Skip to Main Content
Designing Women

Designing Women: Gender and the Architectural Profession

Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 192
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Designing Women
    Book Description:

    Women architects in Canada have reacted with ingenuity to the architectural profession's restrictive and sometimes discriminatory practices, contributing major innovations in practice and design to the field.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7384-7
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
    Annmarie Adams and Peta Tancred
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    This study of women architects within a twentieth-century Canadian framework calls into question the profession’s traditional perspective on women members. It demonstrates the extent to which the profession’s own definitions and priorities have ignored both women’s presence and their widespread contributions to architecture, in two important ways. First, many women architects have made major, unacknowledged contributions to the core areas of the field and, in fact, can be credited with developing and refining innovative and transformatory approaches to practice and design. Second, by refusing on occasion to follow conventional architectural careers, women have branched out into a wide range of...

  6. 2 Entering Male-Dominated Practice, 1920–1992: The Profession ‘Defines’ Women Architects
    (pp. 13-35)

    Since we began our study of women in Canadian architecture, a colleague has repeatedly posed the two most basic questions: when, he asks, did women start entering the profession of architecture? and what proportion of the contemporary architectural profession is composed of women? As the project progressed, he became increasingly bemused that we could not provide simple answers to these extremely basic questions.

    It is, of course, true that the architectural profession, at the national level, has never maintained data on its membership by gender. The responsibility for collecting such information has remained at the level of the provinces and...

  7. 3 Images in the Mirror: The Profession’s Perspective on Women Architects
    (pp. 36-58)

    Ebba Nilsson always wanted to be an architect.¹ Growing up in Waterville, Quebec, she watched with interest as her father, David Nilsson, a Swedish immigrant, worked as a carpenter on the town’s Congregational church, constructed cottages in nearby North Hatley, and built a number of barns in the Eastern Townships region. Upon graduation from the Waterville Model School, Ebba went off to Philadelphia to study architecture for three years, working as a mother’s helper and tutoring young children to support her studies. When Ebba returned to Waterville in 1932, however, she began a long career in teaching rather than architecture....

  8. 4 Building the Foundations: Women Contribute to Architectural Practice
    (pp. 59-88)

    ‘As a friend of my mother’s said when I started in at McGill [in 1942], what’s your daughter want to take architecture for, that’s a man’s job,’ recounted a woman architect who practised in Ontario in 1951–2. ‘And my answer was something that came to be said more in the sixties rather than the forties, and that was “Why not?”’ (F:25). This chapter explores the general contributions of some of the first women in Quebec to ask ‘Why not?’ vis-à-vis a career in architecture.¹ Despite the substantial barriers constructed by twentieth-century society, the professional associations, the architectural press, and...

  9. 5 Unregistered Professionals: Women Redesign the Architectural Domain in Canada
    (pp. 89-110)

    Having argued in chapter 2 that women unregistered professionals have extended and elaborated upon the core areas of architectural practice, we turn, in this chapter, to a more detailed study of some of these women¹ and their careers. In particular, we are interested in influences that have propelled de-registered professionals towards non-masculinist careers, as well as in their reasons for reorienting their career trajectories. We profit from our data on men de-registered professionals in order to compare the experiences of Quebec women and men, and to underline the specificities of women’s experiences as they extend the boundaries of the profession....

  10. 6 The Quebec Question: Designing a Distinct Experience
    (pp. 111-124)

    Throughout our study of Canadian women architects, we have been intrigued by differences between Quebec women architects and those in the rest of Canada. Together with our colleagues from various disciplines who are interested in the specificity of this mainly francophone province, our initial reaction was to pose this question: What explanation can we offer for differences between the Quebec women architects and their women colleagues in the rest of Canada? However, on further reflection, we conclude that such a question is framed, rather ironically, within an implicit discourse of similarity rather than difference. It implies that Quebec women ought...

  11. Appendix A: Methodology
    (pp. 125-130)
  12. Appendix B: Additional Tables
    (pp. 131-148)
  13. Appendix C: Lexicon
    (pp. 149-150)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 151-170)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 171-182)
  16. Index
    (pp. 183-190)