Gender: An Architectural Agenda

Despina Stratigakos’ book ‘Where are the Women Architects?’ outlines a rising third wave of feminism in architecture, marked by the energy of the students calling for change, “for those of you who, like me, care deeply about architecture and want to see it become a truly inclusive profession, I ask that you be vocal and make trouble”.

In 2018, a group of students at UCD acted upon this call by organising a six month programme of events titled ‘Gender: An Architectural Agenda’, to explore this feminist critique of architecture, which ended in an exhibition of the same name. This exhibition is a collection of work produced by students of UCD Architecture as a response to a series of critical texts on gender in architecture published since 2016.

I was tasked with designing an identity and accompanying promotional material for the events, and contributing to the exhibition with my own response to the topic. My response came in the form of a publication and concrete sculpture.

The concrete sculpture is a replica of one of Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries and acts as a symbol of an ongoing system of oppression and containment. The sculpture uses a material that is typically considered “masculine”, but mixes it with a colour that is typically considered “feminine”. Pink, and its apparent softness, enables it to speak loudly about gender and power, making it unavoidable to the viewer, highlighting the fact that issues of gender imbalance within our society can no longer be ignored.

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