Datum: student journal of architecture

Article Title

This Space Has (A) Sex


The space you are inhabiting right now is not gender-neutral, however bland it might look and whatever laws might pertain to its use. The man-made world is made by men, and women have had to make their own places within it. This truism has governed architecture for millennia and has led to the identification of the discipline with values that we think of as masculine: the imposition of order, the exercise of power through that arrangement, the privileging and exposition of elements that fight natural forces such as gravity and subjugate natural materials to craft. Meanwhile interiors are still places we think of as sensual, sometimes even sensuous, and sensible - values we associate still with femininity. They focus on making us comfortable and they eschew –if they are well-designed - both literal and metaphorical hard edges. Moreover, buildings are made by male architects working in a heroic tradition, and interiors are made by nonprofessionals, or if they do have a professional touch, by interior designers who are still predominantly either female or gay males.

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