The Housing Question is a Feminist Question: Housing Commons for the “New Woman” of the German Werkbund
Margarete Knuppelholz-Roeser, Haus der Frau, Werkbund Exhibition, Cologne, 1914; in: Despina Stratigakos, “Women and the Werkbund: Gender Politics and German Design Reform, 1907-14,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 62, no. 4 (Dec., 2003), p. 501.
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Campus Bockenheim

Vortrag (intern)

The Housing Question is a Feminist Question: Housing Commons for the “New Woman” of the German Werkbund

Ioanna Piniara

Ioanna Piniara’s research operates at the intersection of feminist studies, architectural history and the commons discourse with the aim to enrich the latter as a radical theory and practice for conceptualising equitable collective living. It builds upon her PhD research which draws a critique to the neoliberal predicament of housing by relocating the concept of domestic privacy within practices of sharing and the design of the 21st-century housing commons. The proposed project employs the theoretical framing of feminism through the commons that supports the liberation of women from capitalist and patriarchal exploitation by recognizing their oppression through the burden of reproductive labour in the mass-produced nuclear-family apartment type of the 20th century. Studying the context of the emergence of a “new woman” in the early Weimar Republic, the project will investigate two instances in the 1910s, when feminist struggles entered architectural practices for the social and spatial ordering of housing against the patriarchal status quo of the time. Through their historical and typological reading, the project aims to explore the radicality of these early architectures of the Werkbund in accommodating feminist claims administratively and typologically, and juxtapose it to the more well-known New Frankfurt programme of the 1920s. By addressing the housing question as a feminist question, the close reading evaluates the possibilities that emerge from a spatial order that caters for women’s various roles beyond that of the wife and childcarer. In other words, it evaluates the potential of spatial orders to make new social orders and structures conceivable.


Ioanna Piniara ist im Sommersemester 2022 Fellow im LOEWE Schwerpunkt „Architekturen des Ordnens“. Der Vortrag bildet den Auftakt ihres Fellowships.