“I cannot, in whole conscience, recommend architecture as a profession for girls. I know some women who have done well at it, but the obstacles are so great that it takes an exceptional girl to make a go of it. If she insisted on becoming an architect, I would try to dissuade her. If then, she was still determined, I would give her my blessing–she could be that exceptional one.”
– Pietro Belluschi, FAIA from the 1955 New York Life Insurance Company brochure, “Should You Be an Architect?”
With great fanfare, in mid-October 2014 on the opening night of the 6th annual Architecture and Design Film Festival in Manhattan, Festival Director Kyle Bergman announced that the festival’s special focus this year was on women in architecture. “We’ve been wanting to feature women in architecture for a while now,” he told me, “and this year we finally have the films to make that happen,” referring to three new documentaries: Gray Matters (2014), Making Space: 5 Women Changing the Face of Architecture (2014) and Zaha Hadid: Who Dares Wins (2013).
The Architects’ Journal as named Teresa Borsuk of Pollard Thomas Edward “Woman Architect of the Year 2015.” The prestigious title, awarded last year to Mecanoo’s Francine Houben, is being presented to Borsuk for her “remarkable” ability to improve equality within her practice.
Borsuk was chosen over an impressive shortlist of women architects. Find out 10 facts about Borsuk and see why the jury consider her to be an ideal role model for future generations, after the break.
Inspired by Despina Stratigakos’ essay “Unforgetting Women Architects: From the Pritzker to Wikipedia,” ArchiteXX has launched #wikiD, a global event to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8. With the slogan of “Women. Wikipedia. Design,” #wikiD prompts people to “write into Wikipedia women designers, architects and all those involved in the creation of our environment.”
Learn more about the event and how to get involved after the break.
Grafton Architects’ co-founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have been jointly awarded the fourth annual Jane Drew Prize for their “massive influence” on the profession. The “hardworking” Dublin-based duo impressed the jury, which included Norman Foster and Patty Hopkins, for not being “afraid to speak in a language that is feminine” yet “produce buildings which are robust and full of conviction.”
“Grafton’s buildings are consistently high quality. Their approach is solid,” added the jury. “They are business-savvy.”
Fresh from their appearance on the AJ’s Emerging Woman Architect of the Year shortlist, London-based vPPR Architects spoke to Crane.tv about working in a male-dominated industry as a practice helmed by three women. “Our identity stands out, so it’s easy for people to remember us,” said co-founder Catherine Pease. “We do bring something different to the company than three male directors.”
Another of the firm’s co-founders Tatiana von Preussen described vPPR’s overall approach to design as being “interested in clusters of buildings… in a way it’s not really so much about the certain sector.”
“It’s more about the approach to different kinds of use,” von Preussen said, “…the spaces in and around them and how these two things relate to each other.”
Judges Patty Hopkins, Eva Jiricna and John McAslan have awarded Jane Priestman the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize. The 85-year-old British designer, lauded for being a “visionary” client, is the first to receive this lifetime achievement award, which honors non-architects which have significantly contributed to the architectural profession.
“Her contribution to future generations is immeasurable,” said the judges. “Priestman had the belief that architecture could change people lives, and wanted to work with architects who could help her do it.”
Now in its fourth year, the Architects’ Journal’s Women in Architecture survey is firmly embedded into the discussion of gender roles within the architecture profession. Collected from an anonymous cross-section of practitioners, clients, consultants, engineers, developers, PRs, and academics, the 2015 survey focused on the UK alone, and saw the number of participants soar to an unprecedented high of 1,104 respondents, 20% of whom were male.
Results from previous years’ surveys have sparked discussion amidst the architectural and mainstream media alike, and have been cited by RIBA and the UK government. The survey covers four main topics – pay, practice, education, and children — commencing with broader questions about discrimination before narrowing its aperture to more specific issues. View the results of the 2015 survey after the break.
