The petition demanding that architect Denise Scott Brown be retroactively acknowledged as a joint recipient of the 1991 Pritzker Prize has surpassed 12,000 signatures. Notable supporters include past Pritzker Prize recipients Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Scott Brown’s own husband and partner of 40 years, Robert Venturi. The success of this Change.org campaign, fueled by two young women of the Harvard GSD‘s Women In Design club, is larger than the one female architect it aims to honor – it is a campaign to rethink the difficult and often unjust position of the woman in architecture.
Read more after the break.
An intense gender debate has been making headlines after Denise Scott Brown called for Pritzker to “salute the notion of joint creativity” and retrospectively acknowledge her role in Robert Venturi’s 1991 Pritzker Prize during an AJ Women in Architecture luncheon in late March. Since, nearly 2,000 advocates have passionately rallied in Brown’s support by signing an online petition created by Harvard’s GSD Women in Design Group. Among the signatures include architects Zaha Hadid, Farshid Moussavi and Hani Rashid, along with MoMA senior curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli, architecture photographer Iwan Baan, Rice School of Architecture dean Sarah Whiting, and Berkeley College of Environmental Design dean Jennifer Wolch.
Responding to the outrage, Martha Thorne, executive director of Pritzker Prize, promised to “refer this important matter to the current jury at their next meeting”, respectfully pointing out that this presents an “unusual situation” considering each Laureate is chosen annually by a panel of independent jurors who change over the years.
More on the controversy after the break…
Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, we want to take a look at one of the most pressing issues facing architecture today: the lack of women architects. Articles abound about the what of gender inequality in architecture – in the UK, for example, only 21% of architects are women, and they earn 25% less than their male counterparts – but strikingly few discuss the how of lessening that gender gap.
Read the opinions of two prominent female architects, and provide your own, after the break…
Czech-born architect Eva Jiřičná has been announced, by unanimous decision of the esteemed AJ Judging Panel, as the Winner of the 2013 Jane Drew Prize “for her outstanding contribution to the status of women in architecture.” Zaha Hadid, prize judge and winner of last year’s Jane Drew Prize, lauded Jiřičná’s for redefining the idea of retail space with her innovated use of industrial materials and famous steel and glass staircases.
Fellow judge Ivan Harbour of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners agreed, stating: “If you walk into any Apple store today, in the end, they all started with Eva.”
In addition to this, Jiřičná’s dedicated mentorship of numerous students and colleagues throughout her career has proved to be “incredibly influential” to the advancement of the profession and women in architecture.
Jiřičná, who judged the inaugural Jane Drew Prize in 1998, said: “I feel very humbled and honoured to win this award. Jane Drew was one of my major heroines. When you are starting out you look at the lives of women in your and other professions. As you progress you appreciate what these women achieved – how courageous they were. Jane Drew was one of those women. She was a pioneer.”
More on Eva Jiřičná after the break…
Looking back on architectural history, you could be forgiven for thinking that women were an invention of the 1950’s, alongside spandex and power steering – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Big names like Le Corbusier, Mies, Wright and Kahn often had equally inspired female peers, but the rigid structure of society meant that their contributions tended to be overlooked. In honor of International Woman’s Day 2013, we take a look at the 10 greatest overlooked women in architectural history.
Read the full list after the break…
An article published in The Telegraph last week has been getting a lot of negative attention for its headline: “For safer, prettier cities pick a woman to build them.”
Oh dear. It’s certainly hard to get past that third word – prettier. The Globe and Mail lamented the word’s “sexist twinge.” A blogger for bricksandclicks suggested that the unflattering adjective “would never have headlined in an article about male architects.” And as Kristen Richards, the Editor-in-Chief of ArchNewsNow.com perfectly put it in her Newsletter: “‘prettier’?!!? this headline wins our groaner-of-the-year award.”
But, groan-worthiness aside, it seems rather unproductive to spend time poking at “pretty,” when the central thesis of the article is so darned sexist in itself – for women and men architects alike.
In a recent article for The Guardian, Hannah Rosin interviewed Emily White, a Facebook executive, who noted that our lives are no longer about work/life balance, but rather the work/life “merge.” Much like women in high-power executive positions, women in architecture (and particularly mothers) similarly must learn how to negotiate never-ending demands – from the workplace and the home – on a daily basis.
Samara Greenwood discusses this difficult “work/family equation” below. You can find the full, un-edited version at Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture, If you like this post, you may also enjoy Work/Life/Work balance, by Andrew Maynard.
My own motherhood + architecture adventure began six years ago – so far, it has been a pretty wild ride. There are times I have felt invincible, like I’ve found the magic key to a brilliant life. But more often than not life has felt out of whack, like something wasn’t quite right. Again and again, I’ve attempted to put my finger on the problem, to find the missing piece of the jigsaw. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t.
I don’t think I am alone.
Today at 6:30pm in New York City, Design critic Alexandra Lange will moderate a panel of award-winning female architects (Galia Solomonoff, Claire Weisz of WXY Design, and Marion Weiss of Weiss/Manfredi) on “their experiences in a male-dominated field and how the gender landscape has changed since the start of their own careers.”
According to an excellent blog post by Lange, she already knows the first question she’s going to ask: How do they feel about Architect Barbie? But the panel will go beyond gendered toys. As Lange points out, many women have been reluctant to discuss the issues facing women in architecture, preferring to let their work speak for itself; however, the reality is that little has changed for women over the last 15 years (As Lange says: “when I graduated from college in 1994 the percentage of female members of the AIA was 15 percent. In 2010, it was 17 percent.”)
