With the obligatory cool specs and unconventional shoes, Architect Barbie is being used as a promotional tool by the AIA to get more women into a profession that’s painfully lacking in female energy and empowerment. It’s a rather odd counterpoint to the ongoing campaign to have Denise Scott Brown retroactively awarded the 1991 Pritzker Prize, which went to her architect-husband Robert Venturi alone.
Can Architect Barbie really get little girls excited about the field? Not surprisingly, architects have a lot to say about the issue, most recently in the context of the way that toys, including this beloved Barbie, trivialize the work of the profession.
But let’s step back a moment and consider the plausibility. Online critiques have pointed out that no one carries drawing tubes anymore, women wear pants, and hair would likely not be…Barbie’s. The AIA surely hopes that children don’t care much about verisimilitude or trivialization. Girls just wanna have fun.