Thursday, February 17, 2011
Towards a pink architecture
For many years, the architectural profession, divided as it is in so many respects, has been united in one common cause: disgruntlement that Barbie has never become an architect. Barbie has chosen many career paths and lifestyle choices over the years, yet the profession of architecture has never been among them. This is particularly troublesome for a profession which is acutely conscious of its rather poor performance when it comes to employing women (protip: that sole woman in the group photograph is probably the office manager; in more enlightened firms she might be an interior designer or even a landscape architect) despite its professed liberalism. Barbie's apparent reluctance to join the profession is also troubling, given her interest in domestic architecture - an interest the Architectural Centre has recorded.
Things went from badder to worstest when Barbie's makers polled Barbie's users on what jobs she should try next. Although Architect was one of the four possible choices, the users chose News Anchor and Computer Engineer; this was much to the chagrin of the profession, which immediately claimed the contest had been hijacked by geeks while muttering under its breath something about the voters being just girls; or men in sweatshirts pretending to be girls - whichever is worse.
But now the wailing and gnashing of teeth is at an end. Barbie Architect has arrived. As you can see, she looks nothing like an architect - architects have a colour range that spans the gamut from grey to black. They do not wear pink. They do not wear their glasses on their heads; besides, those glasses are a bit too hipster-retro for an architect these days: the preferred style is now ultra-light metal. Architects do not use drawing tubes; they don't draw any longer - they download their CAD files to flash drives (although that thing on her shoulder might be a pink RPG, which is more likely). They rarely smile.
On the plus side, Barbie's pink model is ahead of the curve on the much-anticipated PoMo revival.
As it turns out, Barbie is not the first architectural doll. It was Amanda the Architect, one of the Smartees - dolls with careers, the perfect gift for your hothoused little girl. Examine the photograph below and tell which one you think is Amanda.
No you are wrong. The one wearing specs in the houndstooth cardie is Ashley the Attorney, who obviously works for a very progressive practice and (considering that she and her positive role-model sisters arrived at the turn of the decade) is ahead of the hipster curve. Amanda is the hot brunette in red. You can read all about them here and you can read an aunt's appraisal here.
Still, Amanda being the first should not hold Barbie back. There are many arduous and low-paid jobs available. The Fundy Post wishes Barbie well in her new career and hopes that she will develop a more subtle colour range for her designs than her maker.
Heavenly - the birth of the twee: