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Fuksas blasts Italian institute’s lifetime award for omitting ‘equal partner’ Doriana

Fuksas
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Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas has criticised Italy’s national institute of architects for failing to recognise his wife and business partner Doriana after it awarded a lifetime achievement award solely to him

An open letter by campaigners, backed by both Studio Fuksas partners, has called on the president of the Istituto Nazionale di Architettura’s Lazio regional branch Amedeo Schiattarella to award ‘equal recognition for equal work.’

Massimiliano Fuksas was awarded the prestigious Premio alla Carriera Architettura lifetime achievement prize by the Lazio regional branch of Italy’s Istituto Nazionale di Architettura late last month. But the accolade did not recognise Doriana who the 74-year-old architect has worked with since 1985.

The letter criticising Doriana’s omission, which has been signed Rem Koolhaas and Bjarke Ingels among others (see signatories below), stated: ‘When we read that Massimiliano Fuksas has received the [award], 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.’

In response, Schiattarella acknowledged Massimiliano and Doriana as representing the ‘same identity, one signature’ but said the award – which was for a life story rather than architectural output – recognised Massimiliano’s career which started 15 years before he started working with Doriana.

Schiattarella said: ‘The story is always a personal story. Yes the architecture is done by both of them now, and at this moment Doriana has a stronger role than Massimiliano in working on the architecture, but the career of a person is not the career of an office.’

He continued: ‘The need for an equal treatment for men and women is absolutely correct. I am afraid of what happens in the world of architecture – there are few women architects and few opportunities for women.

‘But we are not speaking of something I can share, I cannot give a prize to Massimiliano and Doriana if he started 15 years earlier. It’s another story, another career, but at the moment their careers have become the same one.’

Among the other names on the letter’s 150-strong list – which remains open for additional signatures – is Denise Scott Brown, architect and founder of Venturi Scott Brown & Associates. Scott Brown was famously excluded from winning the 1991 Pritzker Prize, which was awarded solely to Robert Venturi.

Other signatories include Liz Walder, academic at Trinity St David University in Swansea; Francesca Perani, architect founder of Bergamo-based RebelArchitette, and Denise Scott Brown.

Responding to the president’s remarks, Walder said: ‘When you look at all the awards across the globe for both people and architecture they are based in a tradition that has been given to white male mid-60s architects, we are currently in a period of change and this is just one nick in the coin of change.

‘It may be that they have made a decision and they don’t want to go back on it. I would think Doriana was working equally before she met Massimiliano – I can see both sides of the argument. But it’s always difficult for an organisation to backtrack.

Walder added: ‘They could make a change in their procedures about who they award to. If they are unable to backtrack it could be that moving forward they could consider changing their policies.’

The open letter is backed by the campaign groups RebelArchitette and Voices of Women Architects, which five years ago launched a petition demanding the Pritzker Prize committee retrospectively recognise Scott Brown for her work in Robert Venturi’s 1991 prize. 

The campaign group – founded by Caroline James who also signed the latest open letter – also held a flash mob protest in collaboration with French architect Odile Decq at this year’s Venice Biennale against ‘prejudices’ towards women in architecture. 

The full 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, many 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.

Signed:

 

