All Fuksas Up

Architects rally behind Doriana Fuksas after prize snub

Architects are rallying behind Doriana Fuksas after a prize snub. Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas are pictured here. (Image via VOW)

This month two Italian architecture activist groups disseminated a petition demanding the Istituto Nazionale di Architettura (IN/ARCH) include architect Doriana Fuksas in a lifetime achievement award that was recently bestowed on Massimiliano Fuksas, her partner in work and life. The groups, RebelArchitette and Voices of Women Architects (VOW), posted the petition on December 12. At press time, the petition, a publicly-accessible Google spreadsheet with names verified through Sign Here, had garnered just shy of 500 signatures. Doriana and Massimiliano’s names appear at the top, followed closely by the likes of MoMA architecture curator Paola Antonelli, and the architects Toshiko Mori and Denise Scott Brown. Also included are lead organizers Louise Braverman, Caroline James, Arielle Assouline-Lichten, and Francesca Perani.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

Dear Amedeo Schiattarella, President of the Istituto Nazionale di Architettura Region Lazio, and Andrea Margaritelli, President of the Istituto Nazionale di Architettura,

We are writing on behalf of Doriana Fuksas, as we understand that she was overlooked in the selection process of the Premio alla Carriera Architettura. Doriana and Massimiliano are equal partners. We are calling for equal recognition for equal work.

We are a diverse group from around the world. We lead our own firms, are directors of schools, are award-winning architects, journalists, and professors.

This past May at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, some of us came together as a Flash Mob in the Giardini during the preview days of the Venice Biennale as part of Voices of Women Architects — VOW Architects. The Flash Mob is a peaceful gathering of individuals asking for a common goal. In this case it’s equal rights and respect for all members of our community. Organizers included Martha Thorne, Louise Braverman, Francesca Perani, Farshid Moussavi, Toshiko Mori, Caroline Bos, Benedetta Tagliabue, Odile Decq, Caroline James and Atxu Amann. We read a manifesto in the Giardini to hundreds of men and women who were there to rally in support towards a change in the Architecture profession.

The work continues. Today, with other groups, we are supporting the initiative of RebelArchitette: “Time for 50” – Time for Equality. We are looking at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 for gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.

When we read last week in the news that Massimiliano Fuksas has received the Premio alla Carriera Architettura, we were stunned that the prize did not include Doriana Fuksas. Doriana and Massimiliano are equal partners. It’s important to correct the record now so that young architects can look up to their incredible work and know the whole story — that the work is strong because of joint creativity and collaboration.

We are signing in solidarity to show our support for the tremendous achievements of Doriana and Massimiliano, and ask that you amend the Premio alla Carriera Architettura now to recognize Doriana and Massimiliano, together. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Doriana and Massimiliano launched Fuksas in 1985. Recently, the duo worked on the New Milan Trade Fair, a convention center, as well as an eyepopping bi-conical theater and exhibition hall in Tbilisi, Georgia.

In the age of #MeToo and growing acknowledgment of entrenched sexism in architecture, the petition stands on the shoulders of recent attempts to dismantle structural barriers women in the field face at all levels. Attention to women’s recognition in architecture’s stratosphere extends back decades: Architectural Record reported that two of the Fuksa petition organizers, James and Assouline-Lichten, led a campaign to get the Pritzker Architecture Prize jury to give Scott Brown an equal share of the 1991 Pritzker awarded to her late husband and professional partner Robert Venturi.

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