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Amy Perkins on Architects Who Make a Fuss
24 August, 2021
Charlotte and Torsten ran the Parity Group on my arrival at the ETH with sharpness, clarity, drive, and an intoxicating quick wit. My first meeting in 2019 was energising – to hear a group of people discuss how to combat the homogeneity of the department in real terms, whilst listening to the concerns of each of its members, without much of a hint of defeatism or fatigue or woe – was enthralling. Despite being five years into the same discussion, and facing the same problems, discussions, and excuses.
This article uses its form and structure as a way of both critiquing the department, and critiquing the accepted norms of academic writing. As they mention in the article: “Reclaiming space in the discipline by rewriting history, not in the way it has been recorded but also in the way that it continues to be formed, means more than just inserting women into an established canon. It requires a total reconstruction of the conceptual and methodological frameworks that underpin it.”
Following in the tradition of Jane Rendell’s ‘Site Writing’, they use their own experiences, a fictitious future narrative, and ‘archive’ documents from the Parity Group to situate the critique within different emotional, personal, temporal, and spatial contexts. At times it is funny, others frustrating, offering a stark reminder of the slow institutional pace of change.