Ode to Feminine Space. An architecture of flow. An architecture of the feminine

By: Marjory Mejia

feminine space

Photo via Pinterest. “I am large, I contain multitudes.” ~ Walt Whitman

We live in an increasingly masculine world. I don’t mean a world where feminist women have not made extraordinary gains and I certainly don’t mean a world dominated by men, although that is the case; I mean a world in which the dominant expression of energy is still masculine. Both men and women adopt a rigid mindset, worldview, and experience that is influenced by this pervasive, ugly thing called patriarchy.

We are sucking the soul out of our lives and not replenishing it.  And yet we feel that something is missing, yearning for a different kind of experience of wholeness that deeply feeds, awakens, and revitalizes our souls.

Are you longing for intimacy, deep communication, and connection? This is an invitation to notice, liberate, express, and experience the feminine: the feminine dimension of our being, the feminine dimension of space, the feminine dimension of the sacred.

Since I can remember I yearned for a different kind of space, a different kind of flow, a different kind of sacredness. I didn’t find it in the churches that dominated the land, I found it in the wild gardens of my home and imagination, in the realm of the feminine.

Feminine energy & architecture

We are permeable, living, breathing, conscious beings, so why are our constructs not evolving with us? I have grown tired of boxes so I’m spilling out. I am tired of suffocating straight lines that suck our souls dry, dessicated by glass and steel. I want the sensuous softness of curves around me. I am feeling the pull toward the sacred contours of body and earth.

Feminine space is space in flux.

…psychoanalysis sets the human being in motion, rather than at rest. It calls on him to live outside the abodes of his unconscious, to enter into life’s adventures, to come out of himself. And naturally, its action is a salutary one. Because we must also give an exterior to the interior being. To accompany psychoanalysis in this salutary action, we should have to undertake a topoanalysis of all the space that has invited us to come out of ourselves.
~ Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

Not all spaces invite us to resonate in our signature hues, nor to fully inhabit our yearning for self-expression, nor to come out of the self and shine through in all our glory. For this, we need another kind of space, feminine space.

Feminine space is space with heart and soul. Feminine space is fluid and offers a different kind of experience—one that is restorative, responsive, engaging, deep, intense, poetic, embodied, sensual, organic, dynamic, receptive, intimate, emotive, fertile, fierce if necessary, and so much more–well beyond the use of stereotypical ‘feminine’ elements. Feminine does not mean subdued nor cerebral, neither does it mean submissive nor serene. Feminine space is intuitive, imaginative, playful, expressive, healing; it cradles one’s being, essence, and whole nature.

Feminine space engages our emotions, awakens our heart, tells our evolving story, invites us to come out and play with life in dwellings that embody our dreams and harness our potential. Spaces to savor, nurture, and develop our soul’s gifts. Spaces to unwind, decompress, get in touch with our own soul, come into deep remembrance. Spaces that celebrate our own unique place in the cosmos, where we can engage the fullness of our being in harmonious flow with the universe.

Imagine: spaces that dwell in harmony with NATURE, with the power to celebrate the soft voice inside us amplifying as heart song. Spaces made with curves and materials that respond to our organic nature. Places to dream, vision, cry, create and come home. Places where competition, greed, ignorance, exploitation and indifference give way to collaboration, exploration, discovery, caring, integration and synergy.

More human, sensual, joyous

feminine architecture

Ronchamp plan by Le Corbusier

Here is what Gaetano Pesce, an Italian architect whose work was the subject of a retrospective at Milan’s Triennale in January 2005, said about anonymous, monolithic, masculine structures, which to him suggest a host of negative adjectives such as in rigid and totalitarian.

“Had the project been done with feminine values,” he said, “it would have been more human, more sensual, more joyous.”

 

Bravo, Pesce! I share your sentiments. There is a deep need for a space revolution movement to spread like wild fire and liberate the feminine from the shackles of patriarchy in the architecture of our psyches, dwellings, spaces, and lives.

From ideas that embody our most precious visions to emotions that want to flow from the most pristine place in our hearts to physical places that allow us to harness our potential and reveal the inherent luminosity of our being, we need dreams that pulse and breathe in containers that welcome the world into our hearts and spill our souls out into the world.

The most important journey you will ever take is the journey from your head to the unknown territory of your heart. What would a space imbued with heart look, and most importantly, feel like? In praise of the feminine, in praise of another kind of sacred form and space,

Some timeless pieces of architecture across different types, eras, styles and aesthetics,  including some vernacular architecture animated by the feminine, inspired by nature.

feminine architecture and space

Ronchamp by Le Corbusier

feminine architecture and space

Park Guell by Gaudi

feminine architecture and space

Iguana mosaic. Park Guell by Gaudi

feminine architecture and space

Casa Mila by Gaudi

feminine architecture

Sensual details by Gaudi

feminine architecture and space

Casa Organica. Interiors Now by Angelika Taschen

feminine architecture and space

Bless those elegant curves of a bridge by Calatrava. Bilbao, Spain

feminine architecture and space

Gate to Osun-Osogbo Shrine

sacred feminine architecture and space

Goddess Osun Osogbo sacred grove in Nageria.

feminine architecture and space

Love this photo composition of Le fameux escalier de la Galerie Vivienne

Get flowing!

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Jun 18, 2013
5 comments
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5 responses to “Ode to Feminine Space. An architecture of flow. An architecture of the feminine”

  1. Jack L. says:

    Moving, full-bodied piece!. My favorite moments:
    “… wild gardens of my home and my imagination…”
    “… sacred contours of body and earth…”
    “We are permeable…”
    and the strings of adjectives describing the many folds of femininity.

    I also like the examples you give. Strange that they would be created by men — would that one day feminine architecture from women may come to the fore.

    Now, contemplating what masculinity uncorrupted by patriarchy looks like.

    • Marjory Mejia says:

      What a thoughtful comment Jack! Thanks for your kind words of appreciation. You raise good points. Architecture has been a field dominated by men, although this is changing. Much like James Joyce, who was a writer in touch with the feminine, I appreciate male architects who can connect to this realm. Yes, would love to feature female architects in touch with this dimension in the near future.. I love that you are “contemplating what masculinity uncorrupted by patriarchy looks like.” Bravo!

  2. Sky says:

    Hi, this is lovely. Will it be possible to cite your article for my dissertation?

  3. william flournoy white says:

    Many thanks for your thoughts on the feminine in our built environments.
    I have been looking for conversation on the topic in hopes of including
    the subject in a book i’m researching for as an architect builder. I’ve recently
    realized how taken I am with the flow of curvature, the sensations I get
    from arches and rolled edges I see in nature and the female figure. Can
    you please direct me to other sources on this subject? William

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