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Emma Letizia Jones on The Printed and the Built
2 April, 2021
This book is a veritable showcase of some of the best female architectural writers working today. Edited (and with contributions by) the great Mari Hvattum and Anne Hultzsch, it also features contributions by Beatriz Colomina, Mari Lending, Léa-Catherine Szacka, Petra Brouwer, Irene Cheng, Wallis Miller, Barbara Penner, and many more, both men and women. The premise of the book is ingenious: each writer has penned a short essay around a ‘printed place’ (or thing) of the 19th century, such as the pamphlet, the column, the cartoon, the cablegram, or the street-view. The idea has been to engage with architectural culture in print in the first era of mass-printing: the 19th century. For me, there are not enough sources that look at the architectural history of the 19th century expressly through its printed artefacts, which is also what I am doing in my own current research. For this reason, the book has been a really invaluable precedent, while also demonstrating what a rich architectural writing community of women has flourished in recent years. For me it is also gratifying to see that women architectural writers don’t have to content themselves with writing about ‘women’s topics and women’s histories’ but can simply just be accepted as historians turning their eye to all subjects, since in fact we know there is no such thing as ‘women’s topics’ to start with. I think that is an aspect that all my examples share, and one that is very important to me.