Doriana Fuksas , Architect & Founder, Studio Fuksas, Rome, Italy
Massimiliano Fuksas , Architect & Founder, Studio Fuksas, Rome, Italy
Denise Scott Brown , Architect & Founder, Venturi Scott Brown & Associates, Philadelphia, USA
Paola Antonelli , Senior Curator, Architecture & Design and Director of Research & Development, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Francesca Perani , Architect & Founder, Rebel Architette , Bergamo, Italy
Louise Braverman , Architect & Founder, Louise Braverman Architect, New York, USA
Caroline James , Associate AIA, Founder, VOW Architects, Helsinki, Finland
Arielle Assouline-Lichten , Architect & Founder, Slash Projects, New York, USA
Olayinka Dosekun Creative Director and Founder, Studio Contra Mundum, Lagos, Nigeria
Doreen Adengo , Architect & Founder, Adengo Architecture, Kampala, Uganda
Gisue Hariri Architect & Co-Founder, Hariri & Hariri Architecture, New York, USA
Alia Bengana Architect & Founder, Alia Bengana, Paris, France
Milena Zindović Architect, Žene u arhitekturi, Belgrade, Serbia
Alysa Nahmias Director and Founder, Ajna Films, Los Angeles, USA
Lia Gil Antunes Architect, Women in Architecture / Mulheres na Arquitectura, Covilhã, Portugal
Liz Walder, Academic, Trinity St David University, Swansea, UK
Rem Koolhaas, OMA, Holland
Inés Moisset Arquitecta, Un día / una arquitecta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Carolina Quiroga , Arquitect & Professor, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad
Arquitectura, Diseño & Urbanismo
Joana Pestana Lages , Architect, Women in Architecture / Mulheres na Arquitectura, Lisbon, Portugal
Domenica Bona , Creative Director, Researcher DOA, Rebel Architette , Rome, Italy
Patrícia Santos Pedrosa , Architect, Researcher and Professor, Women in Architecture /Mulheres na Arquitectura, Lisbon, Portugal
Martin Carranza , Arquitecto, Un día / una arquitecta, La Plata, Argentina
Toshiko Mori , Architect/Professor, Toshiko Mori Architect PLLC / Harvard GSD, New York / Cambridge, USA
María Cecilia Kesman , Arquitecta y Docente, Un día / una arquitecta, Córdoba, Argentina
Mariola Peretti , Architect & Founder, StudioPeretti, Bergamo, Italy
Igor Maglica , Web Editor, We Arch, Milan, Italy
Daniela Arias Laurino , Arquitecta, Un día / una arquitecta, Granada, España
Florencia Marciani , Arquitecta, Un día / una arquitecta, Córdoba, Argentina
Caterina Franchini , Coordinator, MOMOWO, Women’s creativity since the Modern
Movement, Turin, Italy
Gabu Heindl , Architect & Founder, GABU Heindl Architektur, Wien, Austria
Laura Belotti , Architect, Rebel Architette , Bergamo, Italy
Caterina Pilar Palumbo , Architect, Thecaterpilar studio / Rebel Architette , Bergamo, Italy
Aurelie Sabatier , Architect, Maps Architecture, Paris, Italy
SIlvia Nicoli , Architect, Studio Nicoli, Carrara, Italy
Massimiliano Nocchi , Architect, nocchi architetti, Massa, Italy
Maddalena Faria Blanc Tavares , Architect, Madalena Tavares, Bergamo, Italy
Martina Ottaviano , Architect, IOSA studio / Rebel Architette , Bari, Italy
Davide Bertugno , Architect, IOSA studio, Bari, Italy
Giuseppina Paterno , Architect, studio Biro / Rebel Architette , Bari, Italy
Ilaria Pedrini , Architect, Operastudio, Milan, Italy
Chiara Raffaini , Architect, CDCR studio, Bergamo, Italy
Marcello Belviso , Architect, IOSA studio, Bari, Italy
Anna Serafini , Architect, studio Serafini / Rebel Architette , Bergamo, Italy
Matteo Ciavarella , Architect, IOSA studio, Bari, Italy
Mariapia Fioriello , Architect, IOSA studio, Bari, Italy
Antonio Losito , Architect, IOSA studio, Bari, Italy
Elena Fabrizi , Architect, studio Elena Fabrizi / Rebel Architette , Carrara, Italy
Valentina Vacca , Architect, IOSA studio, Bari, Italy
Marta Brambilla , Architect & Blogge, Archinoia / Rebel Architette , Milan, Italy
Lucia Paci , Architect, Operastudio, Milan, Italy
Erica Furlan , Architect, Operastudio, Milan, Italy
Eugenio Bruno , Architect, Operastudio, Milan, Italy
Marco di Nallo , Architect, PlusUltra studio, Milan, Italy
Chiara Girolami , Architect, PlusUltra studio, Milan, Italy
Giuseppe Tagliabue , Architect, PlusUltra studio, Milan, Italy
Carlos De Carvalho , Architect, CDCR studio, Bergamo, Italy
Alessia Ciregia , Architect, studioAC, Montignoso, Italy
Andres Ramirez , Global Content Provider & Founder, Plane-Site, Berlin, Germany
Marie Law Adams , Founder and Architect, Landing Studio, Boston, USA
Stephanie Gelb , Architect & Founder, Stephanie Gelb Architecture + Planning, New York, USA
Paola Zellner , Architect/Professor/Board Advisor, Virginia Tech / International Archive of Women in Architecture Center, Blacksburg, USA
Marcus Vinicius Arnhold , Architect, Arquitetura National, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Chiara Rizzi , Computer Science, Consultant, Praga, Czech Republic
Cinzia Bigoni , Architect, Studio Cinzia Bigoni, Bergamo, Italy
Beatriz Colomina , Professor of Architecture and Director of Graduate Studies and Founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Media and Modernity Program, School of Architecture, Princeton University, New York, USA
Beatrice Galilee , Associate Curator of Architecture and Design, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
Ines Abramiam , Architect, Studio Abramiam, Sassari, Italy
Rossella Ferorelli , Ph.D. Architect, SMALL - Soft Metropolitan Architecture & Landscape Lab, Bari, Italy
Silvia Tucci , Architect, studioTucci, Massa, Italy
Giorgia Feraudo , Architect, Giorgia Feraudo design studio, Carrara, Italy
Stefano Nicoli , Investment Manager, studio Nicoli&Nicoli, Carrara, Italy
Bianca Pellerano , Architect, Pelleranoarchitetti, Massa, Italy
Gabriella Raffo , Architect, Raffo architetti, Massa, Italy
Stefania Lencioni , Teacher, Carrara, Italy
Bjarke Ingels, BIG
Kai-Uwe Bergmann, BIG

