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Architecture and Reproductive Justice
2022–2023 Lecture Series: Engaging Pluralism, Spring Edition
Zoom Webinar

Zoom Link


This spring 2023 ARC panel explores the issues of reproductive justice, as well as equity in architecture and the world more broadly. We will be joined by Lindsay Harkema, City College of New York/Barnard professor and founder of WIP | Work in Progress / Women in Practice, Oana Stănescu, MIT professor currently offering her course Human Rights. The Weaponization of Space Against the Body, and Malkit Shoshan, Harvard professor and curator of The Politics of Fertility: Love in a Mist (2019).

The more we've read, the more we’ve come to understand the abortion clinic as an example of a vulnerable architecture – one that is limited or has a history of being threatened by zoning and building codes, legislation requiring onerous and expressive “renovations” (Texas HB2, 2013), and counter-protest. Since the overturn of Roe V. Wade in June, we have seen even architects fly under the radar to assist clinics in an increasingly-underfunded abortion clinic landscape.

It is difficult to put into words what the overturning of Roe V. Wade means for the members of the Rice, greater Houston, and Texas communities – thinking especially of how this Supreme Court decision compiles upon an extensive history of reproductive health restrictions disproportionately impacting women of color. ARC is interested in the question of how architects can hold agency under such conditions and to open a larger conversation about the intersection of design codes, healthcare policy, and privacy.


This event is organized by ARC, the Anti-Racism Collective, a student group of Rice Architecture that affirms the idea that a responsible architectural education must be actively anti-racist. While the school’s leadership works toward long-term and systematic changes, ARC highlights, develops, and acts upon the immediate anti-racist initiatives echoed by the student body. This lecture is one of series of student-led public events, allowing for a more inclusive set of dialogues and conversations within the school and more broadly, with the larger public, spanning multiple generations, topics and audiences.




Engaging Pluralism
When ideologies and cultures collide, new ways of working with and living in the world emerge. As a form of political philosophy, pluralism draws upon this dynamic condition, promoting the coexistence of multiple approaches and worldviews. Yet in the context of compounding crises and unchecked inequality, this is far from a neutral position: it becomes a commitment to struggle and discourse. Drawing from a broad-ranging group of speakers, Rice Architecture’s annual lecture series, Engaging Pluralism, explores how architects and designers can work with friction, contradiction, and multiplicity to effect broader social, cultural, and environmental change. It is an all-school platform for reflecting on the possibilities and challenges of designing for a pluralistic society.

All lectures are free and open to the public and, unless noted otherwise, will be held in person in Farish Gallery, MD Anderson Hall, with a livestream component. In the event that COVID-19 circumstances prohibit in-person lectures, the series will be held virtually via Zoom. Some lectures have been submitted for AIA CES approval.



This panel is made possible through the generous support of the Kyle Lasseter Endowment for Diversity in Architecture.

This lecture series is made possible through the generous support of the Betty R. and George F. Pierce Jr., FAIA, Fund; the William B. Coleman Jr. Colloquium Fund for Architecture; the Wm. W. Caudill Lecture Series Fund; and Rice Design Alliance (RDA), the public programs and outreach arm of Rice Architecture, which includes the generous support of its members and RDA Underwriters:  Harvey | Harvey-Cleary; Tellepsen Family; Big State Electric; Brochsteins; CED Houston; MAREK; Turner Construction; and Walter P. Moore. Additional support is provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts.


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