"Stop the silence culture, the architecture world is sexist"

Readers are embroiled in a sexism row in this week's comments update, following an opinion piece that drew parallels between attitudes towards women in architecture and the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Gender gap: columnist Anna Winston argued that the architecture industry is culturally similar to Hollywood when it comes to overlooking sexist behaviour, igniting a fiery debate in the comments section.

Labattsbleu felt that, if there was a comparison, it was not specific to architecture: "There are predators in every profession. I think using Weinstein's boorish/criminal behaviour as a broader indictment of the architecture profession is a stretch."

But architect Dorte Mandrup, who wrote her own opinion piece about the negative effects of labelling female architects earlier this year, felt that some readers might be missing the writer's point.

"Ms Winston is not claiming that the architecture business is sexist in the direct and primitive Hollywood way, but might be in a much more subtle and sophisticated way," she said.

"The problem is more systemic than individual cases of sexual assault. I challenge all men to reflect on the ways they have taken advantage of or even inadvertently benefitted from the industry's existing power dynamic," added Ruth.

"I wish we were told on the first day of architecture school that the profession is dominated by old white boys," commented Locker Room Talker wearily.

But Armand Tamzarian was clearly on the on the opposing side of the argument. "Articles such as this serve to victimise women and demonise men," he wrote. "Call me old-fashioned, but when a colleague of mine does a good job, male or female, they have earned a pat/pinch on the bum."

This reader felt the comments section had validated the argument made in the column.

Is architecture too silent on sexism within the industry? Have your say in our comments section ›

Self-aware: Saudia Arabia's decision to recognise Sophia, an artificially intelligent female humanoid robot, as an official citizen raised more than a few readers' eyebrows this week.

"Seems like a robot now enjoys superior citizenship status to a human woman in Saudi Arabia," wrote HeywoodFloyd, making a point echoed by various commenters.

"Should machines have a gender at all? Seems like defining a gender of a machine is sexist either way," pondered Alexey Shishkin.

Susan Liddell suggested that Saudi Arabia had its priorities all wrong: "Do cows and sheep and other sentient beings not deserve this status before highly developed AI dolls?"

However, RubberDucky was willing to give the country the benefit of the doubt: "It is not a stunt nor something that scratches human rights, take it as it is, a step to display a futuristic view.

All this reader seemed to care about was being able to say: "I told you so".

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US-Mexico border wall prototypes

Wall Street: Readers were mainly concerned this week, after prototypes of eight proposed designs for Donald Trump's US-Mexico border wall were constructed, for testing over the coming months.

Mark Power held no punches with his thoughts: "Monuments to America's turn towards fascism."

"I just can't believe that there isn't something more positive to spend money on. Any other context and this would be called environmental pollution" wrote a frustrated Liz Parker.

Sylver C Stephens was asking the important questions: "How high will the wall be Mr Trump, that will prevent drugs coming over it via drones?"

Greg questioned if any of us should be focusing on the wall at all: "Seems to me that this offensive concept being perpetrated by the consummate anti statesman Trump, this "design", is normalised by being featured on this site."

But Blau thought it was vital to keep updated with the project's development: "Are you suggesting self-censorship? I actually feel it's important for this story to be featured here. We don't always like what we see."

This reader believed that it was indeed a significant milestone for other reasons:

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Bittersweet: Zaha Hadid Architects' recently completed oil research centre in Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, made up of honeycomb-like hexagonal pods came under scrutiny from commenters this week.

"Like a second year undergrad architecture student who just Googled parametricism for the first time," sneered HeywoodFloyd

"I think this is a very refined parametricism and has moments of great beauty. Undergrads work with the imagination. This is real life," responded Z-dog.

Derek_V was left with a sour taste due to the scheme's location: "Nice project. Unfortunately, for one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet"

One reader was still picking their jaw up off the floor.

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