Gender ambiguity is nothing new in fashion or popular culture. It seems that very decade breeds an iconic androgyne. The 80s had more than you can count, including Annie Lenox and Grace jones, perhaps two names synonymous with the term. The 90s saw the rise of grunge, girls juxtaposing florals with tough boots and ripped denim. It was also the return of the shaggy mop, a-la Cobain for the gents... Cobain himself often challenging the boundaries of gender.
Now, while androgyny is something that holds subtle mystique in the fashion world, it is still a category within itself, defining boy-girls and girl-boys everywhere (but not ladyboys!), I question what would make an androgynous building?
Buildings of robust nature, fashioned from masonry are often said to be undeniably masculine. Rectelinearity and solid load bearing features bear resemblance to the traditional utopian notion of man; decisive, bold and almost indestructable.
Other buildings are described as having feminine characteristics. Embracing the ephemeralality of the elements, wind, water, light, and being more playful with materiality, structure and form.
But what would make a building or space androgynous?
A petite rectilinear glass pavilion?
A robust, free form masonry cavern?
Maybe a space with as little definition as possible?
Perhaps it does come down to materiality, or even just the final finish applied to the materials used. Gloss or matte, smooth or textured, soft or hard, coloured or neutral.
Maybe a building or space cannot be truly androgynous, but simply devoid of gender? A blank canvas?
or maybe every space is blank until it is inhabited and it's inhabitants project themselves upon it, at which time it takes on an identity of which gender is a part?
I guess the real question i'm pondering here is whether androgyny is as superficial as a floral brooch on your new Comme Des Garcons Homme Plus cardigan, or some floral wallpaper in your drawing room, or is it something deeper? The very essence of what something stands for.
at this stage, I would conclude that it is not someting definite, but something that must be decided n each specific case.