The Women in Architecture festival in Berlin focuses on the achievements of women. There is no secret that female architects are usually forgotten and they usually receive less fame than their male colleagues. Men dominate the world of architecture to this day and the curator of the convention explains topics accordingly. She would like to discuss, document, and highlight the achievements of women in men’s world with the exhibition, which is long overdue and should gain even more attention due to the unusual presentation.
Sadly, there are not many famous women architects to this day. If you think about it yourself, you will probably only think of one name: Zaha Hadid. She was an Iraqi-British architect and in 2004 she was the first woman to receive the most important prize for architecture, the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Her work caused a sensation at the beginning of the 1980s when she stood out from 600 competitors with her design for the leisure and recreation park The Peak Leisure Club on a mountain slope in Hong Kong. But the future star architect also had to fight against strong resistance.
The building commission for the opera house in Cardiff, Wales was rewritten no less than three times due to the architectural competition. Each time a design by Zaha Hadid won, but the building owners rejected the jury’s winning design because they allegedly did not like it. But in the end, the architect won against 268 other structures. Among them were such prominent names as Norman Foster, Mario Botta, and Rem Koolhaas. Even a media campaign did everything to prevent Hadid from winning. In the end, however, she prevailed. But Hadid isn’t the only architect who achieved great things in recenthistory. Women planned and constructed significant buildings 100 years ago.
The convention Woman in Architecture in Berlin celebrates achievements with dozens of events that focus on forgotten architects. The best example of this is Marlene Moeschke-Poelzig. She was involved in Max Reinhardt’s theatre buildings and the Haus des Rundfunks in Berlin. However, like many of her female colleagues, she is only known to a few insiders today. Many women architects were only able to do their job successfully because they teamed up with men. It was no different with Marlene Moeschke-Poelzig. She ran her architecture office together with her husband, Hans Poelzig. As a result, he became famous while people did not sufficiently appreciate his wife’s achievements. The ignorance goes so far that an editor cut Marlene Moeschke-Poelzig out of a photo, which showed the house that she designed and lived in with her husband, in Bauwelt magazine. Another excellent example of a difficult situation women found themselves in was Emilie Winkelmann. Even today, few interested know her. Winkelmann had to cheat her way into studying. When registering in 1902, she gave her name as E. Winkelmann and did not mention her gender. She later ran her own architectural office and became very successful in Europe. The exhibition in Berlin pays tribute to all these women and presents their achievements to the broader public.