Leading Figures in Architecture Explore the Role of Gender

Towards Abundance Advocates for More Expressive Practices

Architect John Jennifer Marx and publisher The Architectural Review announce the launch of Towards Abundance: The Delightful Paradoxes of Gender. Images (left to right): John Jennifer Marx, Madelon Vriesendorp, María Jesús Contreras. Click here for additional high-resolution images.

In this advocacy monograph, we hope to explore the paradoxical relationship between gender and architecture; to advocate for changes in how we see gender, and, as a result, in how we design. While much work has been done, and still must be done, to bring parity and equality to the architectural profession, we wanted to go past discussions of labor statistics, to explore what is still being left out in the pursuit of progress.” — John Jennifer Marx

Architect John Jennifer Marx and publisher The Architectural Review are excited to announce the launch of Towards Abundance: The Delightful Paradoxes of Gender. Edited by Marx, the 58-page publication advocates for designers and architects to reconsider a normative masculine tradition in how spaces are conceived and created, a tradition that is very much alive in contemporary practice. The publisher will celebrate the launch of the book with a reception during the opening week of the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Towards Abundance: The Delightful Paradoxes of Gender tackles the subject of gender and design with a collection of multiple non-prescriptive, inquisitive, and inclusive essays and artworks. The result, as the title suggests, is an abundance of voices and perspectives. The publication’s 17 contributors represent the worlds of design practice and architectural history and theory, as well as gender research and journalism.

Topics covered include the notion of multi-cultural urbanism in the face of placeless and often characterless modernity, the introduction of a more sensual and sensitive placemaking that is welcoming to all, and the rethinking of the singular maestro-led vision of how architecture is made. An over-arching theme that resonates throughout the chapters in Towards Abundance: The Delightful Paradoxes of Gender is that of finding a better balance between the rational and the notional. As Marx writes, “Imagine, as we look past a culture of binary gender, we might see the beginning of ‘gender expressionism’, of a balance between self-expression and belonging, a celebration of our uniqueness in the context of our commonalities.”

The cover of the essay collection is an interpretation of the “Three Graces” by artist Madelon Vriesendorp who co-founded the Dutch architecture studio OMA in 1975. Made as a special commission for the publication, Vriesendorp’s work speaks of how, through meaningful change, we can reach a new understanding that is reflected all around us, including the buildings we occupy. The publication also includes other original commissioned artworks from artists María Jesús Contreras and Anna Sidana.

John Jennifer Marx is the founding design principal and Chief Artistic Officer of Form4 Architecture, a San Francisco firm that creates prominent buildings and campuses for Bay Area tech companies including Google and Netflix. Form4 Architecture is the recipient of more than 190 design awards and the firm was named a Laureate of the American Prize for Architecture in 2017. In 2021, Marx an architect, poet and artist received the James Gates Percival International Prize for Literature for his book Études: The Poetry of Dream + Other Fragments. Marx lectures and writes internationally on the topics of design, placemaking, and emotional meaning in architecture, remaining a steadfast advocate for self-determination in the face of reductive and biased conformity.

Towards Abundance: The Delightful Paradoxes of Gender

ISBN: 978-0-9955341-3-1

The Architectural Review, 2023, Paperback, English, 58 pages, £18.50, purchase here


John Jennifer Marx, Architect, US

Madelon Vriesendorp, Artist, UK

Darran Anderson, Author, UK

Jessica Andrews, Author, UK

Fernanda Canales, Architect, Mexico

Pol Esteves Castelló, Architect, Spain

María Jesús Contreras, Illustrator, Chile

Adam Nathaniel Furman, Artist, UK

Hilde Heynen, Theorist, Belgium

Carla Juacaba, Architect, France

Ruth Lang, Researcher, UK

Yasmeen Lari, Historian, Pakistan

Dang Qun, Architect, China

Yael Reisner, Architect, UK

Anna Sidana, Artist, US

Sumayya Vally, Architect, South Africa

Max L Zarzycki, Editor, UK

Editors: John Jennifer Marx with Manon Mollard

Project Editor: Max L Zarzycki

Art Director: Tom Carpenter

Sub Editor: Jezebel Mansell

Production Director: Paul Moran

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