issue two // XX

Page 1




Why XX?

Introduction by Nancy Ruth Sharp Artwork by Hani Salih

There is still a huge disparity in the creative arts. For anyone who’s made it through university (or just started or in the difficult middle) only to be presented with the challenges of a competitive industry, whether it is a struggle to be taken seriously, or constantly losing out to men for positions in firms, the industry can be a pretty hard and frustrating place for aspiring creative women. I hope that in creating this issue and sharing inspirational stories and interviews from experienced woman in industry and students just starting out, that it can be a beacon of brilliance. I shouldn’t have to stress that this issue is not just for women (!!) – a critical part of solving of the problem is for a growing awareness of the issue, and for a growing group to realise it’s not acceptable for a gender pay gap, harassment and intimidation in the workplace, or to be at a disadvantage because of gender.

Don’t Be Afraid

Article and illustration by Jane Wunrow I am a contemporary artist, primarily working in pen and ink, gouache, charcoal, collage, and graphite. My dreams greatly influence the conceptual approach to my art – there is so much potential that can come out of the unconscious state of our minds. I studied at the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA, and my thesis was an installation of various fabric sculptures depicting human sexual anatomy. Though I am currently working in 2D mixed media, I love the sculptural work of other female artists like Louise Bourgeois, Eva Hesse, Lynda Benglis, and Angelika Arendt - I am drawn to and inspired by work that appears tactile and fleshy. I’ve experienced some different waves within my practice over the past decade or so. While I was in art school I created work in a very slow and thoughtful way. Shortly after I graduated my husband and I welcomed our first child. This experience altered a lot about who I was as an artist as well as how I approached my work (which for quite some time I didn’t think I could even make work with a small child around). However, being a mother also revealed in me a very essential desire to continue to make art, even though I realized that I couldn’t make it the same way I once did. I couldn’t mull over each piece and slowly draw out the process, but that a lot had to change if I wanted to make any art at all. I changed my size, my materials, and where I worked. I began working on my art at coffee shops, after my husband came home from work, and the pieces had to be small enough to fit within my bag. The materials also had to dry quickly in order for me to take them back home at the end of the night. This season really influenced the art I’m currently working on. Once I stopped fighting my life’s shift into parenthood (however, it can literally be any season a person is going through), I learned that I could grow so much with this wave of change -- not only as a person, but in my work as well. Becoming a mother has transformed me in ways that couldn’t have possibly come about in any other form. I’ve grown and struggled through this amazing experience, and my art has only become stronger because of it. Similar to this, the best piece of advice I have been given was from a professor of mine. My heart was really broken and pining to create artwork again, after the birth of my first daughter. I spoke with my professor while I was at her art opening, and she, who also has three children, told me, “Jane, if you have the passion to make artwork it isn’t gone. It will come back around.” I have continued to encourage other individuals who are in different stages of life to recognize that life is full of seasons. Our desire to create will come back again. But we also need to be open to how the fulfillment of that desire will look when it comes back. It doesn’t always come back looking the same, and we need to be open to respond to those changes.

Women in Architecture Article by Richmal Wigglesworth Embroidery by Eleanor Moselle

Architecture does not have a problem with women joining the profession. Architecture has a problem retaining women in the profession. I want to clarify that I am a cis gendered, white, middle class woman and as such I speak from a position of privilege. Based on my own experience there is a disconnect in recruiting women (and men) of colour into the profession even at undergraduate level, but there are many nuanced complexities in encouraging minorities of any persuasion to embark on a career in what is often (and with some reason) seen as a rich white boys club and where the qualification period is a minimum of seven years. There is a misconception to think women are discouraged from the profession because of the male dominated construction industry and the perceived hyper masculinity of the construction site and the wider design team, but I do not believe that is the case. As the lead architect on a multimillion pound project I seldom experience any resistance to my ‘being female’ on site and in the studio. That being said, I am often the only women at design team meetings. I do think however that you cannot be mediocre in the same way a man would be – you have to exceed peoples’ expectations not simply meet them. Women are entering Part 1 studies in numbers almost on parity with men. Women are completing their Part 2 studies and going into practice. It is upon full qualification that we experience the real drop out. Depressingly, in 2018 I am going to tell you that this is because of childcare and rearing. The burden generally falls on women still, architect or otherwise, and most practices still seem unwilling to be flexible around this issue in order to retain the talent they have. Bare minimum maternity/paternity leave, inflexibility in working hours, the expectation of over time – these are all issues which need to be addressed positively by the construction industry as a whole in order to prevent this mass mid 30’s dropout rate. This traditional view of the ‘ideal worker’ – working to ridged/traditional hours - is detrimental to everyone’s health and well-being not just women’s. Architects by nature are creative thinkers. As an industry, if we derive a more open approach to more flexible, adaptable, creative ways of working, supporting creativity and career progression and family life, we would be more actively support equality in the profession. If we were to look to Scandinavia and countries which celebrate achieving balance in

work and family life, sharing parental leave we might be able to improve the retention of women in architecture. In the five years since I qualified there has been a noticeable increase in the number of female architects and students coming through. We are reaching critical mass, where the industry adapts to fully accept that women make up 50% of our architects, and practices realise that they can ill afford to lose 50% of their highly trained workforce. We can demand change; we are a powerful and highly motivated group of women. How can we not be motivated if we have completed a seven year course?!

