7 September 1908, late summer: into a sultry Polytechnic classroom, a graduation commission is puzzled, though not because of the evaluation. With which professional title will they deliberate in favour of Emma Strada, the young woman waiting outside? The members are torn between Ingegnere (the male form) and Ingegneressa (the female form); at the end, they will stick with the male form. 114 years later, we know what the correct form is: Emma Strada is the first Ingegnera (female engineer) in Italy, while Ada Bursi is the first registered female architect in Piedmont. They are the protagonists, two pioneers in the construction field who worked in Turin, facing society, with professionalism and bravery, working and thriving in male-dominated fields. Emma Strada, 1884, worked in his father's studio, developing rails, routes, aqueducts all over Italy, Ada Bursi instead was born in 1906 in Verona, and will move in her teens to Turin. Following an artistic education, she obtained a degree in architecture in 1938 and for 35 years she worked in the Municipality’s construction office, contributing to rebuilding the city after WWII and offering to the community her capabilities and artistic sensitivity.

As authors, in the last few years our professional paths led us to cross stories of talented, strong women who faced society in order to honor their ideas, their choices and capabilities. However, due to absent archives, studying these characters would always turn out to be impossibile, and the research would be abandoned because there was no material to support it. Finding Ada Bursi’s professional archive was fundamental for this project. Blueprints and work notes created a solid ground base and made it easier to build our narrative. Bursi’s drawing encouraged us, and Emma Strada’s period pictures fascinated us thanks to the strength she radiates from the images. We think it’s vital to reconstruct the biographies of these two women, who managed to live unique lives, free from social pressures and conventions.

Paola Rota
Director of photography
Original Music
Beatrice Zanin
Production Director
Giulia Guasco
Executive production
con il sostegno di Film Commission Torino Piemonte - Piemonte Doc Film Fund - sviluppo giugno 2022
Last update: 20 September 2022