7 April 2022 -

This week sees the launch of our new seminar series Hidden Histories: Gender in Design. The theme to begin the series is ‘Gender in Design Histories: Historiography and Methodology’. DHS Ambassador Alexandra Banister meets Monica Tuşinean, a doctorate student at the Technische Universität Berlin, to further discuss her research.

Don’t forget you can sign up to the talk – taking place on Thursday 7th April, 7.30pm BST – for free via Eventbrite:

DHS: What is your background and how did you develop an interest in design history?

MT: As an architect, design and design history have always been integral parts of my education and interests. The realisation that certain essential contributors had been systemically marginalized and overlooked in architecture design history emerged much later in my career, as I continued my research in the field, and started to evaluate my own position within the profession and formulate a critique of the established narratives that dominate the architectural discourse.

What does your research focus on?

My research focuses on transformation strategies as tools toward a more sustainable architectural practice. I am currently working on my doctorate at the TU Berlin, which poses a few methodological challenges as it employs a design-driven approach. The overarching theme of my doctoral research is an ecologically and culturally sustainable approach to the industrial ruins of the former "eastern block", particularly in Romania, which ties into the wider conversation about the adaptive re-use of existing architectures.

Your talk is part of a wider seminar series on Hidden Histories: Gender in Design, how does this apply to your work?

The feminist spatial practices and theories mentioned in my contribution have formed an underlying current to my work on transformation processes, particularly as I developed an increasingly critical approach to orthodox, or conservative architectural approaches. Especially in questions of adaptive reuse and preservation, the aspect of formlessness and critical care (both established themes in feminist architectural discourse) have been elementary. More interestingly, however, is that these concepts are met with the most resistance from peers and advisers, which tells me that these neuralgic ideas are the ones worth pursuing. As a teacher and lecturer at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, I am also weaving these insights into my and my students’ discussions on architecture, in order to widen our collective perspective on the profession.

Tell us more about an interesting design you have discovered as part of your research.

While preparing for this seminar, I haven’t as much discovered a singular design project as a plethora of practices and offices, ranging from muf architecture/art, an artistic and architectural practice that weaves on feminist theory in their work, to artists like Jennifer Bloomer, whose work was seminal to feminist design practices but which has been widely overlooked by most architects.

For more information, follow Monica Tusinean: @monica_tusinean


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