Check out the A&B portal!

Women who designed the Czech Republic

07 of February '24

The figures and creative work of female architects are being restored to their proper place in the architectural canon of more countries. A website dedicated to Czech women creators active in the field of architecture and urban planning was recently launched. The online database includes their biographies, documentation of their most important projects and podcasts. A book dedicated to them is also planned.

Baza projektów czeskich architektek

Database of projects by Czech women architects

zenyvarchitekture.cz

At the end of 2023, the platform Women in Architecture: Architecture and Emancipation in the Czech Republic after 1945, a database and website. Until now, only a few Czech women architects were known to the public. The subject has received limited research attention, and a comprehensive overview of the biographies of women architects and their work is notably absent. The new online research catalog presents 50 of the planned 100 or so biographies of female architects, along with lists of their work, including a photo gallery showcasing their projects. Information includes Alena Šrámková, Eva Jiřična, Zdenka Nováková, Růžena Žertová, Vítězslava Rothbauerová, Daniela Fenclová, Marie Davidová, Jaromíra Šimoníková and many others. In addition, five podcasts are ready to listen to, and more are in development. The materials are available at zenyvarchitekture.cz

Zdenka M. Nováková - Dagmar Šestáková, Chemapol Investa, Prague, 1966-1970

Zdenka M. Nováková — Dagmar Šestáková, Chemapol Investa, Prague, 1966-1970

National Gallery in Prague

At the heart of the project was a question that reflected the authors' own experience, whether from practice or study: where do women architects disappear to, and why are they not visible in professional discourse and the architectural canon to the same extent as their male colleagues, despite the fact that the number of female graduates in the field is steadily growing? And also: who are these (un)visible women and what kind of work do they create?

Zdenka M. Nováková - Dagmar Šestáková, Chemapol Investa, Prague, 1966-1970

Zdenka M. Nováková — Dagmar Šestáková, Chemapol Investa, Prague, 1966-1970

National Gallery in Prague

Based on these questions, the main research planes were planned. The goal of the first, materialized mainly in the form of a database, was to try to shed light on the careers and work of selected female architects, many of whom still remain in the shadows. Following the example of the formation of women's history, the authors wanted to add to the architectural canon at least some of the most important female creators across the spectrum of their activities — from design practice to personal life. In doing so, they note that both „women's history” and the „biographical method” are seen as obsolete from the perspective of feminist theory, due to their conformist nature and the nature of preserving the foundations of conventional art history methods. Therefore, other studies have been devoted to the context of the architectural profession and the interpretation of specific topics using interdisciplinary methods and gender analyses. The results of these analyses will be included especially in the second part of the project, the monograph „Women in Architecture,” scheduled for publication in the spring of 2024.

Zdenka M. Nováková at the Academy of Fine Arts

Zdenka M. Nováková at the Academy of Fine Arts

Zdenka Nováková archive | NGP

We are especially grateful to the female architects who decided to collaborate with us on the project and shared their life stories, projects, advice and references with us. Currently, 10 biographies in English and 50 in Czech are available online, along with more than 230 projects. The database is still under construction and we will aim to develop the planned 100 biographies within this year. We also plan to add more texts and podcasts.

Helena Huber-Doudová

Růžena Žertová, portrait

Růžena Žertová, portrait

Brno City Museum collection | NGP

The database and website are an integral part of a comprehensive research project to map and interpret women's creativity in architecture in the context of socio-political changes in the Czech Republic. The project places a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary connections and topics such as the practice of the architectural profession and work-life balance. It portrays women across the spectrum of their roles, including architects, theorists, historians, designers, as well as government officials and mediators.

Jaromíra Šimoníková, relaxing facility with sundial, university campus, Prague-Suchdol, 1966

Jaromíra Šimoníková, relaxing facility with sundial, university campus, Prague-Suchdol, 1966

photo: Zdenka Vronská, Jaromíra Šimoníková archive | NGP

The research was made possible with the support of the Czech Science Foundation and was conducted in cooperation between the National Gallery in Prague (NGP) and the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague (UMPRUM). Authors of research and texts are Helena Huber-Doudová, Klára Brůhová, Petra Hlaváčková, Šárka Malošíková, Nikola Zahrádková and Barbora Řepková.

Biografie architektek

Biographies of female architects

zenyvarchitekture.cz

Kacper Kępiński

The vote has already been cast

INSPIRATIONS