Making room for women

Women in American Architecture. A Historic and Contemporary Perspective | 1976-1977

Installation of the traveling exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum, New York

This exhibition and its “Drafting Room” installation were designed to make visible the many women architects whose very existence had been hidden, ignored or denied by the male establishment. Rejecting the typical focus on the very few “exceptional women” who had been (albeit reluctantly) accepted by that establishment, the installation intended to present a complex, nuanced view of the ideologies that have bound women spatially to the house and socially to nearly invisible professional careers, and also to demonstrate the efforts made by some women to externalize their presence through Women’s Buildings at the end of the 19th Century in Chicago and the time of the exhibition in Los Angeles. The installation was organized into three sections: designers and theorists of domestic environments; professional female architects (both exceptional and average); and Women’s Buildings (historic and contemporary). The installation budget provided by the museum barely covered the cost of the paint for the red, “higher”, horizon line; a supportive supplier of drafting equipment loaned the drafting table bases.