Richmal Wigglesworth BA (Hons) BArch CA RIBA Senior Architect, Sheppard Robson Richmal has worked at Sheppard Robson since 2014. With a focus on refurbishment and conservation, Richmal has experience working on all levels of historic structure from Grade II listed structures to Scheduled Ancient Monuments, with a scope from minor repair to wholesale renovations. She has recently been involved in the ‘Images of Women in Construction’ project, organised by the NAWIC, a project which aims to capture the face of women working in the construction industry.

From Feathers to Fried Eggs: The Female Self Portrait

Article by Correy Murphy Tattoo and Photography by Jay Rose // @jayrosetattoo // The self-portrait has long been an important tool for an artist – a way of announcing themselves to the world, and showcasing their accomplishments. Think of the young Rembrandt in a jaunty plumed hat or Van Gogh with his bandaged ear, staring moodily out of a canvas. But for women artists, the self-portrait has been a difficult genre to explore with any authenticity; the liberty of such self-expression was the preserve of men. The way women artists presented themselves over time reveals their acknowledgement of the male gaze, and shows changes to social expectations of the female artist. Women in the 18th century could paint as a hobby. However, they were expected to stick to the more ‘feminine’ genres of still life and landscape, and could be amateurs only – respectable women did not ‘work’ generally, and certainly not as artists. French painter Adélaïde Labille-Guiard bucked all these trends: She had royal patronage, was a successful professional artist, and painted across genres. Her Self-Portait, 1785, reveals how she managed to accomplish this minor miracle. In the work, the artist showed herself in the act of painting, establishing her credentials as a professional. She holds the palette and brush at the ready in front of a large canvas, so we can be in no doubt that she is, in fact, an artist. However, her fashionable, elegant gown and beribboned straw hat – entirely ridiculous attire for the studio – situate her within respectable French society. She does not challenge assumptions about women’s role here: Her low décolletage and creamy skin emphasise her femininity, and reassure the male viewer that she does not pose a threat. Such a depiction was required for her to inhabit the male sphere with any chance of success. Women artists did not use the self-portrait to challenge male dominance of the profession and gender expectations until the twentieth century. One early example - Self Portrait by Laura Knight - was exhibited in 1913, to the shock and alarm of the critics.

Self-Portrait, Adélaïde LabilleGuiard, 1785

Self Portrait, Laura Knight, 1913

Like Labille-Guiard. Knight depicted herself in the act of painting. She is shown at work in the studio, facing a nude model. To represent herself in this way was radical. Drawing attention to her study of the nude figure and painting herself an ungainly way defied convention. At the Royal Academy in London, women students had only been granted access to life drawing classes in 1893, and even then the models had to be ‘partially covered’. Not only were women in 1916 still expected to paint traditional subjects – which this isn’t – but any selfportrait should have showed them looking their prettiest. Yet Knight depicted herself with her back to the viewer, her figure hidden under heavy shapeless clothes, her expression one of contemplation rather than any desire to engage and please a male viewer. She wears a hat – a common self-portrait device –but subverts the tradition by making hers black, plain, and lacking detail. This was the suffragette era, and Knight’s portrayal of herself as an independent professional willing to challenge expectations reflects wider trends: the times, they were a’changin. Women won the right to vote in 1918, and Laura Knight (by then a Dame), was elected a full member of the Royal Academy in 1929 - the first woman to receive the honour since 1763. Women artists throughout the twentieth century continued to engage with the self-portrait. Their work often explored their most intimate experiences and revealed their fears and desires. Mexican artist Frida Kahlo had a horrific traffic accident, a traumatic abortion, and a tumultuous relationship. Her self-portraits revealed her resulting psychological struggles. Jenny Saville virtually reinvented the self-portrait, using it as a means to address the social pressures for female body perfection (Plan, 1993). Sarah Lucas famously ate a banana (Self-Portrait, 1990) and placed fried eggs on her chest while sitting mannishly in an armchair, raising issues of gender and sexuality (Self Portrait with Fried Eggs, 1996). Rather than complicitly engaging with the male gaze, these artists directly confronted the viewer and challenged expectations of a display of femininity and the depiction of the woman as object. The self-portrait is now a powerful tool for women artists, allowing them to reclaim their bodies and take control of their image, and construct it however they see fit.

Frida Kahlo, The Two Fridas, 1939

Jenny Saville, Plan, 1993

Sarah Lucas, Self Portrait with Fried Eggs, 1996

An Interview With Sadie Morgan Interviewed by Eleanor Moselle Artwork by Tyler Hyde // BA (Hons) Fine Art // Manchester School of Art

E: Could you start off by telling us a bit about yourself, and how your journey in architecture started? S: I left school and went straight into art college to do a foundation, then foundation to Kingston, then Kingston to the Royal College. I think that one of the things I’ve always felt is important in that journey is the fact that I went to schools that were very much mixed in discipline. I studied architecture and interior design, and for the first part of my degree I was along side furniture designers and product designers. Then at the Royal College I was surrounded by painters, illustrators, vehicle designers and so on, and that’s an extraordinary environment in which to learn. This cross practice pollination is something that I have always taken with me, so the importance of having a multidisciplinary team around you, and the importance of having different voices and perspectives, is something that we in drMM have always tried to replicate. E: So when hiring people for drMM is that multi-disciplinary interest something you look for? S: More so when we first started; back then it was much easier as we were smaller so could be more relaxed about how we did it. Now we’re searching more for the specific skills people have, rather than the way they’ve been taught. I’m a great believer in the skills that architects and designers are taught at university, these are the things I think really matter. For example, I think that we are great problem solvers. We have a great capacity to think laterally, and a really good ability to solve problems 3 dimensionally. Our visual imagination means we can think hard and predict how things might be in the future, and so adapt and premeditate not only opportunities, but also problems that might come along, and so start to solve them before they arrive. So I think as architects we have a really broad set of skills that shouldn’t be confined to just making architecture in the traditional sense of 3D buildings. At the moment the work that I do not only in drMM but in my advisory roles is trying to say, not only to architects but to the government in particular that creative thinkers are incredibly important to talk to early on in any processes from policy making to brief writing to visioning. E: How do you think your various roles as business woman/ director/ president/ activist have shaped the work that you do within your own architecture firm? S: I think it’s more about shaping the direction and the mix of people in drMM and how we think about the work we want to do. I think it’s really important to have a clear ethos, and to have a clear idea bout where you want to go as a business.

