WoArch 2024

Women as Builders, Designers, and Critics of the Built Environment Before 1800


WoArch 2024, is a symposium organized by the The University of Arkansas Rome Center in collaboration with the School of Architecture + Planning at the University of Texas at San Antonio. It is supported by the Women in Architecture Affiliate Group of the Society of Architectural Historians.

WoArch is hosted in person at the Palazzo Taverna, Rome, and will be live-streaming on the Rome Center YouTube channels.

Convenors: Shelley E. Roff, Consuelo Lollobrigida, Francesca Riccardo

Symposium description:
for almost 30 years, the literature investigating women and the built environment before the modern era has focused on women’s patronage of architecture. This symposium is designed to open a discussion about what is missing from this conversation yet can be found in the historical record: the roles that women of various social classes played in shaping architecture, landscapes, and cities in diverse parts of the world and the cultural and political implications of their activities. In part, the symposium calls for a re-interpretation of patronizing activities by women and, from another point of view, it directs the spotlight toward women engaging in socio-political urban reform, creating networks of design influence, managing, and participating in construction, and serving as the designer the built environment across a broad geographic scope before modern industrialization.

Click to view program


9:00 – 9:20
Chair and co-chairs: Shelley E. Roff,
Consuelo Lollobrigida, Francesca Riccardo

9:20 – 12:10
Moderator: Francesca Riccardo
9.20 – 9.40
Alba Carballeira, “Building Knowledge:
Princesse des Ursins’ Gesamtkunstwerk for
Philip the V.”
Private Foundation, Spain
9.40 – 10.00
Rebecca Shields, “Frances Stewart, the
Duchess of Lennox and Richmond, and
Richmond House.”
Virginia Commonwealth University
10.00 – 10.20
Consuelo Lollobrigida, “The Influence
of Borromini in Bricci’s Architectural
Apprenticeship and Background.”
University of Arkansas Rome Center
10.20 – 10.50
Coffee break
10.50 – 11.10
Laura Hindelang, “Female Architectural
Agency Pre-1900: Conceptualizing CrossCultural Perspectives.”
University of Bern

11.10 – 11.30
Izabela Kopania, “Dutch-British Style for
Cottage Architecture: Magdalena Morska’s
Aesthetic Vision of Zarzecze Village.”
Institute of Art, Polish Academy of Sciences
11.30 – 12.10
12.30 – 14.00 Archive Oratorio dei Filippini
14.20-15.45 lunch

16:00 – 19:10
Moderator: María Elena Díez Jorge
16.00 – 16.20
Mariana de Moura, “Women and
Construction Know-How: Critical
Fabulations from Self-Produced Sites.”
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais,
16.20 – 16.40
Barry Stiefel, “To Carry Forty Pounds of
Clay: Enslaved Black Women and Children
Building Trades Workers in Early America”
College of Charleston
16.40 – 17.00
Elizabeth Biggs and Kirsty Wright, “Women
Shaping the Palace of Westminster, c.1290-
1700.” Trinity College Dublin and
Historic Royal Palaces
17.00 – 17.30
Coffee break
17.30 – 17.50
Nicoletta Marconi, “Unsuspected Presences:
Women Workers on 16th – 18th Century
Roman Building Sites.”
Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata
17.50 – 18.10
Gül Kale, “Women as Shapers of Spatial
Practices in Ottoman Istanbul.”
Carleton University, Canada
18:10 – 18.40


9:00 – 11:30
Moderator: Alba Carballeira
9.00 – 9.20
Julie Beckers, “Rebuilding for Observance:
Architectural changes to Santa Maria di
Monteluce in Perugia post Reform, c. 1448-
University of Leuven
9.20 – 9.40
Sol Pérez Martinez, “Nuns Reporting the
City: Convents, Urban Life, and Female
Experiences of 1700s Chile.”
ETH Zürich
9.40 – 10.00
Elena Rieger, “Urban Living: Emilie von
Berlepsch and the Late Eighteenth-Century
ETH Zürich
10.00 – 10.30
Coffee break
10.30 – 10.50
Christina Contandriopoulos and Étienne
Morasse-Choquette, “Woman Writing on the
Art and Architecture in Eighteenth-Century
Université du Québec à Montréal
10.50 – 11.10
Anne Hultzsch, “Conversations at the Tea
Table: Eliza Haywood and the Sites of
ETH Zürich
11.10 – 11.30
11.50 – 13.45 San Giovanni dei Fiorentini,
Galleria Spada, Palazzo Falconieri.
13.45-15.00 lunch

