Creating alternatives: Stories about participation, collaboration and gender in architecture, 1960s-1970s

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Today, while there is a pressing need to rethink architectural practices in the face of societal, climatic, and ecological crises, a better understanding of how architects in the past have rethought their role and contribution seem increasingly relevant. This article examines projects from the 1960s and 70s by two Danish women architects, Susanne Ussing and Anne Marie Rubin, and the people with whom they worked. These architects actively wanted to create living environments to stimulate a better society and they did so by practicing architecture differently. Starting from the significant contributions that Ussing and Rubin made for the exhibition ‘Alternative Architecture’ at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in 1977, I discuss what strategies they used and what alternative architecture meant for them. Ussing and Rubin’s works have only been scarcely discussed by architectural historians, yet they contributed to developing participatory approaches to architecture, shifting epistemologies in design and planning, foregrounding women’s experiences, and, in one project, addressing anti-racist agendas. Methodologically, I propose ways of working in the face of scant material in official architectural archives and ways of storying architecture as collaboration rather than as individual creation. This article builds on research carried out in the project Women in Danish Architecture 1925–1975 (
TidsskriftJournal of Architecture
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)354-382
StatusUdgivet - 2023

ID: 339535518