You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.


Summer Semester 2020

Wednesdays 10h15-11h45

• Goethe University Frankfurt am Main
Art History Department


Critical Agendas for Architecture: Feminism and Modern Architecture

Daniela Ortiz dos Santos

This seminar challenges the hegemonic narratives that have shaped modern architectural history. It sheds light on new names, records and episodes. It intersects modern architectural history with histories of feminism, with post-/de-/anti-colonial histories, as well as with cultural studies of displacement and of everyday life.

It expands, on the one hand, the repertoire of women in architecture; on the other hand, it provides critical tools for constructing more complex narratives in the field of architecture. The incorporation of names, books and sites of the southern hemisphere and the ways these have been interconnected within the framework of North-South relations shall be also addressed.

This is an approach that suggests an investigation of multiple movements that crosses biographies, discourses and practices and which are attentive to a history embodied in its social actors. Our efforts here are to abandon a pure cartography of a simple inventory of individual cases and single facts. Instead, it reveals relations of power, as well as the invisible forces that have shaped the architectural discourse. It articulates new relations between architecture, difference and embodiment.

In this seminar, there is more room for open questions than static assumptions. Participants shall be invited to shift from an analysis of widely known records, to an investigation embracing a network of several other documents, people and techniques, therefore placing familiar figures such as Le Corbusier, Adolf Loos or Mies van der Rohe in a wider and complex context.

By re-examining the notions of modernity, feminism, domesticity, otherness, everyday spaces and displacement, this seminar considers a series of approaches that goes beyond the dominant discourses on modern architecture still anchored in the ideas of functionalism, international style, and other reductionist terms that no longer help us to make more complex judgments about the meaning of the modern movement.



. Introductory Session: Tool-kits for Architectural Criticism

Module 1. Feminist Theory

. Session “Modern Architecture and the Made’s Room”

. Session on “Adorno’s Relevance for a Feminist Theory of Architecture” (Based on the text by Hilde Heynen)

Module 2. Modernity and Domesticity

. Session “The New Woman and Domestic Reform”

. Session “First the Kitchen – Then the Façade” (Based on the text by Nicholas Bullock)

Module 3. Other Spaces

. Special Session with Guest: “Everyday. A Discreet Power in Architecture”. A Talk and a Conversation with Vanessa Grossman

Module 4. Shifting Perspectives

. Session “Houses Built for Women”

. Session. “We Don’t Need Another Hero”

Module 5. Writing Architectural History in Plural

. Special Session with Guest: “Women in the CIAM: Possibilities and Challenges from the Point of View of Gender Studies”. A Talk and a Conversation with Rixt Hoekstra

Module 6. Postcolonial, Anti-Colonial and De-colonial Thinking

. Special Session with Guest: “Architectural History and Anti-Colonial Thinking”, A Conversation with Samia Henni

. Session. On “De-colonial” Architecture


This is an online seminar. For further information, please contact Daniela Ortiz dos Santos.