That doesn’t have to be specific; it’s more about asking what is it you are here for? Are you here to make the world a better place or are you here to make loads of money, or are you here to create for yourself a physical legacy? There are lots of different reasons why people go into practice, and for us it’s very much based on a social belief that we need to think hard about solving some of the big issues that we are facing. Some of the ways we can do this are through making better homes, better communities, and a better environment for the people who live and work and play in them. E: Is it these social beliefs, and your aim to make better homes and environments, that motivates you on a day-to-day basis? S: Definitely. I was brought up in a commune. It was a very interesting upbringing, and one that’s very much about society, and sharing, and looking after one another. That’s something that has driven me throughout my career, and particularly now. When you start off you are working so hard to make a practice and to keep afloat. It’s really tough to make sure you’re delivering fabulous transformative architecture on tiny budgets for difficult sites, while dealing with all of the difficulties you have when you’re small and starting up. Then as you grow your practice and your business, and you become more settled, you can really start to drive your ethos clearly through the work you do and the work you choose to do, and through the built form. At this point I’ve been in practice for 22 years and drMM is my life and soul, but I also feel it’s really important to again have a different perspective from that of just working full time within the confines of your office. I think it’s important that, particularly as a woman, I do my best to advocate the profession and the importance of good design. It’s important that I’m able to talk to young people, to students like yourself, about what a great profession it is and how you must be adaptable and careful, and think hard about the future; a future where there’s a proper place for women. We have to make sure that our profession is diverse and reflects the fantastic diversity of our nation. E: As someone who’s just 8 weeks into architecture school, the idea of you fresh out of university starting your own practice, from the very beginning making your own decisions and choosing your own work, is an inspiring but daunting prospect! What advice would you give to young people wanting to similarly follow an independent path? S: To be honest I didn’t plan any of it. Every single thing that I’ve done has been an opportunity that I’ve taken. At my end of year degree show, when completing my masters at the Royal College, I was approached by a woman who asked if

she could buy the installation I had made. Cheekily I said no! Luckily she asked if I could make her something similar, so I designed some furniture for her. This evolved into a project to redo her kitchen, and it went on from there. One opportunity just turned into another. A similar thing happened in terms of drMM; Alex and Philip and I didn’t plan to start a practice. We put some joint work in for an exhibition and we were chosen to be shown as one of 10 new up and coming practices. There was a competition and we won it, and were suddenly faced with the prospect of having to become a proper practice. So everything that I’ve done has been very much about an opportunity coming along, and instead of saying ‘I couldn’t possibly’, just grabbing it. You end up going along paths you never thought possible or would have expected. I never would have expected to find myself advising the government on our national infrastructure needs for example, but I do and I love it. E: Earlier you talked about your responsibility as a woman in the industry. Do you think that the gender discussion is a useful one, or do you think we should be pushing for equality through our actions and hard work? S: I don’t think that we need to be working hard to become as good as the men in the profession; we are as good as the men, often better. It’s important to acknowledge the challenges that women face in architecture, because through this we can create good working environments that allow women to succeed. IN drMM we do this by employing an equal gender balance, providing equal opportunity, good maternity leave for those women who choose to have children, and flexible hours. These are all positive actions we can take to create an easier path to success. The lack of women at a senior level needs to be addressed. Leading by example will inspire young people, specifically young women, entering the industry, and is more useful than just discussing the subject. However discussion does need to happen, as the problem needs to be made explicit. Throughout my career I have tried to be vocal in stating my own worth. As a woman director I am able to show younger women that it is absolutely possible to achieve great things. I don’t feel that I’ve experienced many instances of not being taken seriously, and I can partly put this down through my own acknowledgement of my skills and what I have to offer. By being self-assured about what you can bring to a project, you are likely to be treated as a worthwhile member of the team. If necessary we should not be afraid of fighting to be treated equally. Another aspect of my career that I believe has led to my access is that I am passionately driven and self-assured. I have a complete belief not only myself, but also the power of design. If you believe that your designs are powerful and good, then personal identity often doesn’t come into it.

E: What is one final piece of advice you would give to someone entering the industry? S: Take opportunities as they come. Understand the skills that you have and the doors that are opened for you, and the possibilities that are created for you, from these skills. I would also say that adaptability is of the utmost importance to current architects. The industry is changing at an unbelievable rate, and we have to be light on our feet to keep up. We should be present and involved in all sorts of projects, not just architecture but government panels and policy. We should also be involved at all stages of the project, from the beginning onwards. The profession of architecture will change completely over the next 10 or 20 years. We have skills that are needed and useful, and we should therefore push to be valued by society as a whole.

