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Title: Women architects in West and East Berlin 1949-1969 : reconstructing the difference : a contribution to Berlin building history and knowledge about women architects' conditions of professionalization
Author: Droste, Christiane
ISNI:       0000 0004 5348 3018
Awarding Body: University of Westminster
Current Institution: University of Westminster
Date of Award: 2014
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The history of women in architecture in Germany began more than a century ago. Although the earlier history of the pioneering women architects is well documented for Berlin, their contribution to the city's post-war rebuilding has so far received little appreciation. This is the case even though Berlin is the only city where the two German states' different social contexts and building cultures co-existed, and were in explicit competition. Asking why so little is known about women architects working at this time in West and East Berlin, this thesis provides an initial comprehensive picture of women's contribution to the re-building of Berlin, made by working freelance in the West and holding responsible positions in the East. At the same time, furnishing a second original contribution, the thesis explores obstacles limiting their design activity on both sides of the border. It explains to what extent similarities and differences in the women's education, role models, and conditions of professionalization determined design opportunities open to women architects. The research framework is a situational analysis, considering the different social contexts as natural environment, the culture of the architectural profession as social environment, and women architects' limited participation as problem situation. Feminist and gender sensitive theory and methods reveal the interplay of obstacles to women architects' participation. Bourdieu's theory of a State Nobility reinforces understanding of which aspects of the culture of the profession sustained the gender divisions in post-war architectural practice. Eight interview-based cases explain the different strategies of these women to succeed in the respective context. The analysis of their work and representation shows: women architects in the West remained marginalised during these two decades, and despite explicit political support for women in engineering professions, their more integrated colleagues in the East also failed to surpass the glass ceiling. Assembling detailed information about and from these eight women, the cases support equality-oriented documentation of a marginalized group in historical research. Given women architects' limited advancement until today, this thesis forms part of a Feminist Intervention into architectural history that needs to be continued.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available