Under the shade of an allée of old trees in Venice’s Giardini, a flash mob of nearly 200 women attending the preview of the Venice Architecture Biennale gathered Friday morning to press for equity, tolerance, and openness in architecture. Part of a movement called Voices of Women, the demonstration was led by French architect Odile Decq and Martha Thorne, executive director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and dean of the architecture school at IE University in Madrid. As Thorne read the group’s manifesto, demonstrators waved fans in support of combatting “pervasive prejudices and disrespectful behavior that appears to be systemic in our culture and discipline. We are united in denouncing discrimination, harassment and aggressions against any member of our community. We will not tolerate it. We will not stand silent.”
Among the architects who came together to voice their support were Jeanne Gang, Marion Weiss, Toshiko Mori, Louise Braverman, Caroline Bos, Anna Heringer, Winka Dubbeldam, Farshid Moussavi, Doriana Fuksas, Nondita Mehrotra, and Marina Tabassum.
The timing of the demonstration is apt not only because of the Time's Up movement but because the 2018 edition of the Venice Biennale is curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, founding partners of the Dublin practice, Grafton Architects, and includes a significant number of women architects. The theme FREESPACE has inspired a number of installations that deal with spaces designed to be inclusionary across gender, race and varied socioeconomic groups.
Read the entire manifesto of Voices of Women below.
We as Voices of Women are building conversations and taking actions to raise awareness to combat pervasive prejudices and disrespectful behavior that appears to be systemic in our culture and discipline. We are united in denouncing discrimination, harassment and aggressions against any member of our community. We will not tolerate it. We will not stand silent.
Women are not a minority in the world, but women are still a minority in the architecture field and we want it to better reflect better the world in which we live.
The Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 FREESPACE is a crucial moment of awakening to promote equitable and respectful treatment of all members of the architectural community irrespective of gender, race, nationality, sexuality and religion. We will join hands with co-workers, students, clients, collaborators, and our male colleagues to create a new path forward toward equitable work and educational environments that promote respectful discourse and open exchange of ideas.
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Coverage of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale sponsored by Hunter Douglas Architectural.