BUILT BY WOMEN
Women's architecture has been an unsigned art - recorded in invisible ink. Architecture, our most visible three-dimensional art, is in some ways anonymous but equal for both sexes. All the same, traces of women's work had scarcely made it to the printed page a decade or so ago.
It took a ''Built by Women'' tour to introduce to many people the still walkable curves of the streets designed by Lady Deborah Moody for a Brooklyn village, done in 1656. (For her pains, Lady Moody won the label ''dangerous woman.'' It didn't help that she refused to have her children baptized before they reached the age of reason, one might add.)
The work of other, less socially strident designers who through the centuries would not be slotted into a ''woman's place'' - the hearth and the interior - have also been walked into consciousness or written into new histories and exhibitions lately, such as Susana Torre's landmark ''Women in Architecture,'' a book and show.
One of the agents most zealous in dogging this past and promoting the future of women architects is now celebrating its 10th anniversary with a tour of another sort. The New York-based Alliance of Women in Architecture (AWA) has mounted the work of 60 or so women architects on yellow boards as a traveling exhibition.
The show stops at Columbia University Feb. 15-26; the New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, Long Island, in March; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, April 8-22, plus intermediate locations (schedule available from Nancy Vigneau, 140-50 Burden Crescent, Briarwood, N.Y. 11435), and at the headquarters of the American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C., next January.
Impromptu and sometimes oblique, the boards glut the eye and mind with a wealth of work that ranges from the detailing of a stairwell to notes on the Women's School of Planning and Architecture; from a top-of-the-heap academic post held by a woman to the drafting of ''an architectural costume ball.''
It shows women in corporate niches (Lenore M. Lucey at ABC) and housing administration (Lynda Simmons at Phipps Garden), women doing Victorian porch additions, and women doing Bell Labs.