishing the book Silent Spring in 1962. Discussing health, ecosystems and interdependencies in nature, she challenged the direction of technological progress, and contributed to the ban on DDT in the United States and the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency, which continues to promote green and healthy construction today.

Another destroyer of Modernism – Jane Jacobs – attacked urban design. Her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) became one of the 20th century's most important books on architecture, proving that modernist design destroys the authentic life of urban areas, which stems out of human interactions.

The fatal blow to Modernism was, however, dealt by Denise Scott Brown. The article refers to an interview she gave to the author. “Meeting her opened my eyes. As many others, I used to think it was Robert Venturi who created Postmodernism. Now I know it was his wife who did this. Scott Brown initiated the research that led to the writing of the famous work Learning from Las Vegas, and got Venturi interested in the subject. – Now it is evident that it was her who was the engine behind the anti-modernist revolution."

In order to navigate reasonably through the new world of requirements and values, architects cannot merely be designers, but they need to engage with science. Unfortunately, all too often architects prove a little lazy in this department. However, in order to protect the venustas in this Brave New World, architects’ green ideas must be based not only on aesthetics but on building science...

Keywords:Architecture, Built Environment, Feminism, Women, modernism, post-modernism
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K200 Building
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K110 Architectural Design Theory
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
Related URLs:
ID Code:17947
Deposited On:21 Jul 2015 13:32

Repository Staff Only: item control page