Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Gendered Architecture

Sharon E. Davis.

Is there such a thing as gendered architecture? Can architecture define and dictate the identities of individuals? Are the early theories of architecture and space still permeating architecture theory and practice today? I will argue in this presentation that the answer to these questions is a resounding "yes." Architecture was and continues to be gendered, regulating and dictating the identities of all members of society. In this presentation, I will further illustrate how predominate theories of architecture relating to gender in thought and practice in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries affected the professional career of the first women architect in the state of Illinois, if not the world, Marion Mahony Griffin. Even though she was the second woman to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture in 1894, she encountered many obstacles in her profession and working associations (with such people as the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright) based on prevailing theories of gendered architecture in thought and practice.


Sharon E. Davis  (United States)
Art Department Ph. D. Student
Saint Louis University of Saint Louis, MO

I have a Master of Arts in Art with an emphasis in Art History/Criticism from Webster University located in St. Louis, MO. I am currently an instructor in the art department at Greenville College in Greenville, IL, teaching art history and humanities courses. I also curate the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Museum located on the Greenville campus. I am currently finishing a Ph.D. in American Studies from Saint Louis University. The Ph. D. degree should be conferred, winter of 2005. My dissertation research is centered around Marion Mahony Griffin, the first licensed female architect in the State of Illinois, an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright's in the Oak Park Studio. The thesis of my dissertation is researching how architectural theories of the early 20th century influenced her architectural practices and how they relate to the idea of gendered architecture.

  • Gendered
  • Architecture
Person as Subject
  • Mahony Griffin, Marion

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)