DAC Shines Spotlight on Women in Architecture

Press contact

Press officer Johanne Troelsgaard Toft
+45 6142 1927

Who are the overlooked women in Danish architecture? On May 13th, Danish Architecture Center opens its latest exhibition, “Women in Architecture”, which showcases the contributions of women to architecture. What is the state of architecture in the year 2020? Can prominent international architects like Tatiana Bilbao and others inspire us to create spaces that improve our quality of life? And what are the hopes and future dreams of the younger architects?

Female architects have been relatively less visible in architecture than their male colleagues. Their names are not to be found in connection with as many large and spectacular projects, nor have they designed as many of our city halls, banks and churches. Nonetheless, architectural achievements and breakthroughs by women have greatly shaped society and the world we live in today.

“Women in Architecture” is an exhibition that showcases women in architecture across time, age and geography. Explore Danish architectural history and discover – or rediscover – projects designed by Danish architects such as Hanne Kjærholm, Karen Clemmesen, Lene Tranberg, Dorthe Mandrup, and others, as well as spectacular installations by international architectural studios such as Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, Helen & Hard and Ensamble Studio.

Untold Stories

The exhibition spotlights some of the women through history who played a pivotal role in conceptualizing, designing and building Denmark from the 1920s to the 1970s. What opportunities did these women have back then? And what is the legacy they left behind?

The historical part of the exhibition, “The Archive”, was prepared in collaboration with scholars from the University of Copenhagen. The Archive celebrates the untold stories and overlooked accomplishments of female architects. We meet architects Ragna Grubb, Karen Hvistendahl and Ingeborg Schmidt, who were among the first to speak out in support of the idea that children should have their own bedrooms, and kitchen architect Ulla Tafdrup, who opened the kitchen up to the living room, paving the way for the modern open-plan kitchen and dining area.

Through them, we also discover that there are many different ways to be an architect. The diversity and interdisciplinary collaborations featured in the exhibition provide a new and deeper picture of what architects are and the contributions they make. Exhibition visitors can see the short film “On the trail of the forgotten architects”, and the exhibition opening will be accompanied by the launch of the podcast series, “The Forgotten Architects”.

The philanthropic association Realdania has provided funding for the exhibition at Danish Architecture Center and for the research project Women in Danish Architecture 1925-1975.

Women Designing Denmark Today

The exhibition also gives the floor to a number of contemporary architects, asking them to share their experiences as architects in Denmark today. Should gender and equality in the industry still be on the agenda in the year 2022? Or have we moved beyond these issues long ago?

Meet prominent women such as Dorthe Mandrup, Lene Tranberg, Lene Dammand Lund, Thea Christine Høeg & Christina Gimenez from “Sexism in Architecture”, and many others, covering a broad spectrum of architecture, from building and landscape architecture to urban planning and teaching.

They also have widely diverse views on the equality debate. Some of them have never given it a thought that the conditions for women might be different than for men. They do not want to be viewed as female architects, but simply as architects. Others believe that it is necessary to focus on gender. They engage in the public debate on gender issues and demand equality.

A Room of One’s Own

The exhibition draws on the English author and feminist Virginia Woolf’s 1929 extended essay, A Room of One’s Own, in which she asserts that if women are to be able to create works of significance, they must first be financially independent. They must have a room of their own, in both a physical and metaphorical sense.

Experience the installations designed by three of the most prominent international female architects of our time as DAC invites them to give their take on what “A Room of One’s Own” means to them. Tatiana Bilbao from Mexico, Siv Helene Stangeland from Norway and Débora Mesa from Spain present: “A Room, You and Us”, “Body & Mind Spa”, and “The Room”.

Future dreams

What are the experiences of the youngest female architects? Are equality and rights top of mind, or are other issues on their agenda? In the exhibition, we meet four young architects who work in the spectrum of urban space, design, buildings and green transition. They share a belief that architecture, when done right, can promote inclusion, diversity and security in the physical environment.

More about the three works for “A Room of One’s Own”

The underlying philosophy of “A Room, You and Us” by Tatiana Bilbao Estudio is that our ability to engage in communities with others requires that we have varying degrees of private space where we can rest, create, or just be alone.

In her installation, Norwegian architect Siv Helene Stangeland from Helen & Hard explores intimacy and space for contemplation. The studio exhibits a prototype of their “Body & Mind Spa” project, which was developed in collaboration with world-renowned Serbian artist Marina Abramović.

Ensamble Studio of Spain has created a room that reflects the creative and intellectual freedom of the artistic process. In keeping with the usual approach of the studio, “The Room” is an experiment. It is not a room in a traditional sense. Perhaps, it is as much a sculpture as it is architecture!

Find more information about the three works in the Press Kit Dropbox here.

The “Women in Architecture” exhibition runs from May 13 to October 23, 2022 at Danish Architecture Center.


The exhibition was developed by Danish Architecture Center.

THE ARCHIVE was developed in collaboration with the research project, “Women in Danish Architecture 1925-75”, where Jannie Bendsen, Svava Riesto, Henriette Steiner and Liv Løvetand Rahbek have contributed research-based knowledge and curatorial input.

The exhibition is funded by the philanthropy foundation Realdania, Augustinus Foundation, William Demand Foundation, the Women’s Building Foundation, the Embassy of Norway and the Embassy of Spain

Thanks to

Aeromexico – The Aarhus School of ArchitectureCarsten Hoffs ArkivCITA – Creation Holz – COWI – The Embassy of Mexico – DinesenFDB MøblerFritz HansenIberiaKildeskovshallenKvadratThe Women’s BuildingNH Collection CopenhagenPetersen TeglWinther AS

Thanks to

Asal Mohtashami
Cristina Gimenez
Dorte Mandrup
Esther Urioste
Lene Dammand Lund
Livia Urban Swart Haaland
Lundgaard og Tranberg
Mette Tony, Praksis
Rosa Lund, STED
Sofie Lund Michaelsen
Tina Saaby
Thea Cristine Høeg

Ticket partnership with ARKEN

In connection with the exhibition, Danish Architecture Center has established a ticket partnership with ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, which is currently showing the “Women and Change” exhibition. Visitors can experience both exhibitions with a 30% discount on one of the two.

Visitors who purchase admission to Danish Architecture Center can receive a 30% discount on admission to ARKEN, and vice versa. The offer is valid from May 13 to August 14, 2022.