Kete Books reviews Making Space


Making Space is an impressive recent release billed by its publisher Massey University Press as ‘a new book that sets the architectural record straight.’ The title says it all – Making Space recognises and records women’s contribution to architecture in New Zealand, the significant acknowledgment of which has been lacking so far.  Almost unbelievably, it took until 2022 for a woman to win the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal, when Julie Stout took home the NZIA’s highest honour.

Making Space is very much an industry book but any reader interested in history, women’s lives and issues facing women working in architecture today will find much to explore. The substantial 448-page tome has been produced with the support of Architecture+Women NZ and Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects among others.

I particularly enjoyed my first glimpse of its cover. Forget about soft pastels, smiling faces, pretty illustrations or other traditional tropes to indicate this is a book about women. Making Space looks direct, emphatic, elegant and of Aotearoa. There are no photographs or illustrations on the bold, red cover or its mainly black folded-flap sleeve. With no-nonsense cover type in sans serif capitals, Making Space is a book that means business but appropriately, it’s also beautiful to look at and wander through.

Like good architecture, Making Space has substance to its style. Its editor, Wellington-based historian Elizabeth Cox, specialises in both architectural and women’s history and is a trustee of the Futuna Chapel in Wellington, the late architect John Scott’s seminal work. She has done a sterling job editing substantial contributions from 30 architectural historians, academics and women working in architecture.

Read the full review here.