Sadie Morgan is a founding director of architecture practice drMM, alongside Alex de Rijke and Philip Marsh. Their work is wide ranging and high profile, including the Stirling Prize winning Hastings Pier. Sadie’s roles are varied; she also chairs the Independent Design Panel for High Speed Two, is a commissioner of the National Infrastructure Commission and commissioner of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission. In 2013 she became the youngest ever, and fourth female, president of the AA and in 2016 was appointed professor at the University of Westminster.

Hello: from the Remember When series Article and Illustration by Daisy Southern As a young female contemporary visual artist, I find it bizarre that even though when I walk around the Manchester School of Art, I am overwhelmed by female practitioners; the art world it is still very male dominated. It seems that male artists constantly and historically have always been chosen over woman to exhibit their work in well-established galleries and featured in art magazines, etc. The only way us females seem to get noticed is if we create our own exhibitions, but we do not get the same amount of publicity, we have to create the hype and back ourselves. This issue, XX, highlights the fact there is still a huge struggle for women in the creative industry, but that things are beginning to shift. The only way this is going to change is by more projects like this, and supporting female artists. My work includes various mediums, mainly from photography to short films. What creates my practice is that each individual project has a common link and that’s my interest in performance. I find a way to be within each of my creations, I see myself as having the same value to a prop. My presence in my work is there to help guide and visually narrate the concept I want to get across to the viewers.

Instagram - photographybydaisymay Website -

Women Write Architecture

Article by Harriet Hariss Photography by Megan Ashcroft // Styling and Image Making Student @ Salford University // Founder of ‘Fat Chicks Unite’ // Insta: @m_ashcroft and @fatchicksunite_ At the beginning of term, many architecture students will be issued with reading lists that are largely dominated by male writers, leading them to assume that the key voices of authority within the discipline of architecture are male. It’s not that women don’t write, it’s just that their work is just less likely to be included. In fact, the lack of gender representation in the profession is being sustained and maintained by schools of architecture - both in terms of their staffing profiles and their curricula content. For example, although one in three architectural educators in the UK are women, only 2.5% (1:40) of UK Architecture faculty is female at Dean level. Compare this with the USA, where one in four Deans of architecture is a woman. Given Dean appointments are made on the basis of an established body of reputable work, citations and research then reading lists carry a burden of responsibility to ensure women’s work is both read and referenced. But if fewer students know about the work of women, the work is ignored and they’re less likely to be considered for senior academic roles and other promotions. Subsequently, the problem is endlessly perpetuated. The women writers in architecture reading list has been designed to try to address this imbalance. It has over 300 women writers listed so far, and will continue to grow organically through crowd sourced recommendations from women, men and beyond. So far, the response has been surprisingly positive: there seems to be a real need amongst academics, practitioners, students and historians to have a ‘go-to’ resource for improving reading recommendation parity. Its also important to encourage more female students to feel equally represented within the profession of architecture. In addition, the hope is that it encourages more young women into architectural academia and research careers, too. Simultaneously, the careers of the many incredible women writers in architecture will be given more recognition for their work, find networks of specialists and experts that could evolve into writing and research collaborations and provide greater opportunities for professional advancement, including access to leadership roles. It should also help universities to recruit more women as external examiners, design critics, visiting professors and guest speakers too. General Reading: Anderson, Jane. Architectural Design. Lausanne: AVA Academia. 2010 Blakstad, Lucy. Bridge: The Architecture of Connection. Birkhauser, 2001.

Bruno, Giuliana. Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film. New York: Verso, 2007. Colomina, Beatriz. Architecture production. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1988. Colomina, Beatriz. Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media. MIT Press, 1996. Colombino, Laura. Spatial Politics in Contemporary London Literature : Writing Architecture and the Body. New York: Routledge, 2013. Cooper, Davina, Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014. Cuff, Dana. Architecture: The story of practice. MIT Press, USA, 1992. Fernie, Jess. (Ed) Two Minds: Artists and Architects in Collaboration, Black Dog 2006 Goldhagen, Sarah Williams. Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives. HarperCollins, 2017. Kaji-O’Grady, Sandra L. Critical studies in contemporary architecture. Geelong, VIC, Australia: Deakin University, 1998. Krasny, Elke, ed. The Force is in the Mind: The making of architecture. Birkhäuser, 2008 Lappin, Sarah, Miriam Delaney, and Anne Gorman. Studio Craft and Technique: The Architecture Student’s Handbook. (2011). Lees Maffei, Grace; Houze, Rebecca. The Design History Reader. Oxford: Berg, 2010. Martin, Marcia. Architectural Drafting: Procedures & Processes. Stipes Pub Llc, 1997 Moon, Karen. Modelling Messages: The Architect and the Model. Monacelli Press, 2003. Mullio, Cara. Ursprung, Philip. Two minds: artists and architects in collaboration. Black Dog, London, 2006. Schneider, Tatjana and Nishat, Awan. Till, Jeremy. Spatial agency: other ways of doing architecture. Routledge, 2013. Thomas, Katie Lloyd, ed. Material matters: Architecture and material practice.Routledge, 2006. Wigglesworth, Sarah, and Jeremy Till. The everyday and architecture. Vol. 134. Architectural Design, 1998. Wingham, Ivana. Mobility of the Line: Art Architecture Design. Birkhauser Verlag AG, 2013. Zell, Mo. Architectural Drawing Course: Tools and Techniques for 2D and 3D Representation. Barron’s Educational Series, 2018.

