Degree Granting Department
Architecture and Community Design
Mark Weston, M.Arch.
Stanley Russell, M.Arch.
Stephen Szutenbach, M.Arch.
Weaving, Shelter, Feminism, Textiles, Nature
Weaving and architecture, conceived simultaneously with cave paintings, are two ancient forms of craft used to enclose space and provide shelter harmoniously with nature. In its basic composition, a useable textile is the interlacing of two members, warp and weft, at right angles to create structure and surface respectively. Textile artist Anni Albers of the Bauhaus attributes the organization of weaving to the skills of an ancient goddess. Her understanding of prehistoric cultures further links women closer to the overall creation of structure, though perceived as a masculine endeavor. Consequently, early advancements in architecture, the structural organization of shelter, are a result of feminine inventions. Moreover, it has been the female who has been entrusted with emotional and sensual elements of shelter since prehistory. Through the creation of a home, woman’s mastery of the domestic realm strengthened and led to gender-defining ideologies. Suburban typologies of the post-war United States heightened the feminine domestic role through social and environmental isolation of the gender. The suburbs ironically conditioned an alternative sentiment of the built environment featuring ideals of tradition, sustenance, and continuity with nature.
In the modern era, weaving and architecture have devolved to be similarly designed and chosen for aesthetic qualities only. Textiles are produced for an indoor existence with weaving traditions unchanged and innovation seen in synthetic fibers. Modern shelter is chosen and constructed using inefficient practices popularized in the 1950s, with advancements only in materiality. Both disciplines overlook their feminine link and mutual advantages of protection, flexibility, user connection, tactile engagement, and environmental impact.
As a result of this disregard, the capacity of the planet suffers due to outdated and unsustainable residential building practices, while quality of life degrades due to the inabilities of built spaces to nurture and engage inhabitants effectively. Based on eco-maternalist philosophies within architecture and the structural, spatial, and tactile qualities of weaving, these crafts can again interlock into a modern, efficient construction of shelter. The time has come to rethink building design and the feminine integration of weaver and architect provides a foundation for the discovery of an appropriate assembly for the next generation.
Scholar Commons Citation
Dahlquist, Kirsten Lee, "Women and Architecture: Re-Making Shelter Through Woven Tectonics" (2010). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.