Despite a Royal Order on the 8th March 1910 establishing that, for the first time, women could effectively access the university on the same terms than men, ten years later we can find just 429 women (2%), and almost all of them in Philosophy and Literature studies (Río Merino 2009
Matilde Ucelay Maortua (Madrid, 1912–2008); María Cristina Gonzalo Pintor (Santander, 1913–2005) and Rita Fernández Queimadelos (A Cañiza, Pontevedra, 1911–Barcelona, 2008).
Two more women from Madrid were studying architecture during the thirties, but they dropped out of their studies very soon to get marry and exclusively work in the household: Eulalia [Laly
] Urcola y Fernández (1910–2010), and Josefina [Chini
] Flórez Gallego. Laly Urcola was the daughter of Eulalia Molina and the businessman Carlos Urcola Ibarra. She enrolled in 1929, but she dropped out of her studies to marry the architect Germán Álvarez de Sotomayor y Castro in 1935. Chini Flórez, daughter of the architect Antonio Flórez Urdapilleta, married the Spanish diplomat Luis Villalba (Carreiro Otero and López González 2016a
Margarita Mendizábal Aracama (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1931); María Eugenia Pérez Clemente (Coria, Cáceres, 1926–New York, 1978); Elena Arregui Cruz-López (Irún, Guipúzcoa, 1929–Santiago de Compostela, 2018) and Milagros Rey Hombre (Madrid, 1930–A Coruña, 2014).
Before the adaptation of the requirements of the European Higher Education Area (Bologna Plan) during the first decades of the 21st century in Spain, architectural studies were not divided into undergraduate and Master’s studies. To become an architect in Spain, you needed to succeed an academic training of around six years. After being qualified as an architect, it is compulsory to register in the correspondent Association—depending on where your practice is located. No professional experience is required.
MAGA is the acronym of Mulleres Arquitectas de Galicia
in the Galician language, which means Female architects from Galicia. The research team, which has been directed by María Carreiro Otero, also includes the professors of architecture at University of A Coruña: Cándido López González, Xosé Lois Martínez Suárez, Inés Pernas Alonso, Eduardo Caridad Yañez, Paula Fernández-Gago Longueira, and Mónica Mesejo Conde. For more information: https://www.udc.es/es/gausmaga/arquitectura_xenero/
The School of Architecture in A Coruña was created by Decree on 17 August 1973 and was initially attached to the University of Santiago de Compostela. It initiated its activity in the academic years 1975–1976.
Schools of Architecture were created in the nineteenth century in Spain; the first one in Madrid in 1844 and the second one in Barcelona in 1875. In 1958 (the first academic year was 1960–1961), a third one was created in Sevilla. It was not until that same decade that the graduation of the first female architects in Barcelona took place: in 1962, Margarita Brender Rubira validated her title, and in 1964 Mercedes Serra Barenys became the first Catalan student to get a degree (Muxí Martínez 2013
). After Sevilla we can find, chronologically, the schools of Navarra (1964), Valencia (1966), Valladolid (1968), Las Palmas (1973), A Coruña (1973), El Vallés (1973) and San Sebastián (1977). In total, these ten accredited schools of architecture—nine public and one private (Navarra)—were the only existing ones until the 1980s in Spain, as the one in Alicante was created in 1984.
Galician and Spanish are gendered languages which distinguish between arquitecto (male architect) and arquitecta (female architect). The voice arquitecta, even if it existed, was not used; the Real Academia Española allows the masculine voice to designate female professionals in the case of the four liberal professions abogado (lawyer), médico (doctor), ingeniero (engineer) and arquitecto. This is an established morphological anomaly, due to the inertia of a conservative view that entrenches those professions as masculine dominated. In the case of the Galician language, arquitecta appears in the dictionary by the Real Academia Galega in 1990, in the first dictionary published after the dictatorship. The preceding Galician dictionary was published in the 1930s and only includes the masculine voice.