About the Intimates Industry Article and illustration by Kelly Alleyne

The fashion industry is an enormous (and one might say terrifying) part of our culture. Whether you like it or not, someone you know works in this industry, and will have the pack of vogue cigarettes to prove it. However if you look really closely, you may spot a glimmer of hope in the abyss of “huns”… The intimates industry is a tiny little community of nerdy bra lovers; everyone knows everyone, and everyone owns a novelty tit mug. Please, do not be intimidated. Although the percentage of people with a latex fetishism is slightly higher than usual in this community, most of us just love a lacey pair of pants. I became part of this community after studying Contour Fashion at University. This degree covers any garment which “Contours” the body (hence the name), such as Lingerie, Swimwear, Corsetry, and Performance Sportswear. There are only 3 Universities in the world which offer this area of study, making this a highly competitive industry. At the age of 18, after studying Fashion and Textiles for 5 years, I felt at a loss. As much as I loved designing and creating garments, I knew that plain old fashion design just wouldn’t cut it. The constant changing of trends seemed fickle, and impossible to keep up with. At the same time, I discovered the world of feminism, and (much to everyone’s annoyance) I became obsessed. Everything that came out of my mouth, and everything that found a place in my sketchbook revolved around female empowerment. I wanted to study a degree where I could continue my obsession, and as I am not an academic creature, Contour Fashion fitted the bill. While bras and corsets are sometimes described as objectifying towards women, I urge you to hear me out before you burn your bra. Bras are not a necessity, and despite popular belief, they do not stop your sweater stretchers from sagging (google it). But if you do happen to enjoy wearing pretty underwear, you will agree with me that it can feel pretty empowering. I wanted to create lingerie for women that love their skivvies as much as I do. I have had many opportunities to work with incredibly supportive and talented individuals, who are experts at their trade, and still exude a passion for undies years after graduating from University. I’ve even had the opportunity to meet Brian May (lead guitarist in Queen) at a lingerie fashion show, who has written a

book about Victorian underwear (who’d have thought!). One of my most surprising experiences of the lingerie world, however, is the community on Instagram. There is a surprising amount of people who share there love for lingerie on anonymous and dedicated accounts; people with all different body types, genders and tastes, and breaking the Victoria secret stereotype while they do so. This community welcomes anyone with its arms wide open, and is a great way of finding out about old, new, commercial and alternative lingerie brands. Just search #lingerieofthemonth, a hashtag dedicated to different lingerie themes, and setting people challenges to create a different lingerie selfie on a monthly basis. For many people, it’s a platform where you can share your love of undies, without being sexualised. I while I’m at it, I have to give “” a mention. This blog lets anyone submit their own posts about undies, be that reviews, experiences, or opinions. So I guess, what I’m trying to say is, anyone can get actively involved in the lingerie world, be you a designer or a customer. The lingerie community is far more inclusive than I ever expected, and has very much improved my body confidence and self worth. I hope you took something valuable away from this, and you feel even more fab in your pants than you did before!

An Interview with Caroline Baker: of Development and Planning Team at Cushman & Wakefield (formally DTZ)

Partner, Head

Illustration by Lola Tartakover What did you study at University and what was your experience of being a female at the time? I studied Geography at Cambridge and then a Planning Master at Newcastle University. Generally at university there was a good mix of males and females and gender issues weren’t really a big issue. It was more when I started working in the property industry that I realised it wasn’t so balanced. According to a survey of UK architecture students in 2017, 48% of females, suffered some sort of discrimination based on their gender. Can you describe your experience when progressing to higher positions within your career, did you find that being a woman was an advantage or disadvantage? On the whole I have not experienced discrimination based on gender. Within DTZ I was even encouraged by a number of senior males to put myself forward to become a partner at the age of 31. However I am conscious that often I am the only or one of a few women in meetings, but experience has allowed me not to be put off by this. In fact in many cases it is an advantage because people remember me (rather than being just one of many men in a meeting!) What’s your view on the role of women working in architecture/ real estate/ construction today? I think that women are equal to men but we need to ensure that we act as positive role models and encourage younger women to have the confidence to walk/talk in rooms where sometimes they will be the only women in a room. We have great qualities that can make us really great managers and clients bring a different perspective to a project/meeting. As a director at Cushman and Wakefield, what would have been different if women had always been making the decisions? I have been making decisions locally in respect of my team since becoming a partner for over 15 years ago and before that when I had a male director I was part of his team making decisions. As a partner in Manchester I make decisions along with other partners and I am treated as an equal. My core team are currently all female and in the wider team there is currently only 1 male – across a team of 7! Generally there have been more females than males in my teams – I think in part because women are attracted to planning and we tend to me organisation, hardworking etc so make good consultants. Why do you think there are so few women in architecture, especially in high-level positions? What can change and what is changing? Some of it is due to choice and wanting to have a family. I was lucky I had a supporting and flexible husband who helped me out and enabled me to carry on working with a family. You do need to be confident to make your views heard and it helps if there are other women in the business who can support you. Within Cushman & Wakefield we have recognised that the property industry is dominated by white middle class males and we are committed to diversifying our working population. I support this initiative to ensure that women (and other minorities) are not discriminated within the business and we support a broader recruitment policy to ensure our employees mirror our clients and the real world in which we operate.

The Architect Knows Best? A debate on the role of the architect as facilitator or dictator of design Last term, the Manchester School of Architecture Debating Union held its second ever debate, at the Whitworth Hall Council Chambers. The debate featured both academics and student speakers, who aimed to answer the question - The Architect Knows Best? The core arguments in this debate on both sides centered on the role that the architect plays in construction and whether they should be dictators or facilitators when it comes to design. Each of the four speakers addressed the motion through their own perspectives and experiences as researchers, practitioners and students. This resulted in an engaging and varied debate that made choosing a victor very difficult.

