ERC Project - Women Writing Architecture 1700-1900
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About WoWA

Source: Eugène Delacroix. July 28: Liberty Leading the People. 1830. Oil on canvas, 8'6¼" x 10'8" (2.60 x 3.25 m). Musée du Louvre, Paris. 
Women Writing Architecture: Female Experiences of the Built 1700-1900*, short WoWA, studies female experiences of architecture as recorded in documentary writing drawn from specific regions in South America and Europe between 1700 and 1900. While architectural histories often focus on male-dominated processes of design and production, this project takes a new stance by unearthing women’s contributions to the architectural sphere through writing and editing.
While not part of the canon, articles, travelogues, domestic manuals, or pamphlets authored by women in the period consistently featured descriptions of or commentary on buildings and cities, but these have never been examined collectively by architectural historians. Through a combination of macro and micro research, close and distant reading, geographical mapping and tracing of experience, WoWA addresses this gap opening up a new corpus and presenting architecture’s past through the female eye.

*This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No.949525).


Hultzsch, Anne. ‘The City “En Miniature:” Situating Sophie von La Roche in the Window’. Journal 18, no. Issue 15 Cities (Spring 2023).

Pérez-Martínez, Sol. ‘Mujeres haciendo espacio en Chile 1800 - 1900: Santiago y la poeta popular Rosa Araneda’. _Revista Historia y Patrimonio_ 2, no. 2 (30 June 2023): 1–30., (

Hultzsch, Anne. ‘Other Practices: Gendering Histories of Architecture / Otras Prácticas: Historias de La Arquitectura Con Perspectiva de Género’. ZARCH, no. 18 (2 September 2022): 30–41.(

Hultzsch, Anne, and Sol Pérez Martínez. ‘Reading-With: A Collaborative Method for Inclusive Architectural Histories’. Architectural Histories 11, no. 1 (12 September 2023).

Call for Papers

“Chosen women” (sg. aclla, pl. acllacuna). Illustration from “El primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno,” the chronicle of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, a Quechua nobleman, published in 1615. Public domain.

Mapa del Tahuantinsuyo published by Horacio Urteaga in 1926. Gallica archive.  

S11 – Women Making Space in South America, c.1400-1900

Chaired by Anne Hultzsch and Sol Pérez Martínez, ETH Zurich
EAHN 2024 Conference Athens, 19-23 Jun 2024
Deadline: Sep 8, 2023

The period between 1400 and 1900 in South America is characterised by a set of transitions and processes of transculturation as indigeneity emerged from the clash with colonisation. Empires competed, indigenous cultures grappled with European colonisation, and both later fed into American nation building. This session focuses on the period between the creation of the Tawantinsuyu, the Incan Realm of the Four Parts, in 1438, thus the definition of Andean territory as a continuous region, to the 1880s when the Mapuche people in Southern Chile and Argentina were the last indigenous group to lose control over their territories. The session aims to address gaps in the architectural historiography of the Andean region especially regarding moments of transition where ‘cultures meet, clash and grapple with each other’ creating ‘contact zones’ (Pratt, 1991). We seek to start these new histories through the perspective of women – from any class or ethnicity – as one of the groups often excluded from scholarship on the period. We ask how those identifying as women influenced, shaped, critiqued, and made spaces within and alongside the force field of the contact zone, with its asymmetrical power relations, its struggles, pains, and opportunities?

Challenging linear Euro-American architectural narratives of styles imported to the supposed new world, we invite contributions exploring the role of women in shaping public and private spaces in the Andean territories – from home and convent to street and plaza. Practices to be examined for female space-making opportunities could include, for example, building, homemaking, designing, writing, patronage, financing, teaching, lobbying, gardening, or farming, even mothering. Contributions should explore questions emerging from the triangle between gender, architectures, and South America as a contact zone. What are the spatial categories most useful when exploring women ‘making space’ in the period and region (Matrix, 1984)? Does the public-private dichotomy of separate spheres serve here? What sources provide evidence how women made space? Which writing techniques yield the best results, from archival tracing to historical fiction? How can we fill gaps when there are few traces (Hartman, 2021)?

Besides a methodological appeal for new approaches, the session also queries key terminologies of architectural history: Who is the space-maker during this period? What is the relationship between space-making and the architect? Did the professionalisation of architecture during the 19th century further the exclusion of women from space-making practices? Was there a period of increased access colonial or institutional transitions closed doors to women? Are there comparable developments in other regions?

This session hopes to facilitate a pivotal change to how we look at the formation of architectural cultures in the past through the eyes of women and their lived experiences, considering questions of race, class, or religion, besides those of gender. As scholarship in the field of Latin American architectural history has so far often been dominated by isolated time periods defined by the male coloniser – such as pre-colonial, colonial, post-colonial, modernism – the proposed period between c. 1400 and 1900 invites cross-readings based on dynamic approaches to historical moments, places, and protagonists.

Information about the session can be found here:

Deadline for abstracts

Abstracts are invited by September 8, 2023, and should consist of no more than 300 words.
Submit at along with the applicant’s name, email address, professional affiliation, address, telephone number and a short curriculum vitae, all included in one single .pdf file. The file must be named as follows: session or round table number, hyphen, surname e.g. S05-Tsiambaos.pdf, RT02-Tournikiotis.pdf, etc.

Please submit your proposal following the instructions on the conference website

Past events

Listening In: Conversations on Architectures, Cities and Landscapes 1700-1900

DATES: 13, 14 and 15 September 2023

ORGANISED BY: Group Hultzsch + Delbeke chair

Who do we listen to when we write histories of architectures, cities, and landscapes? How many women authors can we find among our sources? How many of them are cited by those whose research we read? We argue that women and other marginalised groups have always been part of conversations on architectures, cities, and landscapes - but we have not had the space to listen to them. This conference is an invitation to reconstruct such conversations, real, imagined, and metaphorical ones, taking place in the 18th and 19th centuries, in any region, in order to diversify the ways we write histories. Taking the art of conversation, integral as both practice and form to the period in Western thought, and repurposing it to dismantle the exclusivity of historiography, this conference calls for contributions which bring women into dialogue with others. 

We invite papers on conversations that grapple with hierarchies and inequalities, incorporating asymmetrical power relationships while taking care not to gloss over the struggle, pain, and conflict often occurring in these situations. Papers should highlight at least one protagonist identifying as a woman, and are encouraged to also listen to

  • persons marginalised because of their race, class, religion, sexual orientation, or else,
  • so-called ‘canonical’ figures, both architects and critics as well as those from other professions, disciplines, or domains,
  • individuals from different geographical regions, including those affected by the violence of imperialism and colonialism.

Keynote lectures

Prof Mabel O. Wilson, GSAPP, Columbia University. 
Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, a Professor in African American and African Diasporic Studies, and the Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) 

Prof Jane Rendell, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. 
Professor in Critical Spatial Practice, and co-founder of the MA Situated Practice. 

More information here:

Group Anne Hultzsch
Department of Architecture / gta
ETH Zurich

HIL D 72.2
Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5
8093 Zurich