The time is ripe to truly explore this issue and possible solutions -including systemic change and improved work/life balance (not just for women, but for all architects).
If you’re interested in taking part in this panel, you can buy your tickets ($20) here.
Through research, discussions and essays from a variety of resources, Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture is a platform, a coach, and an inspiration that is available to women worldwide in an effort to bridge the gender gap that exist in the historically male dominant profession of architecture. Launched by a team of scholars led by Dr. Naomi Stead from The University of Queensland and developed and edited by Justine Clark from The University of Melbourne, this website is relevant to all members of the profession, women and men, in all parts of the world. It highlights the reasons why gender gaps are felt as in “implicit bias” whether in pay scale or upward mobility, even though discrimination and prejudices may not be explicit. In this regard, the website and its collection of resources, aims to create a forum for a dialogue about the actual and perceived barriers that empowers women to challenge the social structure that fosters this proven under-representation, whether it is due to professional practices and “gendered behavioral practices” or pressures that women feel to leave the profession at a much higher rate than men.
More after the break.
“I have practised Architecture at a time when Architects were full of hope and optimism. At a time when we felt that the changes in Planning and on Architecture would change living conditions and improve the world. A time when there was great hope for the future.”
Zaha Hadid has been announced, by unanimous decision of the AJ Women in Architecture Judging Panel, as the Winner of the Jane Drew Prize “for her outstanding contribution to the status of women in architecture.”
The panel has cited Hadid’s many accomplishments (she was the first female architect to win the Pritzker Prize, designed the Sterling Prize-winning MAXXI Museum in Rome and the Guangzhou Opera House in China) as evidence that she ”has broken the glass ceiling more than anyone and is practically a household name. Her achievement is remarkable.”
However, the choice of Hadid, always a controversial figure, brings into question the aim of the Prize, and forces us to explore what is really needed to improve the state of women in Architecture today.
Read More on Hadid and the controvery surrounding the Prize after the break…
No other profession can make the proverbial male measuring contest more visual and dramatic than architecture. Whether it is about being the tallest, most lavish, most modernist, most minimalist, most post-modernist, or most deconstructed, too many, but not all, of history’s celebrated architects come across like a bunch of juvenile boys standing on a stream bank trying to project their urine further than the next. Even with noble ambitions, their narcissistic “fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love,” have often put them out of touch with the plight of their fellow human beings. I will offer a simple and very unoriginal solution to this problem; hire more female architects.
Earlier this week RIBA unveiled its results from the December 2011 Future Trends Survey. Andrea Klettner of bdonline reports that although the overall trend in architectural practices is a decrease in confidence over future workloads, female employees seem to be hit dispropotionately by the challenges the industries faces. RIBA’s Future Trends Survey also found that female architectural staff fell 4% since 2009 and that between January 2009 and its most recent poll, female architectural staff fell from 28% to 21%. This news only emphasizes the findings that Architects’ Journal discovered after conducting its first Women in Architecture survey which quizzed 700 women “about career challenges as well as sexual discrimination, children, pay and role models”.
Read more after the break.
At ArchDaily, we’ve always supported the WIAfund and how they support women to become professionals and leaders in Architecture in America. That’s why we’re very happy to share this news with all our readers. Today is the day the WIAfund has been waiting for.
Jessica Vitali, an intern at Newman Architects and the 2nd WIAfund award recipient, has passed all of her Architecture Registration Exams. “This is what the award was established for: to lend a hand, and make a small difference, for women emerging professionals in the field.” says WIAfund Founder Tabitha Ponte.
The WIAfund, awarded at least twice per year, helps women by gifting the study materials for the exam. The next award, scheduled to close on August 31st, is open for the first time to 1st year undergraduate architecture students.
Back in March we told you about the WIA (Women in Architecture) fund, and how they support women to become professionals and leaders in Architecture in America. In that ocasion, they published “To Become an Architect”, a guide for new students and interns to help raise money for the fund.
Now, they are presenting an eBook in continuation to the original, with more insight from more women professionals, plus a few talented emerging ones. The eBook is in PDF and a portion of the sales will go to the fund. To find out more about the fund click here. You can find the eBook here.
On that ocassion, they had recently published the book “To Become an Architect (a guide, mostly for women)”, a guide for new students and interns to raise money for this fund. Now, we are happy to tell you that Marla St. John became the first WIA fund award recipient ever (see more details here).
Also, during the week of AIA National Convention, WIAfund will be hosting their first Networking event in order to get together, meet, chat and speak architecture. The event will take place this Friday June 11, from 5 to 6pm in SushiSamba, 600 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Florida. For more information, go to WIAfund’s official website.
“In the profession of Architecture today women currently make up about 50% of Graduate students. However, in the profession itself, licensed women practitioners make up only about 15%. Why do you think we see such drastic percentage drops? Why don’t we, women, make it to the end?”
They recently published the book “To Become an Architect (a guide, mostly for women)”, a guide for new students, and interns, along with personal insight from Angie Brooks (Pugh+Scarpa), Anne Fougeron (Fougeron Architecture), Dawn Merkes (Group 4 Architecture) and more, to raise money for this fund.
You can buy the book right here.