The Manchester School of Architecture Debating Union is a collective that operates within the MSSA and organises debates on current issues and topics of interest to architecture students and professionals alike. Through these debates, we hope to encourage students to begin to think about architecture outside of the studio and in real life contexts. Interested in being part of our next event? Please contact us via our email - msadebateunion@ /MSADebate


Polis, Prison and Purfle:

gender, culture and class in the study

of architectural history/theory.

Article by Emma Cheatle Artwork by Emma Sukalic // @emmasukalic As a history/theory teacher, I am pleased at the increasing number of research questions proposed on feminism in architecture. These are usually, but not exclusively, from women students. Despite making up half of the student body, once qualified only a small percentage of these women stay in the profession long- term. There are complex reasons for this and I would urge you to review the excellent analysis by, for example, Parlour in Australia, Lori Brown and Despina Stratigakos in the US, and Harriet Harriss in the UK. But you are not professional yet, nor may intend on becoming so, and the professional context is not the only one. What I would like to engage with, then, is the academic and cultural context, the one in which you find yourselves now, and the one in which I work. Twenty-five years ago, as an undergraduate, I was schooled in design, technology, professional practice, and history/theory, in not dissimilar ways to those you experience. It was a good education. The architectural canon – its breadth and width – was delivered by some of the best academics of the day. The annual architectural history/theory course came with numerous, engaging slideshows (of largely holiday photographs, the lecturer’s child for scale). We engaged in electives in a wide range of cultural, art and architectural histories, from Renaissance gardens to the Festival of Britain, from French to etching classes, and lapped up extra curricular evenings of French New Wave films, public lectures, and trips to European cities. Despite having the input of inventive, radical even, teachers, I cannot think of a single time I heard reference to a female architect (except where in partnership with their husbands), and, bar the important Jane Drew and Alice Coleman (and strictly speaking they were sociologist/geographers), no women historians or theorists of architecture. Despite, or because of this, I became very interested in feminism and was highly politicised. It was not until the end of my postgraduate education in 1994 that the women history/ theory writers we know so well today – Beatriz Colomina, Joan Ockman, Jennifer Bloomer, Catherine Ingraham, to name but a few – had begun to break through. Now, there are many academics addressing questions of the representation of women in architectural history/theory. From Fatale in Stockholm, the Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative (FAAC) in the US, Naomi Stead in Australia and our very own Barbara Penner, Katie Lloyd Thomas and Jane Rendell

(amongst many others) here in the UK, academics are critiquing, readjusting and filling in the gaps in the canon of architectural history, providing texts written by women on reading lists, rethinking writing modes and situating practices. I have recently begun a collaborative project with Catalina MejĂ­a Moreno which seeks to revolutionise the idea of the canon itself and, through evaluations of gender, race and class, rethink the whole framework of the architectural history/theory survey course and beyond. We seek out non- professional, female and culturally diverse/ marginalised or lost authors or producers of space, and re- evaluate the use, critical reception, categorisation and hence politicisation of buildings and cities. We examine and give new definitions to splits such as major/minor, public/private and interior/urban, as well as examining the roles of writing, research, performativity and revision, towards a democratised history of architecture.

Dr Emma Cheatle qualified as an architect in 1995, and practiced for many years. A design and history/ theory teacher since 1995, she has a PhD from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and is now a full- time academic, researching and teaching history/theory of architecture at UCL and Newcastle University. She is author of Part-Architecture: The Maison de Verre, Duchamp, Domesticity and Desire in 1930s Paris (Routledge, 2016).

Creative Women Article and illustration by Esme Garlake @es_sketchbook // o.k.ruby on spotify Have you ever noticed how cooking, as a domestic activity, is traditionally associated with women and yet, in a professional setting, the most successful and popular chefs tend to be men? The same may be said for school subjects. The arts generally see a higher proportion of female students, and yet this ratio is not reflected amongst high-profile professional artists, musicians and authors, who generally tend to be men. I do not want to imply that there are not numerous successful women in creative industries, nor in scientific professions. However, I do seek to acknowledge, and hopefully better understand, the disparity between encouraging ‘feminine’ creativity whilst at the same time imposing limitations on the expectations for this creativity. I am lucky to live in a society and social context where women are allowed to be creative. Indeed, my female friends and I have been taught that this is our forte. Young girls are brought up to be comfortable with the more fluid, subjective ideas that float around the humanities, and to view the empirical realm of sciences and mathematics as something different and more difficult to access. This has certainly been my experience; at the age of five or six I remember sulking by the car before school because I ‘couldn’t do Maths’. By contrast I always relished the praise I got from classmates for my drawings. Although I can say that I was probably never destined to find more ‘logical’ subjects easy, it worries me to see my fourteen-yearold sister complain in a similarly resigned tone that she ‘can’t do Maths’. I worry because I know that her mind works far more empirically and objectively than mine ever could, and instead she too is pushed towards humanities subjects. Her creativity will surely be encouraged, just as mine was, up to a certain point. My art at school was consistently praised, because I was achieving academically. The boys in my art class did not achieve such good marks, however their art already had something that mine did not: an attachment to an artistic ego. They had far more confidence to go against our teacher’s suggestions. It was not until coming to university, when I began drawing and painting out of a box-ticking context, that I realised my creativity had been valued because it promised to follow others’ requirements. Now that my art was beginning to reflect parts of me that were under my sole control, I suddenly found it more uncomfortable to share my creations with other people. My paintings and sketches seemed to demand far more space, attention and recognition of my own selfhood than I thought people would appreciate. Hélène Cixous, a French feminist writer, asks “Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives… hasn’t accused herself of being a monster?” And so, for some time, I kept my sketchbooks

