Blocks Versus Knots

Bauhaus Women Weavers’ Contribution to Architecture’s Canon

Authored by: Harriet Harriss

The Routledge Companion to Women in Architecture

Print publication date:  June  2021
Online publication date:  June  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367232344
eBook ISBN: 9780429278891
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429278891-11

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Abstract

In his pioneering treatise entitled The Four Elements of Architecture (1851), Gottfried Semper asserted that the twisting and knotting of threads, as opposed to the massing of blocks of stone, bares the foundation from which everything was derived, not only textiles but also buildings. He argued that the beginning of building occurs as the beginning of fabric and that the most fundamental element of both the building and the textile was the knot. In 1919 Walter Gropius declared gender equality at the Bauhaus, yet his pedagogical writings reveal that the “strong male gender” was directed toward architecture, whereas the “beautiful female gender” had to be content with weaving.

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