15:30 – 18:10
Moderator: Consuelo Lollobrigida
15.30 – 15.50
María Elena Díez Jorge, “The Prestige of
Women through Architecture in SixteenthCentury Spain.”
Universidad de Granada
15.50 – 16.10
Ceren Göğüş, “Self-Representation of
Ottoman Women through Public Projects.”
İstanbul Kültür University
16.10 – 16.30
Jaroslaw Pietrzak, “Polish abbess as
restorers of churches and monasteries in the
Eighteenth Century in the light of monastery
University of the National Education
Commission, Krakow
16.30 – 16.50
Coffee break
16.50 – 17.10
Konrad Niemira, “Architecture, Literature and Sexual Agency in Helena Radziwłł’s Arkadia Landscape Garden.” Museum of Literature / Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.

17.10 – 17.30
Sigrid de Jong, “Women as Agents of Change:
Female Interventions in Parisian Architecture.”
ETH Zürich
17:30 – 18.10
18:10 – 18:40
Chatterjee, “Remembering (and Forgetting)
Ahilya Bai Holkar’s Architectural Legacy.”
Dean of the School of Design and Innovation,
RV University, India


9:30 – 11:50
Moderator: Shelley E. Roff
9.30 – 9.40
Shelley E. Roff, “Introduction: Matronage in
a New Light.”
University of Texas at San Antonio

9.40 – 9.50
Margaret Woodhull, “Women and Public
Buildings Around the Ancient Mediterranean:
Some Thoughts on What and Why They
University of Colorado, Denver
9.50 – 10.00
Jyoti Pandey Sharma, “Invisible Patrons
and Stewardship of the Faith: The Begami
Masjids (Mosques built by Mughal Ladies) of
the Mughal Badshahi Shahar (Imperial City)
School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi
10.00 – 10.10
Alper Metin, “Women Shaping the Ottoman
Capital, from Saliha to Nakşıdil Sultan
Università di Bologna 10.10 – 10.20
Hannah Mawdsley and Eleanor Harding,
“Unpicking the evidence of Elizabeth
Murray’s role in the expansion of Ham
National Trust, UK
10.20 – 10.30
Mercedes Simal López, “Elizabeth Farnese,
Builder of the Majesty of Philip V.”
Universidad de Jaén
10.30 – 10.40
Priscilla Sonnier, “‘Noble Minded Sister’:
Grizelda Steevens and Dublin’s Steevens’
Hospital (1717-1733).”
University College Dublin
10:40 – 10:50
Julie Beckers, “Rebuilding for Observance:
Architectural changes to Santa Maria di
Monteluce in Perugia post Reform, c. 1448-
University of Leu

11:30 – 11:50
Chair and co-chairs: Shelley E. Roff,
Consuelo Lollobrigida, Francesca Riccardo


Shelley E. Roff

Consuelo Lollobrigida

Francesca Riccardo

Shelley E. Roff

Shelley E. Roff is an Associate Professor and architectural historian at the University of Texas at San Antonio whose specialization is in the art and architecture of medieval Spain.  Her current research focuses on women engaged in architectural design, the building trades, and construction labor in medieval and early modern Europe.  She is the editor of a forthcoming volume, Women and the Built Environment before 1800 (Routledge), and recent publications on women are “Did Women Design or Build Before the Industrial Age?” (Routledge, 2021) and “Appropriate to Her Sex?  Women’s Participation on the Construction Site in Medieval and Early Modern Europe,” (Palgrave, 2010).  As a former associate chair of the Women in Architecture affiliate group of the Society of Architectural Historians, she co-hosted the SAH CONNECTS virtual panel, “The Advent of Women Architectural Professionals, a US-UK Comparative Perspective,“ for Women’s History Month 2021.  Dr. Roff’s research has been supported by numerous fellowships, including the 2019 NEH Faculty Award, the Bogliasco Study Center for the Arts and Humanities, and the Fulbright Foundation.