secret, whilst watching others publish their art work, music and poems. Eventually, probably from a mixture of frustration and pride, I decided to create an Instagram account for my art. Even though it is a small account, to begin with it felt far scarier than it logically should have. A woman’s creations are threatening. To who? Inevitably to some men, who would prefer her to stay quiet. Yet more subtle, and perhaps more difficult to work against, is the threat to the woman’s own perception of herself. Of course, as social relational beings, we all judge ourselves according to others’ perceptions of us, but for women this seems to be even more acute. From childhood, woman is taught to judge herself according to others: first she is a daughter, later a partner, then a mother. She is raised to predict any possible criticism or judgement, and to adjust herself accordingly; a habit even more intense these days, among the storm of social media. To make her creativity publicly known is to declare herself an independent being, and so she must shed the foundation stones of her identity which are based on her relation to others. These feelings of making myself vulnerable to others’ judgments were even more intense when I recently produced and released some original songs of mine. I wrote my first song when I was around fifteen, and started to write regularly a couple of years ago. But it has taken a long time to take myself more seriously; or rather, to demand that others take my music seriously. It can prove difficult when I consider how instinctively women tend to criticise and correct themselves. The initially isolating effect of publishing one’s creations makes self-confidence simultaneously even more important and even harder to hold onto; I frequently have moments where I ask myself why I bother. When I think about some of my male friends, who have been publishing their music for years, I wonder whether they are more confident with their music because they are objectively ‘better’ than me, or whether this is perhaps because of their place and experience in the world as men. When a woman chooses to own her creativity, this will inevitably isolate her; but it should not paralyse her. The initial steps can feel lonely, because they involve stepping into a realm that makes you vulnerable to others’ judgments. Ultimately, however, this is all the more reason to do it. Again, Hélène Cixous summarises it wonderfully when she wishes “that woman would write and proclaim this unique empire so that other women, other unacknowledged sovereigns, might exclaim: I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs.” For all of the women who are writing, singing, painting, dancing in public, think of how many other women are doing the same in private. This is why I no longer want to be creative in secret.

There’s More Than Meets the Eye Article and Illustration (Above the Clouds) by Tracie Cheng Insta: @traciecheng ‘Artist and Dreamer’

So often we come across a multitude of things that are more complex than we’ll ever really know. Just being alive means acknowledging the seen and at times having to trust in the unseen: what is visible is not always the full picture, and what is beneath the surface can speak volumes. There is a richness in the combination of these layers- all working together to form a textured story. My work is a play on space and depth, structure and fluidity. As I interweave lines and paint, the painting takes on an unexpected, yet natural evolution and movement. I want my paintings to draw people in with questions of knowing more. I want us to find more possibility in the intangible. I graduated with a degree in architecture and as it turns out, it was just the beginning of my love for art and design- I had no idea the world it would open me up to. Art has been an outlet in which to express my solutions, pose my problems, find my peace. It is a silent communication that has its ways of speaking louder than words. My love and interest in art and design has led me to understand that it can be applied to almost everything, and can enhance spaces and better experiences. There’s something simultaneously tranquil and passionate about the pieces I create- mostly in the process, and hopefully in the product. Creating art quiets my mind and inspires my soul, and my hope is that others can have a similar experience through this art.

Equality in Architecture:

an opinion piece

Article by Yu Wun, architect at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Illustration by Lola Tartakover When I leafed through a careers booklet as an 18 year old, I remember noticing a statistic that the percentage of female qualified architects was something like 10%, but in contrast the percentage of female architecture students was 45%. In fact when I turned up at university, the gender split amongst my contemporaries was about 50:50. I cheerfully assumed that I happened to be starting my architectural career at the cusp of a significant shift in the gender balance of the industry. So it surprises me year on year when the surveys of the architectural workforce show that the UK’s proportion of female architects continues to be low, at about 25%. Particularly alarming is the trend for the numbers of female architects to decrease with rising levels of seniority, when in my own experience the female architects I have worked with are skillful, tenacious and not in the slightest bit deterred by being out-numbered statistically. Perhaps factors outside of our work lives may have a part to play in this pattern. In the UK, it is still culturally the norm for women to take the lion’s share of leave from work after the birth of a child. In fact the statutory right for both parents to share parental leave was not introduced until just three years ago. Whilst the law has made things easier now, in reality few fathers take up this right, perhaps due to lingering perceptions that this is not usual for men– or perhaps it may be influenced by the gender pay gap that still exists in a large number of jobs – not only in architecture but more generally. Indeed the two may well be inter-connected in a vicious cycle. To create a truly equal profession requires people of all genders to feel equally invested in the benefits of equality. To this end, I can’t help but feel that awards such as Woman Architect of the Year are a distraction, as well as a discredit to the architects they celebrate – would those professionals not prefer instead to be judged alongside all of their peers? Other women-only organisations also communicate a sense of separateness and division – if not to some women, then certainly to men. We cannot deny the reality that our profession is not equal yet, but to separate ourselves from those who should be our partners and allies cannot be the quickest or best way to achieve this goal. For me, equality will have succeeded when differences such as gender are no longer even relevant in our professional lives – when each person is valued for the qualities that they bring, which may be drawn from their own unique characters, cultures, life experiences and more. I am hopeful that we can learn to leave gender baggage behind, and each offer our skills as individuals. Surely this is something men would wish to do as well, so we should invite them to join the conversation.







