Female Agency in Architecture before 1850

Fachsemester (063-0855-21)
Veranstalter: Professur Delbeke
Dozierende: Dr. Sigrid de Jong and Chair Delbeke


This History Research Studio aims at exploring the crucial role women played in the birth, life and afterlife of buildings in the early modern period. We will study female patronage, authorship, and criticism in architecture. With a focus on female agency this studio examines the emergence of the role of women in architecture and architectural theory, in a period of great economic, social and cultural change: 1450-1850.

Students are invited to identify and investigate specific case studies that pertain to this theme. Various types of sources will be adopted to examine and understand female agency, including drawings, publications, built artefacts, correspondence, travelogues, diaries, and so on. The Studio will teach students to be both historically and critically competent. By combining different historiographical approaches, students will develop the skills to articulate their research questions, carry out appropriate primary and secondary study and write a complete paper. At the same time, invited guests and members of the Chair will contribute to the discussion by presenting subject matter that actively relates to the theme of the Studio. Touching upon precise examples, these interventions search for, test and highlight the limits of historical narratives.


Weekly group meetings and individual supervision by the chair members will help students in academic research and writing. The weekly meetings will be held on Tuesdays in the afternoon, with the first three focussed on Content and Method, the following eight on Writing and Feedback.

Dates of group meetings:
Tuesdays 21/09; 28/09; 5/10; 12/10; 19/10; 2/11; 9/11; 16/11; 23/11; 30/11; 7/12

Individual work:
Wednesdays 22/09; 29/09; 6/10; 13/10; 20/10; 3/11; 10/11; 17/11; 24/11; 1/12; 8/12

There will be a midterm student crit on 2 November, and a final student crit in the week of 13 December, both with invited guests.

Announcing your interest:

The Fachsemester will be presented at the same time as all design courses on Wednesday September 8, 2021 between 13:00-16:00. Places for this Subject Semester are limited, and the enrollment does not take place through the D-ARCH website; to enroll for this Research Studio ‘Female Agency in Architecture before 1850’ at the Chair Delbeke please send an e-mail to Sigrid de Jong (sigrid.dejong@gta.arch.ethz.ch) with a statement of motivation of max. 300 words, including a few lines on a possible research topic.

Deadline for application is Wednesday, September 8, 2021. You will receive a message on your acceptance for the Fachsemester by Thursday, September 9, 2021, 14.00h. This means students who are not accepted can then still choose a design class for HS 2021.

A student can only register once for a Subject Semester during the Master studies.

For more information you can contact Sigrid de Jong: sigrid.dejong@gta.arch.ethz.ch