Gendering Architecture, Architecting Gender

August 30, 2018

Created by the Women in Architecture Student Organization (WIASO), the latest exhibition in Rapson Hall’s HGA Gallery Link, “Gendering Architecture, Architecting Gender,” shines a spotlight on historic and contemporary female architects.

Introducing women architects who have been marginalized, belittled, or denied credit for their work, the exhibition presents an inclusive counterpoint to the narrative of the architect as male. Members of the group discuss the new exhibit in this interview.

What inspired WIASO to create this exhibition?

We are interested in learning about female figures in the architectural profession and publicizing work of women in the field. During our initial kick-off event, we profiled several female architects, displayed statistics describing the lack of equity in the field, and shared architecture books written by women. We received feedback about the group’s goals and aspiration and Assistant Professor Daniela Sandler (Architecture) suggested we expand this idea into an exhibition showcasing this information in Rapson.

How did you decide which architects to include?

We wanted to acknowledge the breadth of work created by female architects both in the local community and internationally. We wish we were able to include more, but we look forward to continuing this conversation with future WIASO events.

Why do you think it is important for people to see this exhibition?

We want students, faculty, and professionals to acknowledge the contributions of female architects who have been dismissed, belittled, or denied credit for their work. By looking at architectural movements from a critical feminist perspective, one is able to reimagine history around marginalized identities and redefine what it means to be an architect. The exhibition is a glimpse of a shared history among female architects at the University of Minnesota, one that architecture students are learning about and contributing to daily.

What do you want people to take away from this exhibition?

As female and non-binary students of architecture, we are often presented with standards and precedents established and created by men. We hope this exhibition highlights some of the many women who should be studied and represented more fully in academia and the profession.

Where can people learn more about these individuals and other overlooked architects?

We continually find it disappointing that the amount of information available about female architects is scarce in comparison to their male counterparts. For this exhibition, we found sources from several libraries, online databases, websites like Pioneering Women of American Architecture, and had conversations with women we admire in the field. If you’re interested in learning more, email us at [email protected] or subscribe to our newsletter at

The “Gendering Architecture, Architecting Gender” exhibition is on display September 4, 2018 – February 3, 2019. Learn more about WIASO on their Facebook page.

Illustrations by Dana Saari.

The work and accomplishments of female architects have historically been overlooked in the profession.

To help address this issue, the Women in Architecture Student Organization (WIASO), in collaboration with the School of Architecture, presents the fall lecture series Make Space: Women in Architecture.

Founded in 1971, the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) was created to empower, mentor, and support minority architects. Starting this semester, students in the School of Architecture can get more involved in NOMA’s work thanks to the creation of a new student chapter, NOMAS.

There are 25 statues honoring historical figures in New York City’s Central Park. They include a sculpture of a Polish king, a Venezuelan military leader, a Prussian naturalist, and even a sled dog. But not a single one of these statues is in honor of a historical woman.