Refocus Feminine Principles in Architecture & Let’s Save the Day!


In many early civilizations in Africa, Europe and America, women were the home builders. In fact, today the Maasai Huts in Tanzania are still built by the women of this tribe. Due to the Maasai’s nomadic lifestyle their huts are temporary, created using natural elements collected from the surrounding area (including cow dung), and are usually round or oval in shape. In these 3 x 5 m huts, households socialise, sleep, cook and eat in. An incredibly practical and resourceful use of space.

According to a socio-historic analysis done by Coppola Pignatelli in 1979, men, as the original hunters and warriors, consider space very differently to women, who are the original home-makers. Where men would generally see space as unlimited, women have a practical and resourceful connection to it. Pignatelli suggested that this could be why women tend to design with function in mind working their way back to form, while men design with form first.

Does this mean using ‘manly’ principles in architecture is wrong? Not at all. In fact, some of the world’s most beautiful and most inspiring buildings were designed by Gaudí and Le Corbusier (men) using manly principles. However, in a time where global warming is threatening our natural resources and habitats, using more feminine principles in architecture could solve a universal problem.

Here are some of the femine principles in architecture and examples of how they could present themselves practically in a design:

Buildings that are more user-orientated

What would be beneficial to the health, happiness, and wellness of the occupants of a building? Asking these questions and acting on the answers obtained lead to buildings that have an undeniable connection with nature, ample natural lighting, and excellent airflow.

Buildings that are more functional, flexible, and holistic in layout and purpose

Why should a space be used for just one thing? Fixed, formal and one-dimensional? These are things that don’t leave any room for change. And if there is one thing the Pandemic has taught us is that change is inevitable. Our buildings should help us adapt. The work-from-home office that doubles as a spare bedroom is a great example of this.

Buildings that are more organic and ergonomic in design

In designing organically, an architect can create buildings that make better use of a particular site’s vistas and natural resources. The ergonomics of a building, which encompasses its efficiency and comfort ties in with this. Because why can’t a bathroom be a place of nurturing too?

At Veld Architects, we are a team of women. We are also a team of thinkers and dreamers with a passion for nature. Yes, we design with function at the forefront because a user-orientated approach to design is how we design #healthyhomes. However, our homeowners are not the only client we listen to when we design. We also listen to nature and value its input above all else. Because if it is good for nature, it will be good for humanity.

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Love, Gill

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