Women in Fabrication: A platform for inclusive and diverse design

  • YEAR
    Couchman, Alice
    Patel, Yusef
    McPherson, Peter
    2018 Conference Papers
    Architectural Science: Design Education and Research
    Conference Papers


In New Zealand, over half of our architectural graduates are female but this number significantly drops within professional practice. The fact remains that industry is a male citadel whether in the realm of design or manufacture. This paper explores a new generation of women building their own coalitions and strategies that promise to bring about change within the architecture and the construction discipline with the formation of a collaborative group: Women in Fabrication. The purpose of forming a female fabrication group was to support learning through the process of making, creating a project-based platform that created leadership opportunities and better accessibility to fabrication and mentorship. Students were given the challenge of designing and building a pre-fabricated exhibit at a prominent Building Expo in New Zealand. With a timeline of six weeks, students had to learn CAD/CAM technology and apply what they learnt to a real-life design making situation- providing a platform for learning and sharing ideas. Digital design processes allowed for the project to be morphed, tweaked and customized with new interchangeable parts to suit the different prescribed audiences and function. This educational model aims to provide everything from leadership opportunities and understanding fabrication to networking with industry suppliers, whilst also providing senior female role models to young designers at architecture institutions.


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