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Top 5 Books About Sexuality in Architecture

Books and Resources to Explore Sex and Gender in Building Design


Do buildings express a gender? Can places have sexuality? Explore these books and resources. Warning! These materials are for heavy thinkers, not heavy breathers.

1. Sex and Buildings

Sex and Buildings by Richard J. Williams (book cover)
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The subtitle of Richard J. Williams' adventurous travelogue, "Modern Architecture and the Sexual Revolution," describes a somewhat sociological history. From the book cover's photo of a round, red, plush sofa, we get the idea that the book may be more of a personal odyssey. (2013)
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2. The Sex of Architecture

A mostly feminist collection collection of essays, covering wide ranging topics such as "Gendered Spaces in Colonial Algiers," "Resisting the Patriarchal Norms," and "The Politics of Underestimation." Beatriz Colomina's Sexuality & Space (below) is more provocative, but this volume does include a Colomina essay. By Diana Agrest (Editor), Patricia Conway (Editor), Leslie Kanes Weisman (Editor), and Ann Bergren (Contributor). (1996)
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3. Sexuality & Space

Sexuality & Space
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Beatriz Colomina is celebrated for her work in the sexual politics of architecture. This collection for the Princeton Papers on Architecture includes essays spanning many fields of studies. Writers include Jennifer Bloomer, Victor Burgin, Elizabeth Grosz, Catherine Ingraham, Meaghan Morris, Laura Mulvey, Molly Nesbit, Alessandra Ponte, Lynn Spigel, Patricia White, Mark Wigley, and, of course, Beatriz Colomina. Paperback (1996)
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4. Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance

Queers in Space Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance
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A hefty volume with more than 30 essays, memoirs, studies, and fiction excerpts that describe how gay men and lesbians perceive and alter their environments. Some entries make sweeping generalities, but the writing is lively and thought provoking. If you want to go deep into an analysis of sexuality, gender, and architecture, you'll want to add this book to your collection. By Gordon Brent Ingram (Editor and Contributor), Anne-Marie Bouthillette, and Yolanda Retter (Editor). (1997)
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5. Stud: Architectures of Masculinity

Stud: The Architecture of Masculinity, ed. Joel Sanders
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Who would have thought that Princeton Architectural Press would publish such a title? The double-entendre of the title playfully describes this collection of essays about the masculinization of spaces, including how a power tool became a staple of the dining room. (1996)
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