BWAF Bookshelf, June 2014

From the BWAF Bookshelf

June 2014 Bookshelf

From left: History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000; Szenasy, Design Advocate: Writings and Talks by Metropolis Magazine Editor Susan S. Szenasy; Feminist Practices: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture.

The June 2014 Bookshelf includes an anthology of research and discourse on the intersection of feminism and women’s position in architecture (published nearly three years ago but undoubtedly, still relevant); an ambitious and rich tome on the past 600 years of designing objects and visuals; and a compendium of the important work contributed by writer and editor, Susan Szenasy.

Feminist Practices: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture

Edited by Lori A. Brown; contributions by Meghal Ayra, Meta Brenzuma, Lilian Chee, Katherine Clarke, Ronit Eisenbach, Özlem Erdogdu Erkarslan, Liza Fior, Cynthia I. Hammond, Rebecca Krefting, Kyna Leski, Janet McGaw, Margarita McGrath, Julieanna Preston, Jane Rendell, Kim Steele, Despina Stratigakos, Meghan Walsh and Lois Weinthal.

Ashgate (December 1, 2011)

This book argues that it is vital for all architectural students and practitioners to be exposed to a diversity of contemporary architectural practices, as this might provide a first step into broadening awareness and transforming architectural engagement. It considers the relationships between feminist methodologies and the various approaches toward design and their impact upon our understanding and relationship to the built environment. In doing so, this collection challenges two conventional ideas: firstly, the definition of architecture and secondly, what constitutes a feminist practice.

This collection of up-and-coming female architects and designers use a wide range of local and global examples of their work to question different aspects of these two conventional ideas. While focusing on feminist perspectives, the book offers insights into many different issues, concerns and interpretations of architecture, proposing through these types of engagement, architecture can become more culturally, politically and environmentally relevant. This ‘next generation’ of architects claim feminism as their own and through doing so, help define what feminism means and how it is evolving in the 21st century.

History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000

Edited by Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber

Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture/Yale University Press (December 10, 2013)

Spanning six centuries of global design, this far-reaching survey is the first to offer an account of the vast history of decorative arts and design produced in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and the Islamic world, from 1400 to the present. Meticulously documented and lavishly illustrated, the volume covers interiors, furniture, textiles and dress, glass, graphics, metalwork, ceramics, exhibitions, product design, landscape and garden design, and theater and film design. Divided into four chronological sections, each of which is subdivided geographically, the authors elucidate the evolution of style, form, materials, and techniques, and address vital issues such as gender, race, patronage, cultural appropriation, continuity versus innovation, and high versus low culture.

Editor Pat Kirkham has contributed important works on the relationship between gender and design, including Women Designer in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference (Yale University Press, 2002); The Gendered Object (Manchester University Press, 1996); and A View from the Interior: Women and Design (with Judy Attfield, The Women’s Press Ltd, 1989). Editor Susan Weber is the Founder and Director of the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture.

Szenasy, Design Advocate: Writings and Talks by Metropolis Magazine Editor Susan S. Szenasy

By Susan Szenasy

Metropolis Books (March 31, 2014)

For more than 30 years, Susan S. Szenasy’s voice has resonated as an editor-in-chief, writer, teacher, moderator, filmmaker and lecturer. In all of these roles, her advocacy for ethical, sustainable, human-centered design has been her guiding light. Known for decades as the editor-in-chief (and now publisher) of Metropolis magazine, on of the most influential design magazines in the world, Szenasy has led the charge on issues ranging from universal design to emerging trends of consumer excess, from design for disassembly to the recovery of Lower Manhattan’s communities after 9/11, from design education to the social and environmental impacts of the buildings and products we manufacture. This volume–the first published collection of Szenasy’s writings–brings together editorials, reviews, stories, profiles, industry event presentations, classroom lectures, commencement addresses and more. Szenasy’s honest, thought-provoking and often challenging opinions are present in all of these pieces. So, too, is her ongoing commitment to informed dialogue, which has influenced and guided generations of design professionals, architects, journalists, retailers, manufacturers, legislators, educators and the next generation of designers.

Excerpts of the descriptions were obtained from the publishers’ and booksellers’ websites (book titles are linked to sources as well as points of purchase).

*Photo Credits: Photos were obtained from publishers’ websites.

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