We know Ms Merel Pit, of course, from her work as architecture journalist and as a talented writer. She was part of the De Meester 2016 jury, along with Fritz van Dongen, Arjan Knoester and Hans Lensvelt; the memorable event of De Meester award rewarded Alex de Jong. With pleasure and confidence we now support her in launching a new architecture magazine called A.zine. She has seen – and she’s right – that we are approaching the end of an era in which the printed word is no longer the most important source of information and in which increasingly the digital realm is dominating communications. In addition, our perceptions of society will soon be formed solely by: the world versus the point of contact through which that world comes into our lives.

The big-name architects of the International Style enthusiastically saw the world as their domain, though in fact they produced a European style architecture for export. Today, the world really is at our feet – or better said: in our hands, literally with our mobiles and laptops, and figuratively because all information, news and communications is easily accessed in real time. We already feel at home in this realm, whether it’s only for a moment or long-term. It has become the place where we make our choices about what parts of the endless stream of information should enter into our world. With the changing form and speed of communications, our view of the world is also changing. Major issues like war and peace, religion and politics, eco-systems and economics, solidarity and exclusion – these are being re-evaluated. This is reflected in every area, and so too in architecture and urban planning. It is appropriate to look at our discipline from the perspective of changing times and from the many different perspectives that there are. This can best be done by those who are familiar with the speed and versatility of digital media and those who are not misled by search engines and their reinforcement of our existing beliefs. Preordained results are much less interesting than results showing diversity and new insights.

Merel has asked FGF specifically to support the Ms. Architect column in the magazine. This is a difficult issue, since merely distinguishing a column as such delineates a distinction between an architect and a female architect – a distinction that many women, not only in this profession, prefer not to highlight. Yet within our profession, there are strikingly few female architects who have been recognized for their work. On the contrary, often their work is ‘mistakenly’ ascribed to male architects. Merel has a point, once again.

If indeed 50% of the architecture students at Dutch universities are female, then it is time to demand a piece of the publicity pie. It’s time for Ms. Architect to stand up in proud and be acknowledged.

 

 

Prof. Dikkie Scipio

for FGF

 

3rd quarter 2019