Winner of the Milka Bliznakov Prize
Winner of the 2009 DAAD Book Prize of the German Studies Association
"Stratigakos adds colour and distinction to a crucial period in Berlin’s history. The interest of her study goes well beyond that of gender and architecture and contributes to a better understanding of the daily life of imperial Berlin. 'Women and architecture' is a topic that deserves more attention in general, and A Women’s Berlin is an excellent example of how it can be done and of the illustrative quality such a study can have. This account of a 'largely forgotten city, a site of both dreams and real spaces' will fill a gap in any library on Berlin." —Ulrike Zitzlsperger, Times Higher Education
"A Women’s Berlin deserves to be read by anyone interested in the complex interaction between social change and the built environment." —European Architectural History Network
"Clearly written, beautifully illustrated, and based on wide reading in archival and published sources, this book should be of great interest to all historians of modern Germany, of women’s history, and of architecture." —German Studies Review
"Stratigakos has done us a great service by investing the important architectural movement of Wilhelmine Germany with the question of gender. ...her volume will be unavoidable reading for anyone wishing to have a critical and more comprehensive understanding of the development of Berlin as a major architectural centre." —The Journal of Architecture
"Despina Stratigakos takes us on a fascinating journey into a largely forgotten city at the heart of early 20th century metropolitan Berlin. Both imaginary and physical, A Women’s Berlin is a space of agency in which women architects, designers, and patrons shaped not only a network of new institutions in the city, but also a modern female subjectivity and urban identity for themselves as public citizens." —Eve Blau, Harvard University
"A groundbreaking piece of scholarship building bridges among gender studies, cultural history, and architecture, A Women’s Berlin is an essential addition to any institutional library or specialized bibliography." —Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
"Stratigakos has succeeded in crafting a highly readable and fascinating account that is a well-researched contribution to both Wilhelmine and Weimar scholarship." —Journal of Design History
Around the beginning of the twentieth century, women began to claim Berlin as their own, expressing a vision of the German capital that embraced their feminine modernity, both culturally and architecturally. Women located their lives and made their presence felt in the streets and institutions of this dynamic metropolis. From residences to restaurants, schools to exhibition halls, a visible network of women’s spaces arose to accommodate changing patterns of life and work.
A Women’s Berlin retraces this largely forgotten city, which came into being in the years between German unification in 1871 and the demise of the monarchy in 1918 and laid the foundation for a novel experience of urban modernity. Although the phenomenon of women taking control of urban space was widespread in this period, Despina Stratigakos shows how Berlin’s concentration of women’s building projects produced a more fully realized vision of an alternative metropolis. Female clients called on female design professionals to help them define and articulate their architectural needs. Many of the projects analyzed in A Women’s Berlin represent a collaborative effort uniting female patrons, architects, and designers to explore the nature of female aesthetics and spaces.
At the same time that women were transforming the built environment, they were remaking Berlin in words and images. Female journalists, artists, political activists, and social reformers portrayed women as influential actors on the urban scene and encouraged female audiences to view their relationship to the city in a radically different light. Stratigakos reveals how women’s remapping of Berlin connected the imaginary to the physical, merged dreams and asphalt, and inextricably linked the creation of the modern woman with that of the modern city.