Texts and Annotations from 1977 to 2021


Companion Text Contact zones Cultivated land Domesticity Feminism Gender Shared space Travel Ways of feeling Writing

Publication Types

Autobiography Book Fiction Novel

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Deborah Levy
Elif Shafak
Nan Shepherd
Paul B. Preciado
Virginie Despentes

Selected Bibliography


Published on 6 January 2023 by
Women Writing Architecture

[{"page_number":"2","note":"The book of the first encounter was chosen by Helen Thomas, a very meaningful book to her. Without being a mountain lover, all readers of The Living Mountain are inevitably seduced by Nan Shepherd's words.","endnote":false},{"page_number":"3","note":"Alicia beautifully describes the poetry and physical experience of the book, the emotional and spatial dimension of Nan's walk in the Cairngorm Mountains. The way Nan lives nature in a Gaia understanding of it explicitly echoes a contemporary discourse on architecture in our time of change and anthropocentric shift. \r\n\r\n\r\nThe discussion Helen refers to below involved the notion of custodianship, the idea that we do not own things but that we are the custodians of the future. We are responsible for our world now and for the future. We have the responsibility to care and make sure it can be perpetual and consistent. As did the many people working on the land, in the Cairngorms or high valleys in Switzerland organizing themselves together to maintain the landscape, what also represents national identity. The issue is very architectural. \r\n\r\n\r\nThe book speaks also about ways how one can understand a place of architecture, a site of architecture. It\u2019s not something that can be measured in terms of monetary value, or humanity value in the sense of a place for human, but a place that has more subtle qualities that are valuable. Nan Shepherd frames some ways of thinking: what is valuable? What is beautiful?","endnote":false},{"page_number":"4","note":"Nan Shepherd\u2019s figure is depicted on Scottish banknotes with the citation: \u201cIt\u2019s a grand thing, to get leave to live\u201d. She delivers a nice message of gratefulness, on how we can perceive the world each time in a different way, something we can do over and over again.\r\n\r\n\r\nReal Estate and The Island of Missing Trees were challenging choices of books for WWA. These are two very popular, mainstream biographic novels. \u2013What do these books have to do with architecture? Our discussions proved to be very fruitful. Both authors use polyphonic structures to describe places and characters. The writings are combined with sophisticated literary tricks, that blend into the texts, sometimes in an intriguing way, which actively speak about highly politicized subjects.\r\n\r\n\r\nThey touch on issues of transcultural identity, of many places where stories are intertwined in time. They directly confront historicity, the idea that there is one single linear History with a capital \"H\". They acknowledge many things happening in another understanding of time. (2) see endnotes on the last page.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThese two books make a strong analogy with WWA, a space for multiplicity of voices, acting as an agent in mechanisms of change and the construction of knowledge.","endnote":false},{"page_number":"5","note":"We discussed how the detailed description of interiors of the Tavern in the book of Elif Shafak, emotionally charged describe a safe place. The place has architectural qualities that stand out from the icons of architectural history, able to dissolve entirely boundaries. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nDeborah Levy's narrative is regularly interrupted by citations from literature. She looks at places from the perspective of a writer, observing in different ways. Places are almost annoyingly detailly described, like theatrical stage sets, in a completely imaginary way and outside the reality of the world. In some ways, she brings us back to our own bourgeoisie. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nTesto Junkie, eye opener! \u2013 we had a cross generational conversation about it. The book introduces an all-new way of thinking about gender. How gender is a constructed idea, fully artificial which can be recreated through chemical, and drugs. How we define ourselves in the physical world, our struggles through the prison of identity policies. How we should shape our identity being living bodies struggling to live on earth. We discussed how Paul Preciado writing are very much physical and visceral which reminded us of Hilary Mantel, who writes very much about the physical world, in order to care across theoretical thinking.","endnote":false},{"page_number":"6","note":"Laura Evans together with Nana Biamah-Ofosu were invited to the 5th A-B-I-L session. Laura came to choose this book directly through architecture, how she describes it in the annotation. They used the book in a very direct and instrumental way to develop a project. How do you make an architecture which reflects a very strict patriarchal, high- hierarchal catholic in a post- colonial situation. How do you make the opposite of that? \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHow the architecture explains these social theses, the social organisation of things? \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWe discussed the reading of \r\narchitecture through the lens of the complex characters playing in Adichie\u2019s novel: the different figures representing the complexity of human conditions. Using the book as an instrument was a fruitful exercise to stretch the ability of architecture to establish order and power as well as to understand what role architecture has played in post-colonialism. Fiction is a place which gives tools to question what architecture practice don\u2019t necessary defy.","endnote":false},{"page_number":"7","note":"Achille makes a very conscious reference to Chinua Achebe The African Trilogy: Things Fall Apart No Longer at Ease Arrow of God. Starting the book with the description of things falling part, situates the writing in the long tradition of African history reminding us that independence celebrations couldn\u2019t come from Architecture: they came from fiction.","endnote":false},{"page_number":"9","note":"King Kong Theorie has been chosen as the subject of our next A-B-I-L session...","endnote":false},{"page_number":"15","note":"________________________________________ \r\n\r\n\r\n 1. A-B-I-L resonates very much to me with a conversation I had with Soline Nivet, architect of studies and critic of built environments. She evoked the question of what women do to thought? \u2013Que font les femmes a\u0300 la pense\u0301e?\u2013 out of the Pamphlet \"Philosophy or the art of nailing the beak to women\u201d written by Frederic Page\u0300s, and his friends of the association of the friends of Jean Baptiste Botul, a fictitious philosopher. The text proposes another version of the history of women and philosophy: the idea that women are not interested in thinking by weaving concepts in chains and speaking as a polemic moments. \r\n\r\n\r\n 2. A Pale View of Hills, first book of Kazuo Ishiguro was mentioned as another example of a double narration of double time. The story of a housewife remembering her experience living in UK\u2013 and Elif Shafak was certainly refering the novel of Orhan Pamuk My Name Is Red about the culture differences in Venise and Constantinople, the ways of producing art and what beauty meant. \r\n\r\n\r\n *Glossator These user-created, bespoke bibliographies are designed on to be useful for personal research and for sharing with students, colleagues and friends. In addition to simply emailing your Personal Collection list to yourself or others, it can also be produced as a PDF.","endnote":true},{"page_number":"8","note":"","endnote":false}]