A manifesto for a feminist architectural practice
Erinn De Waele
PAF is building an intersectional feminist architecture community where women, and anyone who feels connected to this issue, can share their experiences, explore the underlying mechanisms, and dream about a more inclusive architecture sector.
The architectural practice in Belgium and beyond still isn’t gender-balanced. Also there aren't many people of other marginalized groups represented. We have little statistics on this.
PAF organises a series of live and online conversations and a book club, and researches equality and inclusivity in the architecture sector. We share experiences on inclusivity, sexism, norms and codes, and the competitive work culture.
Since March 2023 we've organised 7 community events. Some of our guests have been Jos Boys (Matrix feminist collective) and Karin Hartmann (book Black Turtleneck, Round Glasses).
PAF is an initiative by Evelien Pieters (°1982). She obtained her architectural degree at Eindhoven University of Technology and studied Cultural Management at the Management School of the University of Antwerp. After her studies, she founded Buro Evelien Pieters, a practice for architectural research, writing and project management. Some of her clients have been NAi, AR-TUR and the VAi. She is currently part of the Editorial Board of the Flemish Architectural Review.
Other people involved at PAF are Erinn De Waele (studied Architecture and Gender and Diversity Studies) and Bart Tritsmans (phd in history and curator/writer in architecture). The advisory board consists of Sofie De Caigny (director Flemish Architecture Institute), Eyukewe Dogo (architect UN Studio / board member Pride Antwerp and VAi), Ama Koranteng-Kumi (director Mino Art Space & Agency / director Bloei&Groei Amsterdam) and Lara Schrijver (prof. architectural theory University of Antwerp).
PAF collaborates with a.o. Stadsform, the Flemish Architecture Institute, bookshop Groene Waterman and received project funding from the Flemish Government.
The architectural practice in Belgium, and in most European countries, still isn’t gender-balanced. Despite decades of equal numbers of female and male architects graduating.
If we filter the percentages of female architects by age, the pattern of the leaky pipeline becomes apparent. Far more women than men leave the architecture practice during their careers.
Also there aren't many people of other marginalized groups represented. We have little statistics on this.
Women and people of other marginalised groups are faced with (often subtle forms of) sexism, discrimination and racism, which makes many choose to leave the architecture sector.
Often these choices are explained as individual decisions, while the systemic structures are ignored.
We aim to make space for individual experiences and insights, and connect them to become collective stories.
PAF organises a series of live and online conversations and a book club, and researches equality and inclusivity in architecture. In small groups, we share experiences on sexism, norms and codes, and the competitive work culture. The participants are people from different generations and backgrounds. We discuss ‘building blocks’ for a feminist architectural practice. In the book club we research a language and context for the shared experiences.
We aim to have this conclude in a manifesto for a feminist architectural practice, as a collage of experiences, insights, and knowledge.
The book would consist of:
*Collage of experiences. Next to the results from our project in Belgium, we will connect to similar collectives (i.e. Architectur Kollectiv, Platform W, ...) to add stories from different European countries.
*Essay on building blocks for an intersectional feminist architectural practice, bringing in statistics and research, examples from existing practices and feminist theory.
*Manifesto for a feminist architectural practice, addressing the necessary change in the architecture sector.