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In Spain, the historic period that we know as the modern movement (1925-1965) is marked by the lack of women involved in the architecture practice, a traditionally male profession at the time, as it still is today. One of the most relevant developments in the profession during the 1970s was the gradual inclusion of women in university architecture studies and their full entry into professional practice. The key turning point for this inclusion was the end of the Franco Regime and the political, social, legislative and cultural changes brought about by the transition to democracy, which hugely affected the lives of all women.
In the years marked by the second and third feminist wave, Spanish women architects began to practice architecture at a time of heated debate about the crisis of modernity and the beginning and consolidation of post-modern culture. This project aims to critically analyse the work done by women architects who practised architecture in the last third of the 20th century and to contextualise it in the historiography of Spanish architectural culture.
The project will attempt to provide precise dates in the development of men and women architects in Spain through a statistical study, broken down by gender, and thereby, to record the gradual inclusion of women into the profession. To achieve this, we will count on the support of the Consejo Superior de Colegios de Arquitectos de España (CSCAE) (The Higher Council of the Spanish Institutes of Architects). A comparative analysis of the data obtained – male and female graduates and college-registered architects – will shed light on the way women entered the profession from a quantitative angle.
However, for a qualitative study – following several studies that have already been carried out to date – our initial working hypothesis is based on two relevant aspects:
The majority of women who continued to practice architecture in the traditional way, by working for a professional studio which designed and project managed new buildings and carried out urban planning, did so working as a couple or in teams led by male colleagues and thus, had difficulties in practicing by managing their own architecture studio alone.
A high percentage of women architects dedicated themselves to unusual professional and artistic fields at the time opening pathways to new ways of understanding and practicing the profession. Thus, areas of work such as landscaping, architectural criticism, architectural theory, academic research, interior design or museum and curatorial work on past architectures were common for a large number of women architects in those years.
As a result, using an analytical time-frame of four phases (1965-1975, Late Franco Era, 1975-82, Transition, 1982-1992, First Democracy, 1992-2000, Full Democracy) and through a disciplinary study (contextualization with the national and international architectural panorama through the study of the written media and oral history) and non-disciplinary (analysis of socio-cultural and legal issues, and other axes of oppression, in addition to gender, such as social class, religion, race, sexual orientation or age), the general objective of this research project is to write the first history of women in Spanish architecture, aimed at generating new knowledge in this field, locating future research topics and opening up fields of work for new generations of researchers in architecture and art, history, gender and feminism.
the main goals of the research project
Generate a database that presents a genealogy of women whose work has been relevant to Spanish architectural culture.
Analyse critically the work carried out by these women and contextualise it in the historiography of Spanish architectural culture.
Analyse the ways (alone, with a male partner, in mixed teams, in female teams) in which women have practiced the profession.
Perform a comparative analysis of women’s situation in architecture with other liberal and traditionally male and artistic professions.
Generate maps of various Spanish cities which identify local works carried out by women.