Opleidingen en gendertoekenning : de plaats van de interieurarchitect in de Belgische naoorlogse architectuurgeschiedenis
Ever since World War II, Belgian schools for architecture have been offering specialised programmes in interior design. Although graduates of these programmes have been active on the architecture scene ever since, they have not been systematically included in Belgian architecture histories. This article argues that the persistent omission of interior designers can be ascribed to disciplinary characteristics that are culturally conceived to be feminine, and therefore dismissed as inferior. As a result, we propose that the inclusion of interior designers can considerably diversify existing narratives of Belgian architecture history. Too often still, projects are selected by means of value systems that prioritise an analytic and spatial outlook, and buildings are presented as the work of a single and prominent designer, leaving many different modes of practice and inevitable collaborations unaccounted for. This article substantiates this central claim by using two separate case studies. The first engages with one type of organisation that has explicitly conceptualised the image of the interior designer, viz. educational institutes. It discusses the particular example of the interior design programme at the St Luke school in Ghent. The implementation of coeducation at this school in the 1960s was preceded by a conflictual collaboration with a nearby girls’ school. The schools’ archives testify to a heated discussion about the gendered capabilities and aptitudes of their respective students. An analysis of the educational discourse demonstrates how the interior designer was conceived as a female designer profile, with its characteristics subordinated to architectural practice. The second case study briefly explores the repercussions of this designation in practice. It situates the collaboration between architect Jo Crepain (1950-2008) and interior designer Steven Stals (1949), and explores on what grounds Stals’s contribution has remained overlooked. Although Stals is a male designer, the article ultimately suggests that interior design practice offers great opportunities for including actors into architectural histories, not because of their gender but because of the gender dynamics that lie at the heart of the valuation and subsequent inclusion of projects into an architecture canon.
Source (journal)
Tijdschrift voor interieurgeschiedenis en design. - Leuven, 2018, currens
Leuven : Peeters , 2023
2593-4198 [print]
2593-4201 [online]
45 (2023) , p. 47-55
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
The author-created version that incorporates referee comments and is the accepted for publication version Available from 01.09.2024
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
Research group
Project info
The emergence of interior architecture in Belgium, 1945-1999. Assessing the impact of education on the identity formation of the design discipline
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Creation 29.02.2024
Last edited 05.03.2024
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