Madam Architect

Lectures about women and architecture

29 April till 30 June 2021

Inspired by the publication Madam Architect and in collaboration with its author and editor Merel Pit Bureau Europa organises a series of lectures in light of its exhibition Love in a Mist - the Architecture of Fertility. Five lectures in May and June 2021 deal with the space and position of femininity and women in architecture.

Learn more about how women were literally cut out of the architecture history pages, how the female gaze differs from the male one and how you can recognise it in the design of our cities and our landscapes. Learn about female friendly design, new visions on living and working, equity and inclusion. All lectures can be viewed below.

Madam Architect. More visibility for women in architecture Editor in chief Merel Pit (De Architect) and architects Nicole Maurer (Maurer United Architects) and Sandra Wigmans (SATIJNplus) talk about their experiences and practices and the need for a publication like Madam Architect.

Where are the women? Female architects in history Architecture historian Catja Edens talks about the scandalous treatment of women in the history books. Architects Teske van Royen (Artesk) and Evelien Pieters (AR-TUR) reflect on the situations in respectively the Netherlands and Flanders.

Mien Ruys. The female gaze in the city and in the landscape Biographer Leo den Dulk explores the life and work of landscape designer and theoretician Mien Ruys. Architects Gaby Vanhommerig (Mendum) and Lotte de Moor (Vullings de Moor) also project a specific gaze on their work and its contexts in the Limburgish landscape.

Femininity and inclusivity in the workspace Architects Nadine Nievergeld (Kalekt) and Tatjana de Grood-Trajkovska (TT-Architectuur) talk about equity and inclusivity in the world of architecture today. Only one in four Dutch architects is a woman, even though architecture programs at colleges and universities show a much better equilibrium. 

Hartsuyker. Alternative living Curator at Het Nieuwe Instituut Eline de Graaf opens the archives of Luzia Hartsuyker-Curjel and her husband Enrico, who caused a radical wind to permeate the Dutch architecture scene after World War II. A delegation of young architects, Luca Simons (Artesk) and Omayra Mingels (SATIJNplus) join to discuss their own inspirations and ambitions.

All lectures were filmed and edited by Hussein Al Khayat

Lecture #1. Why Madam Architect?

In this first lecture editor and author Merel Pit explains why there is an urgency for this publication - which was preceded by a series of interviews and articles on A.ZINE. Women architects still do not get enough attention, as opposed to their male colleagues.

Limburgish architects Nicole Maurer of Maurer United Architects (Maastricht) and Sandra Wigmans of SATIJNplus Architecten (Born) join to share their experiences and practices and reflect on the issue at hand.

Lecture #2. Where are the women?

In this second lecture architecture historian Catja Edens was invited to question the agelong practices of literally photoshopping women out of the history books. She focuses on Denise Scott Brown and her passionate plea against sexism in architecture. What was the cause and has any improvement been achieved?

Two guests join us: architect Teske van Royen of Artesk (Maastricht) tells about her experiences in and outside of Limburg, while Evelien Pieters, project leader and executive at architecture platform AR-TUR (Turnhout, Belgium) explores the Flemish situation. They discuss amongst others architects from history such as Lux Guyer and Beatriz Colomina and the ongoing Flemish project Wiki Women Design.

Lecture #3. The feminine gaze on the landscape

Garden historian Leo den Dulk published the complete biography of landscape architect Mien Ruys. Ruys started her career at a time when landscaping was more hobby than profession, and male-dominated at that! She braved her times and became internationally renowned for her designs full of straight shapes and richly blooming beds. In Maastricht two Miens were at work: together with conservatrix Wilhelmina van de Geijn of the Natural History Museum, Ruys designed the Cretaceous landscape garden surrounding the museum.

Lotte de Moor of Vullings de Moor architecten (Berg en Terblijt) and Gaby Vanhommerig of Mendum architectuur (Ransdaal) join the discussion and explore their feminine gaze on the Limburgish landscape. The one works from the tradition of architectural heritage whereas the other envisions more cultural and natural connectedness.

Lecture #4. Femininity in the workspace

In this fourth lecture, architects Nadine Nievergeld of Kalekt (Maasbracht) and Tatjana de Grood-Trajkovska of TT-Architectuur (Maastricht) speak. Both women lead their own, succesfull architecture offices, after first having worked a couple of years at other offices to build up experience. These were usually lead by men.

How do these women then see femininity in the workspace? Is it an issue or, if it is not, should it become a debating point? Did they encounter any gender-related difficulties during their studies, or perhaps later during their careers? And how different is the situation in local Limburg compared to Tatjana's native country, Northern Macedonia?

Lecture #5. Building the future 

This fifth and last lecture in the series is all about the Hartsuykers, the glamour couple Luzia and Enrico who took the Dutch architecture scene by storm during the post-war reconstruction era. Luzia especially was renowned for her female friendly housing visions. Eline de Graaf, conservator at Het Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam) delves into the inspiring Hartsuyker archives.

Omayra Mingels, architect at SATIJNplus (Born), adds to this tale of radical visions with her own outlook on the future. Oftentimes we stick too much to this binary opposition of the masculine and the feminine, though we should instead steer clear of segregationist thinking. Architecture will only profit from such a mentality.