Consuelo Lollobrigida

Consuelo Lollobrigida is an art historian with an MA and a Ph.D. degree in Art History from Sapienza University, Rome (IT). Professor of Art History at the University of Arkansas Rome Program, she is the curator of the Annual International Women in the Arts Conference.

She studied with Silvia Danesi Squarzina and Vera Fortunati, the founders of gender studies in art in Italy.

Her field of expertise is women artists and studies, museum studies and Rome Renaissance and Baroque history and art. Since 2008 she has been taking part to conferences and meetings, all over the world, on women artists in 17th and 18th century, such as: RSA, Feminist Art Conference, Jane Fortune Foundation and in many universities (Bologna, Milan, Roma Tre, Granada, Madrid, Jaen, Washington).

She taught Museum Studies and Didactic of Art at Sapienza and worked as researcher in Italian and international Museums such as the Macro Rome, Soprintendenza, Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Barberini Museo di Criminologia in Rome.

As writer she authored many scholar articles and books, such as Plautilla Bricci. Pictura et Architectura celebris. L’architettrice del Barocco Romano; Following Women Artists. A Guide of Rome; Maria Luigia Raggi. Il Capriccio Architettonico tra Arcadia e Grand Tour; Introduzione alla Museologia. Strumenti e Metodi per operatori museali.

At the RC she teaches: Renaissance and Baroque Architecture, The Grand Tour of Europe, Art History, Women Artists from Renaissance to contemporary, Art as History.

Francesca Riccardo

Francesca Riccardo is an Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Arkansas Rome Program. She is Ph.D. in Sustainable Urban Design with a background in architectural composition.
Since 2006 she has dealt with research and education in architecture, focusing on neighborhood regeneration and housing. In 2008, she defended her Ph.D. thesis, “Renovation strategies for social housing estates,” at the Roma Tre University, Italy. She did most of her research at the Delft University of Technology, Holland, thanks to a one-year scholarship from the Rotary Foundation by Rotary International. After a two years research contract at this university, she returned to Italy, where she worked as a researcher and teacher at the Venice University Institute of Architecture, IUAV, the Sapienza University of Rome, and the University Studies Abroad Consortium of the Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo.
Since 2014 she has been working at the University of Arkansas Rome Program, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate students: Architectural Design Studio, Advanced Design Studio – Urban Focus, Advanced Architecture Studies (Ways of Seeing the Periphery), Landscape Architecture Design Studio, Interior Design Studio, Architecture of the City (on-site drawings and analysis for architects), Visual Journaling (on-site drawings and analysis for interior designers), Modern and Contemporary Rome (history and on-site analysis), and Interior Design Tours (on-site summer explorations of Italian Beauty)

Keynote speaker

Dr. Anuradha Chatterjee is Professor and Dean, School of Design and Innovation, RV University. She is an Indian-born Australian academic practitioner in architecture and design based in Australia and India. Dr Chatterjee is Regional Editor Asia Pacific, TEXTILES: Cloth and Culture; a Registered Architect at the Council of Architecture, India; an Associate of Australian Institute of Architects; and elected member of the Guild of St George. She is the author of three books as solo editor Surface and Deep Histories (Cambridge Scholars Publishing); author, Built, Unbuilt, and Imagined Sydney (Copal Publishing); author, John Ruskin and the Fabric of Architecture (Routledge). She is the Area Editor (Asia) for the fourth publication, The Bloomsbury Global Encyclopedia of Women in Architecture 1960-2015 (eds Karen Burns and Lori Brown, forthcoming Oct 2024). Her fifth book is an edited collection titled Architectures of Ageing in Place (under contract, Routledge, 2025.


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