Hymens, Mamas, Words, and Drive: A Conversation with Feminist Architecture Collaborative

Agustin Schang | f-architecture

When I met Gabrielle Printz, Virginia Black, and Rosana Elkhatib, we were sharing the same shiny working space at NEW INC, Trump had been recently elected, and along with other graduates from Columbia University GSAPP, they were incubating the “Post-Fordist Hymen Factory” project and hosting political architectural conclaves surrounded by popcorn, light beer, sodas, and music. Since then, feminist architecture collaborative has multiplied their projects and collaborations around the world, tackling the relationship between bodies, spatial politics, intimacy, and intercontinental work structures. I met with them again to discuss further their current strategies and thoughts. Below is our conversation on disentangling dominant discourses, work privilege, and advocating for other ways of being.

Proposal for “Cosmo-Clinical Interiors of Beirut.” Courtesy of f-arch.

AGUSTIN SCHANG

I am interested in knowing more about the beginning of your collaboration. I know you met at Columbia GSAPP doing the Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture master’s program. How did your friendship and that educational environment prompt the creation of your project? [They gazed into each other’s eyes, back and forth, Virginia to Rosana, Rosana to Gabby, Gabby to Virginia. Lattes spilled around them. Drake played softly from a phone. The Google Drive organized autonomously into folders labelled: hymens, mamas, words, fun.] How did you decide to call your project feminist architecture collaborative? And besides your specific practice, how do you envision, and what are your thoughts on, the role of feminism in the current architectural field?

 

F-ARCHITECTURE

Do you mean fuck-architecture? We wanted to name a thing that didn’t appear to exist, the office we wanted to work for. feminist architecture collaborative isn’t a project (because that would assume its separability from our lives, so entangled). It’s a firm, a shared alias, an attitude, an aspiration to power, a way for us to be and work together under whatever circumstances. But ideally, we also design those circumstances.

Proposal for “Cosmo-Clinical Interiors of Beirut.” Courtesy of f-arch.
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[1] See “‘Young Girls’ and Their Real Worlds,” in Harvard Design Magazine no. 44, Fall 2017. Available at f-architecture.com/publications.