In Spain, to officially practice architecture and sign projects, you must become a member of the corresponding Association of Architects (Colegios de Arquitectos). The Associations of Architects in Spain are regional organizations, so which one depends on where you are located. The six original ones were constituted in 1931, including the Association of Architects of León, Asturias and Galicia in the northwest area of Spain. The current Association of Architects of Galicia (COAG, Colexio Oficial de Arquitectos de Galicia, in the Galician language) was officially created after its segregation, in 1973. The CSCAE (Consejo Superior de los Colegios de Arquitectos de España, in the Spanish language) is the organization that brings together and represents the current 26 established associations in Spain. The legally required affiliation involves paying a fee.
The first woman who graduated as Arquitecto
in Spain was Matilde Ucelay Maortua (1912–2008) in 1936, the second one María Cristina Gonzalo Pintor (1913–2005), and the third one, Rita Fernández Queimadelos, both in 1940. In the post-war period, Matilde Ucelay Maortua survived different trials by court-martial, allegedly for “assistance to the rebellion” (Sánchez de Madariaga 2012
). She was finally socially and politically depurada
by the dictatorial regime in the form of not being allowed to receive her academic title until 1946, to sing any architectural project until 1947 and to hold any public charge in perpetuity. Despite these prohibitions, she decisively continued working on projects signed by some of her colleagues, not stopping practicing architecture. In 1951, her signature appeared on a project for the first time and she continuously developed a prolific career with more than 120 projects until her retirement in 1981 (Vílchez Luzón 2013
). In 2004, she received the National Architecture Prize from the Spanish Government, the highest recognition for architects in Spain, at the age of 92. María Cristina Gonzalo Pintor graduated in 1940, while combining architecture with physics and mathematics studies (they shared common courses). She also graduated from physics and mathematics. She alternated her career as an architect (surveyor architect at the Cantabrian Association of Architects in 1946 and municipal architect in Los Corrales de Buelna) and meteorologist (Meteorological Observatory at Santander in Cantabria) (Herreros Ara et al. 2007
). After a short initial destination in Sevilla, she stayed in Santander for the rest of her life and for some years she became head of the meteorological institution. In 1966, already veteran, she was promoted to Meteorologist and continued working until her retirement in 1978 (Palomares 2017
Rita gave birth to six children: Vicente (1943, physician-chemicist), Rita (1945, architect), Elena (1947–2004, art historian), Dolores (1948, pharmacist), a fifth daughter who died shortly after birth (1949–1949), and Pilar (1952, dermatologist).
Falange was the name given to the Spanish political party of fascist inspiration founded in 1933 by José Antonio Primo de Rivera (1903–1936), son of the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera. In the beginning, it was called Falange Española, FE. From 1934, it was named Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista, FET de las JONS. It was the only political party authorized during the Franco regime. La Sección Femenina (SF) was the female branch of FET-JONS. Founded in 1934, it was dissolved in 1977. During those years, it was led by Pilar Primo de Rivera (1907–1991), sister of José Antonio Primo de Rivera.
Real Decreto 1914/78, de 19 de mayo de 1978, by which the Women’s Social Service is suppressed.
Enrique (born 1960), José (1963–2008), María (1967) and Rafael (1971).
Both Elena Arregui and her husband paid their participation fees through a joint account to the mutual insurance for architects la Hermandad
, and even their projects were signed in common, as the institution registered them with just the name of Arturo Zas. Even if she was paying her corresponding fee as an architect, under this misogynistic and unfair arrangement, the coverage did officially not include her, and she found out that she could not receive her pension. Many female architects organized together at that time to try to solve the problem: “it is time they consider us persons”, but the Hermandad
got angry with “their pretensions”, which were legitimate, and finally had to be heard (Carreiro Otero and López González 2016b, p. 79
Rita Fernández Queimadelos licensed before (Madrid, 1941), but she developed her whole career in Madrid and Murcia. The first licensed female architect in Galicia is Milagros Rey Hombre in 1961. Then, Elena Arregui Cruz-López in 1962. Until 1968 did not register a third one (Carreiro Otero et al. 2014
Lalos is the daughter of a renowned architect from A Coruña, Santiago Rey, and Josefa Roca, from Madrid. Josefa’s health issues led them to travel frequently to Madrid. She was born in one of these trips, but the family always lived in A Coruña.
