• If Women Made Cities: Expanding Coexistence
    Fernanda Canales

Lina Bo Bardi “Study for Camurupim Rural Community (Propriá, Sergipe),” 1976. Colored pencil, felt pen, and ballpoint pen, on tracing paper; 57 x 49.5 cm. Courtesy ILBPMB Collection

Alluding to the 1928 book If Women Made Houses by French activist Paulette Bernège, this investigation focuses on projects that redefine ownership, domestic labor, and the relation between the individual and the collective. It revisits the work of women artists, engineers, architects, and designers who have felt the urge to change the way they live and in doing so, have changed the history of architecture. Important contributions such as Ellen Swallow Richard’s science of controllable environment (euthenics); the Socialist City designed by Alice Constance Austin in Llano del Rio; Lina Bo Bardi's cooperative communities in Sergipe; and Izaskun Chinchilla's Caring City are included. This research explores the work of women that have fought against the two predominant typologies of the past two centuries—the suburban single-family home and the apartment building—and poses alternatives to the way we consume resources and time. The interest lies in placing together varied contributions: Bernège’s discourse that led to the creation of the mechanical housewife known as Marie Mecanique; work developed by the first domestic scientists in the nineteenth century including Christine Frederick, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Malusina Fay Peirce; projects made by innovative women architects and designers of the twentieth century, such as Margarete Shütte-Lihotzky, Eileen Gray, and Charlotte Perriand; and by artists, activists, landscape designers, and young architects.

Fernanda Canales is an architect based in Mexico City committed to design, urban planning and research. She holds a doctorate in architecture from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, a master’s degree from the Universidad Politecnica de Cataunya in Barcelona, and a bachelor’s from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. She is the recipient of the 2018 Architectural League of New York Emerging Voices Award, and author of the books Shared Structures, Private Space (Actar, 2020), Vivienda Colectiva en México (Gustavo Gili, 2017), and Architecture in Mexico 1900–2010 (Arquine, 2013). Her work has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Royal Academy of Arts in London, and the Venice Biennale, among other institutions. She has been visiting faculty member at Princeton University and Yale School of Architecture.