Property’s Morning Obsession: Architect Barbie

355051-Architect_BarbieWith 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.


Child’s Play [Places: Design Observer]
Commentary: We need women designing buildings [CNN]

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Danielle

    Women are taking over the field & the movement started about 10 yrs ago. I am an architect. My freshman class in 2000 was the first class at Northeastern University that was 50/50. The graduating class was 70% women.
    I work in an office in Philadelphia that is women dominated. We carry drawings, often wear skirts/dresses & several of my colleagues are blond.
    I agree most firm principles are men, but it is only a matter of time.