An Interview With Gillian Harrison Illustration by Araki Koman Tell us a bit about yourself eg. practice/profession/type of architect you’re interested in, age, where you are from, what and where you have studied, favourite piece of architecture, your inspirational figure. I’m a Senior Architect with Levitt Bernstein and through my career have worked on a wide variety of education projects, historic buildings and am currently focused on housing. I’m from Lancashire, studied in Nottingham and now reside in Manchester, where the architectural landscape is really thriving, which is great to see. A few of my favourite things: Peter Zumthor’s thermal baths at Vals; Chipperfield’s Neues Museum in Berlin; Copenhagen, Stockholm (and the rest of Scandinavia); visiting London (and then leaving again), knitting, cycling and food! What drew you to the creative industry and inspired you to become an architect? I loved art and maths at school and wanted something that combined my shared passion for being creative but also using logic and problem solving. I was always going to end up doing something creative, and it’s important to me to find time for other outlets beyond architecture – currently that’s knitting and weaving (on a homemade laser cut loom!). What do you think are the best and worst aspects of your profession/the industry? Best – the people. The creative process is a team effort and it takes a long time to get to the end of a building project, so collaborating with passionate people is vital and I’m lucky to work with loads. Worst – the struggle to get there sometimes, but I wouldn’t change it as it means you know something is important. What motivates you on a day-to-day basis? That every day is different and brings new challenges, and is part of a whole process that should lead to something tangible and amazing if you get it right. What role do you, as an architect, have in society? People cannot avoid using buildings – or they would have to try very hard to! The built environment forms such a critical part of everyday life, from where people live and work to where they enjoy leisure pursuits and are taught or cared for. Architects therefore play a vital role in shaping society and facilitating the smooth running of that society, while also hopefully providing joy – we should never forget the power of buildings to uplift and inspire people. How has your practice changed over the time? Levitt Bernstein was established 50 years ago, so at the very least we now all use computers (as






New Zealand

well as pens and paper!). Hardly anything in our world stays exactly the same – be it culture, technology, politics and policy, prevailing attitudes, people’s wants and needs – but certain fundamental principles do stay the same: the need for shelter and to provide buildings that enhance people’s lives. When David Levitt and David Bernstein founded the Practice, they were dedicated to creating better homes for all – a principle that is as fundamental to our work now as it was then. How do you think creative industries are effective means for empowering women? Everyone from any background has the power to be creative, and the design industry as a whole benefits from the contribution of diverse people with different experiences. In your opinion, should being a woman affect the way you work? No. There is a school of thought that women are more empathetic, but I don’t think this is related to gender – it’s to do with an individual’s background and experiences. The most important thing is to have a diverse community of engaged and enthusiastic people doing something they love and hopefully making a positive contribution. What would you say has been your greatest achievement? One of the amazing things about my job is the different kinds of success – from getting a tricky planning approval, to working out how to get a detail to work, to creating a space in a building that someone will enjoy inhabiting. The work is varied, so the achievements are varied. But even after all these years I do still think my greatest achievement is qualifying as an architect. It does take a fair amount of effort to get there and it’s nice to be reminded once in a while of the commitment we’ve all made in deciding to pursue this wonderful (if sometimes exasperating) career. Do you have a goal that you would like to achieve next, or a dream you would like to pursue? I hope to work on more fantastic buildings, with great clients that have a positive impact on people’s lives. I think it’s important not to be complacent about this as an ongoing ambition. Oh, and write a novel, learn to use a potters’ wheel and try Ikebana (minimal Japenese flower arranging)! What is the best piece of advice you can give (to people entering the world of art and creative industries)? The advice I’d like to offer, and hope to take on board myself, is fairly topical. I went to Design City Reframed (part of Design Manchester) recently and virtually every presenter said something to a similar effect: look at the world more and look at your phone (a bit) less.

Manchester Architecture News Front Image: Tower of Light ECHO STREET PROPOSALS IN FOR PLANNING Sheppard Robson have amended original proposals for a 643 bedroom co-living scheme on the former UMIST campus opting for a judicious choice of material. The tower, which will contain 242 bedrooms of student accommodation, has a staggered profile stepping away from the Sackville Street building rising a huge 27 storeys towards London Road. The original cladding of ‘champagne’ metal has been dropped, instead a cladding comprised of terracotta colour brick tiles, matching in material, if not scale, the adjacent Whitworth St conservation area. SIMPSON PROPOSES SKYSCRAPER-CAPPING CONE Ian Simpson, known colloquially as Mr Skyscraper, has, in light of recent proposals in proximity to the town hall, proposed a notional inverted cone centred on the town hall to stem the incursion of potentially detrimental skyscrapers. The cone, which uses existing building heights to justify its form, is a call for the city council to develop a comprehensive strategy for the planning of tall buildings, something which it currently lacks. It also backs the current trend to build tall around the periphery of the city. TONKIN LIU GAINS APPROVAL OF TOWER OF LIGHT London based practice Tonkin Liu have won a councilbacked competition to design a 40m high structure shrouding an energy centre and extraction stack between the Bridgewater Hall and Manchester Central. The tower’s fluted plan profile becomes incrementally intricate as the tower rises, terminating in a biomimetic filigree pattern from which air is expelled through mirrored flues, the tower’s faceted design will celebrate shadow throughout the day and form a polychromatic vertical origami when illuminated at night.


MAR 2018

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