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Raffaella Poletti on L’architetto fuori di sé
12 December, 2023
In the early months of 1982, at the height of Postmodernism, a very atypical book was published in Italy, which was L’architetto fuori di sé, by Marta Lonzi. This is a book on architecture, but published by a feminist publisher; it is a critique on the practice of architectural design at the time, but written as a testimony. This resulted from intertwining the (feminist) practice of self-awareness with the study of the history of architecture. Here, Lonzi displays her own experience as an architect and a woman, dissociating herself from the analyses and propositions being formulated by contemporary architectural culture.
Her vision was far from an architecture understood as an expression of the will to power: she thought of architecture rather as a meeting of subjectivities, those – individual or collective – of the client or commissioning body and of the designer: “A good architect is not one who creates new architecture, who designs unprecedented solutions, but the one who succeeds in arousing in people thoughts and feelings that otherwise would not be consciously expressed”.
Thanks to circulation through the international circuits of feminism, the publication of Lonzi’s book earned her invitations to speak abroad, first in Strasbourg, then Nancy, Berlin, and finally Spain (La Coruña, Malaga, Toledo). Years later, Pasquala Campos de la Michelena, the first, and for many years the only, female Professor of Architectural Design in Spain, introducing the volume Mujeres: Espacio y arquitectura (1999) addressed a special thanks to Lonzi, “por su apoyo a mi proceso de integracion de la actividad profesiónal con la comprensión feminista del mundo”.