Bengaluru-based architect Apurva Bose Dutta works as a freelance architectural journalist presently, following an interesting work stint with India’s notable architectural journals. With a degree in architecture (India) and a diploma in Freelance Journalism (UK), Apurva, through her articles has been trying to highlight and decode architecture in its most pure manner. Collaborating nationally and internationally with a number of publishing houses, online portals and organisations/firms related to architecture, interiors, construction and their allied industries, Apurva enjoys exploring new subjects in design and comprehending their ideologies. Through her various initiatives, she is persistently working towards promoting the subject of Architectural Journalism in the country.
You can reach Apurva on her website: www.apurvabose.com
Come to think of it, a woman’s role in every sphere of life is being redefined through her efforts and success. While the 21st century has come to recognise God’s choicest creatures in additional ways, than only that of nurturing a family, however the ifs and buts (due to different social and cultural factors) are persistent even today. Whatever circumstances and relatively fewer restrictions from before, that women still have to confront, it is but commendable that their passion, their revelation in their own individual identities, and the strive to create a mark has put them where they are today.
As architects, women have had their restrictions too – take for example Indian women architects who might be much less in numbers than their male counterparts, but needless to say – the ones there are, have left a stamp on the kind of architecture they have done or the kind of derivatives of architecture they have pursued. The number of woman-owned practices have surely risen and there have been many women architects who have created their special niche even in a man-woman co-owned practice.
I treaded my path in a subject called Architectural Journalism eight years back – it took a lot of courage, determination to follow a path that hadn’t been enthusiastically followed by anyone in India before – but I believe, women by nature have an inherent strength which helps them to keep on building and innovating new paths in life. Today, there is a greater number of female students/architects who approach me to pursue this subject even when a lot of male students/architects are stepping on this new discovered path. Similarly, there happen to be a lot of other women architects who have dared to create their own niche in allied fields of architecture. Leave alone practicing mainstream architecture, many women architects today are heading important designations in the field of architecture – whether that’s an architectural related organisation, architectural magazine, architectural events or simply a corporate position in an architectural firm or on the site.
To react to a common notion that exists of majority of women pursuing alternative fields of architecture due to the inequality sense that still persists in the field today, I am of the opinion that while the inequalities might remain, today the emancipated woman will not make a career choice just to establish herself in a society which has is already stepping away from the man-woman divide. Today’s woman is even smarter to strike an ideal balance between her work and home life with the right support structure she carves for herself.
My work includes a lot of interactions and discussions about architecture with architects, and without wanting to sound bias, there is a certain level of nuance, intricacy and creativity that is a tad much more in women than in male architects. The field has also established the success of architectural practices co-owned by a male and a female architect (in many cases husband-wife duo) who are able to maintain a balance in their pragmatic and creative vision – maybe the coming together of man (who is applauded relatively more than the woman for his rationality) and woman (with that higher level of creativity) lead to a holistic vision of design.
Recently, there were much deliberations regarding the ruthless skipping of American architect Denise Brown’s name as the Pritzker Prize awardee which solely went to her partner and husband Architect Robert Venturi. Such revelations do leave a certain hesitation on why such things happen; and I hope the due wherever its necessary – irrespective of gender is given. The aim for us women is not to get dominated and behave submissively in a seemingly ‘male-dominated industry’ but concurrently it is also not to celebrate feminism and make pleas to people to value your work from a different perspective. The aim for all architects is to do what we know how to do. As long as you know your architecture, as long as your intentions are clear and definitely as long as your values are with you, you will continue shining and making your own identity.
Architecture does not need to celebrate women architects in particular, for the simple reason that the profession can’t be scrutinized according to genders. Celebrating women in architecture should only be done when the work they are doing needs to be applauded; just celebrating them to have surpassed the lone tag of the ‘housewife’ or the ‘mother’ or to highlight the inequality between men and women is passé.
Do all women celebrate International women’s day anymore? Well, for all those who still do, it is time to pause and understand that we don’t need a specific day to celebrate our existence and our works. Good work and good intentions will always find a way to the top…each moment of our lives.