Most people don’t consider how architecture is important to relationships. Good architecture helps you meet and get to know people. But what few people realize is that the stores, office buildings, and houses they live in are often designed to stop this from happening.
Why would architects want to design unhappy buildings? To push an agenda. The preachers of social justice have realized architecture’s significance and used it to subtly change our behavior, our values, and beliefs. They want to change how we interact, and that includes isolating people and destroying their relationships.
Changed Sex Roles
Ancient languages were infused with gender. Early people saw gender differences in everything around them. Gender became weaker and less important over time, until progressives erased gender completely. Today’s gender-neutral language inculcates a false belief that male and female are equal.
Sexes were distinct in architecture as well. The Greek Doric order, with its robust and austere proportions represented the man. The slim and decorative Ionic order represented the female. Designers emulated the inherent human roles they saw in the natural world.
But modern progressives decided that a person’s sex is just a construct of conditioning. They decided women are less useful to the economy as stay-at-home mothers and more productive in the workforce and as prodigious consumers. To change human roles they changed environmental expectations.
Just as modernists erased gender from language, they removed it from our buildings and made purely functional structure that did not speak to the sexes. Distinction is rarely made that correlates to the sexes: sturdy vs. slim, bare vs. adorned, dominant vs. subservient, geometric vs. whimsical.
“…it is necessary to understand the historic origins and enduring popular appeal of these binaries in order that we can dismantle them. The blurring of these spheres (of formal and informal economies, public and private space, core and periphery) is articulated especially clearly in… the household.” (Cities and Gender, Helen Jarvis, p. 24)
Feminists try to erase icons that promote “gender roles,” such as the “controversial” statue of a kissing couple at London’s St. Pancras Station. Heterosexual and masculine images are quickly disappearing, or “creepy” statues such as Marilyn Monroe in Chicago.
Today’s architecture pushes unnatural expectations. The Women’s Restroom Bill of 1987 mandated that men’s and women’s bathrooms be exactly the same, except what is necessary for biological differences. Before this, men’s bathrooms were communal and accommodated more people. Women’s restrooms placed toilets behind a lockable doors and had extra spaces for childcare, grooming, and resting.
But now men are forced to seclude themselves like women behind partitions, and the greater effort women need to groom themselves is not supported. The man’s restroom today is sexually insecure and the woman’s restroom makes women look sloppy.
Philip Johnson’s celebrated Glass House of 1949 made the home into an exhibitionist experience. Glass walls opened the bedroom to the world, a voyeuristic dream. Next to that, his Brick House placed the bed under churchy vaulted ceilings. Feminine textures and materials combined with a traditionally male structure to confuse gender.
Johnson’s homosexuality was recognized as the bedroom “became a queering of the cave into a vaulted chamber… Sadean pleasure palace.” (Betsky, 1997 p. 115) Such architects queered the definition of manliness by manipulating gender in their architecture.
One of the most emulated architects of modern times, Le Corbusier, sought to change how the family interacts. His iconic Schroeder House (1924) would “redefine family life, women’s rights and the responsibilities and to each other.” (Family Matters: The Schroder House, Gerrit Rietveld and Truus Schroder p.81) He made no distinction of whom certain spaces were for. Corbusier got rid of traditional feminine elements and shared family spaces to “give the impression of being alone, and if desired completely alone.” (Eilieen Gray)
Cobusier’s client Eileen Gray may have preferred to feel lonely, as she hopped from one lesbian relationship to the next, but it does not suit normal people. An emphasis on loneliness undermined families across the world.
In Thailand, traditional dwellings in clustered apartments around communal spaces for related family groups. These families themselves had more personal shared spaces. But Thailand’s modern house, influenced by modernism, has larger personal spaces and “no place for family gatherings.” (Thai House: Vernacular Heritage, Mariana Correia, 241)
Public spaces have traditionally been associated with male and private spaces with female. The removal of masculine in today’s public areas causes confusion of public and private functions.
As Roosh recently pointed out, clubs are increasingly becoming difficult places to meet girls. Clubs once had separate spaces for socializing, with appropriate lighting, sound levels, and seating arrangements. But now, music blares, women text, and individuals rub up against each other and don’t actually talk. Why did clubs change? The removal of the male from public architecture. Today’s club may make a woman feel “safe,” like she would at home.
Oppressive Feminism Isolates Men
Feminists increasingly demand to “feel safe” wherever they go. They demand that the world to conform to their crazy impulses.
Peter Eisenman’s Wexner Center of 1989 is one of the most successful examples of post-modern design. But feminists complain that it makes them feel unsafe. They complain that its unusual form allows hiding spots for potential rapists, un-sheltered outdoor pathways leave them exposed to rain, marble walkways are slick, outdoor areas are breezy, windows cause glare from the sun, and stairways are dark. For these reasons, feminist Kathryn Anthony says, “The building was designed from the perspective of an able-bodied male, without much sensitivity to the different kinds of people who actually use the building.” (Designing for Diversity…, Kathryn H. Anthony, p. 18)
Examples From History
Sex roles ought to be the norm, and exceptions can be accommodated in a separate space. Early European settlers in Australia wiped out the aboriginal jilmi which accommodated a single woman’s special needs. They thought it was “prison-like” to isolate single women away from everyone else. But it turned out this was important for social cohesion. Similarly, the Law of Moses set certain standards for women in the community. The community in those days did not bow down to their needs, but rather made a separate space to accommodate them.
Ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Oriental houses had separate areas for women and men. Englishman Robert Kerr outlined gender-specific organizations and functions for each room of a house. Emphasis was placed on the man as the leader of the household. The radial paths of garden paths at the Duke of Beaufort’s residence all converged on his dining chair. (see Gender Studies in Architecture…, Dorte Routledge, p. 135) Architecture reinforced healthy expectations of human interactions.
Today’s house assigns no hierarchy of gender to its rooms, which means women take over the entire house. By designing from a female frame, less emphasis is made on the diversity of the household, its hierarchy, or of the diversity and hierarchy of the community. If the man is lucky, he can have the garage for his “man-cave.” But along with the house, public and work spaces are overtaken and forced to serve the woman’s needs.
Early Irish natives were nomadic tribes who repeatedly dismantled and rebuilt their dwellings. Over time, construction of their tents became a ritual that symbolized the marriage of the owners. Then, as today, the dwellings were constructed by men and the interior furnished by women. This distinction made the tent ritualistically “a site of creation, separation, autonomy and mobility.” (Vernacuular Architecture in the 21st Century, Lindsay Asquith, p. 80) Both men and women had a role in architecture, but in proper and distinguished ways. Today, how many men are in control of the house they live in?
Such consideration must be made in today’s architecture. The public needs to recognize the gender manipulation and oppressive expectations pushed on them by their environment. Today’s push against traditional gendered architecture isolates men. Public spaces do not help men and women meet each other, because they suit the woman’s need to “feel safe.” Private spaces do not foster a harmonious family relationship because they manipulate the natural family hierarchy.
The presence of gender in architecture helps couples meet each other in public places and live happily in domestic places. Its removal and manipulation is pushing men and women apart.