Sergio (born 1970), Daniel (1974) and Magdalena (1976).
In 2019, there were just four female architects holding a chair (catedráticas) of Architectural Projects in all the Spanish Schools of Architecture: Blanca Lleó (Madrid), and Elisa Valero (Granada) in 2012; María José Aranguren López (Madrid) in 2017 and Carmen Espegel (Madrid) in 2019.
José (born 1976), Hildegard (1977) and Pablo (1980).
Until that moment, education segregated space and contents by sex and had a mostly private nature. This changed with the adoption of the General Education Law in 1970, that made basic education compulsory for everybody up to the age of 14 (Ley 14/1970, de 4 de agosto, General de Educación y Financiamiento de la Reforma Educativa).
Initially, the School of Architecture of A Coruña—and consequently the first graduates—was ascribed to the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC). Currently, it is ascribed to the University of A Coruña (UDC), officially created in 1989 (Ley 11/1989 del 20 de julio, de Ordenación del Sistema Universitario de Galicia).
COAG data indicates that in 1989 there were 92 licensed female architects out of 789 licensed architects (11.66%).
Fátima (born 1992) and Alfredo (1995).
Teresa (born 1988) and Máximo (1991).
Architectural ugliness, or feísmo in the Galician language, is an architectural phenomenon (highly mediatized) that started to take shape in the architectural public debate in that decade. Proxecto terra is a project for the architectural teaching of students in secondary public education in Galicia, still successful nowadays.
MAGA project collected data segregated by sex until 2012. Then, Carreiro and López keep their own database up-to-date based on the electoral census of the COAG. There, elections are held periodically. Data from 2015 correspond to the electoral census of the deanery elections in that year.
Data compiled in the ETSAC professor’s database. There are a total of 141 professors, and 137 are architects. In total, there are 27 women professors, and 23 are architects.
Architectural journals analyzed from its inception to the year 2012 (in the case they are still active) included: Arquitectos
(1976–2011, edited by the Association of Spanish Architects CSCAE); Arquitectura
(since 1918), Obradoiro
(since 1978), Quaderns d´Arquitectura i Urbanisme
(since 1944) respectively established by the Associations of Architects from Madrid, Galicia and Catalonia; Boletín Académico
(since 1985, School of Architecture at the University of A Coruña), and the now-extinct Hogar y Arquitectura
(1955–1977, Ministry of Housing) and Nueva Forma
(1966–1975, El Inmueble
) (Fernández-Gago Longueira et al. 2014, pp. 971–72
From the analyzed 2177 entries, of which 1053 are female-authored, 232 correspond to Galician female architects (approximately 11% of the total). From these 232 contributions, only 33 are female led—author writing on her own—as opposed to the far higher number of contributions involving joint authorship (199). From those 33, 14 had been single authored by a woman previously identified as a pioneer. Collaborative entries represent 86% of the total written by Galician female architects, where the female author is often relegated to a secondary position (Fernández-Gago Longueira et al. 2014, pp. 976–77
The figures show the prevalence of practice-based professional activity (180 projects with photographs and planimetric drawings, nearly 80% of all entries) over the theoretical discourse (articles, interviews and reviews). Besides this, Galician female architects’ entries are published in geographical proximity, mostly in Galician based publications, reaching the other state-wide ones in just 13% of the cases (Fernández-Gago Longueira et al. 2014, pp. 978–79
Pascuala Campos de Michelena has published her theoretical corpus, not in architectural journals, but mostly in feminist and specialized publications focused on gender issues during the 1990s. This proves how architectural media did not include those topics, not considered legitimate to be published, excluding specific women’s concerns.