 

  • 5 Comments

Readers' comments (5)

  • Great reporting AJ!

    I started the PRITZKER PETITION TO RECOGNIZE DENISE SCOTT BROWN with Arielle Asssouline-Lichten over 5 years ago.

    Since then, I’ve heard every excuse for why some organization won’t do the right thing — and recognize equal partners. This is exactly as some people said why they wouldn’t sign the DSB Petition. “Venturi’s best work was the Vanna Venturi House.”
    IN/ARCH: A career is not a building. A 15 year period in Architecture is not a career. Let’s be clear: Sexism, omission, exclusion of women architects is a huge problem in architecture. The media does this, as well as these hero awards.

    Exactly because IN/ARCH fails to recognize the achievements of Doriana and Massimiliano as EQUAL partners, you are allowing this injustice to fester.

    Here’s the latest excuse I can add to the list— they just keep getting better and more elaborate!
    “ ‘The story is always a personal story. Yes the architecture is done by both of them now, and at this moment Doriana has a stronger role than Massimiliano in working on the architecture, but the career of a person is not the career of an office.’“

    IN/ARCH has demonstrated, just as other major ••**Nobel Prize of Architecture **•• has shown — that these prizes are fusty, dusty and irrelevant.

    -Caroline James
    VOW Architects www.vowarchitects.com

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  • Nathan Silver

    When I was Head of the University of East London School of Architecture from 1979 to 1992 I appointed Christine Hawley as my deputy. I am proud that she went on to become my successor, and then Head of the Bartlett. Her example reinforces my commitment to full recognition for women in architecture such as Denise Scott Brown and Doriana Fuksas. Nathan Silver, Nathan Silver Architects

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  • Has Doriana had equal billing in the past? - it's surely predominantly been Massimiliano's name that has figured prominently in the architectural media down the years, or am I missing something?
    In this country architects Foster and Rogers - when newly qualified, and after Team 4 was dissolved - set up in practice independently, Norman and Wendy as Foster Associates and the other two as Richard + Su Rogers, and that was more than fifty years ago.
    That 'exclusion of women architects is a huge problem in architecture' is frankly astonishing, but I wonder if this varies from country to country?

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  • He should change the name of the office and then talk....

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  • Timothy Makower - that doesn't make sense, Doriana's surname is also Fuksas

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