Examining the role of the female imagination in the creation of the city, by performing history and theory through design, digital animation, drawing and making.
The City of Ladies is a cross-disciplinary research project which aims to introduce and promote the work of medieval author Christine de Pizan to an architectural audience for the first time. In her text “The Book of the City of Ladies” (1405), de Pizan describes the construction of an imaginary city, a female utopia built and inhabited by women. Conflating the act of writing a book and the construction of an imaginary city with building a thesis against misogyny, her work has been seen as a proto–feminist manifesto.
Led by Prof Penelope Haralambidou, the project expands upon existing scholarship to propose an innovative, design-led analysis of the architectural and urban allegory in de Pizan’s text, as well as a spatial remodelling of the accompanying illuminations (miniature illustrations) - rebuilding the city using contemporary technologies. It aims to establish Christine as the first speculative female architect and to project the powerful message of her allegorical city into the future.