Architects’ Journal has released the shortlist of their annual Women in Architecture awards, naming 17 established and emerging practitioners who have raised the profile of women architects “in a sector where women still face an alarming degree of discrimination.” In honor of their selection, the nominees have shared their advice for aspiring female architects.
See who was shortlisted and find out what they believe takes for women to succeed in the profession of architecture, after the break.
Are you currently enrolled in a NAAB-accredited architecture program or other degree-granting institution? You may qualify for the 2015 WIA (Women in Architecture) Fund‘s Emerging Professional Inspiration Award, now open to all US-based and international applicants. Working to inspire emerging professionals, one woman at a time, the WIA Fund will award one national and one international professional with a cash grant to help further their career. Depending on the quality and quantity of entries, other awards may also be given. Entries will be shortlisted and winners will be selected by both a committee and the public via the WIA Fund Facebook page. Submissions are due January 10, 2015. For more details, visit their page, here.
Judith Edelman, FAIA, an American architect and feminist who hoped to rid architecture of its “gentleman’s club” status, has passed away at 91. Starting her career in an era when hiring “girls” wasn’t the norm, Edelman’s work to elevate women in architecture has paved the way for many of today’s leading architects; She was the first woman ever elected to the executive committee of the AIA’s New York chapter and she helped co-found the Alliance of Women in Architecture in 1972. Edelman’s built work, also highly admired, ranged from affordable housing to schools and health clinics, mostly in the New York City area. You can read Edelman’s obituary here.
Last March, Caroline James and Arielle Assouline-Lichten spearheaded a campaign that called on Pritzker to retroactively recognize Denise Scott Brown for her role in the 1991 Pritzker Prize, won by Robert Venturi. Continuing their quest to bring the issue of gender equality into a positive and progressive light, James has conducted a series of interviews with five women architects at the 2014 Venice Biennale to share their rich and complex experiences and offer diverse perspectives. Conversations ranging from the controversial role of Modernism to the journey towards inclusion and the challenges of opening offices abroad, include insight from Caroline Bos of UNStudio, Louise Braverman, Odile Decq, Yasmine Shariff of Dennis Sharp Architects, and Benedetta Tagliabue of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT. Watch the video above to view the discussions in-depth.
How do architects stack up against other professions on male/female ratio? Recent data on workers in the United States reveals some compelling information on where women are working – and where men hold sway. Construction work leans heavily male, while research and analyst work is led by women. Where does architecture fit on the scale? See the full infographic showing the percentage of men versus women in architecture after the break.
Today is American architect Denise Scott Brown’s 83rd birthday. It is no secret that the woman has made an indelible mark on architectural history and has significantly advanced the role of women in architecture, though many would argue that her success hasn’t fully been accredited.
In light of Brown’s success and birthday, we would like to share some fascinating statistics presented by Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) that measure the progress on gender in architecture. According to the report, women make up 51% of the 316 million people residing in the US, however only 25% of the 193,000 registered architects are women. This presents the question, “Where are all the women?”
The statistics on US women in architecture, after the break.
As part of CNN’s Leading Women series, Sheena McKenzie explores the work of Turkish architect Zeynep Fadillioglu - perhaps the first female architect to design a mosque, now on her third. In buildings where men and women are traditionally separated for worship, and women are often given a smaller space, Fadillioglu “purposely placed the women’s section in one of the most beautiful parts of the light-flooded dome” in Istanbul’s Sakirin Mosque. McKenzie concludes that although “Fadillioglu might have made a name for herself designing mosques, you don’t needn’t be religious to admire their beauty.”
A mosque isn’t for a certain type of person, or certain type of area. It’s supposed to be used by anyone and everyone.
Read the article in full here.
Of all the changes in architectural typologies in recent years, one of the most dramatic – and the most documented – is the transition from corporate to more casual, ‘fun’ office buildings. This change has infiltrated companies from tiny 5-person start-ups to Silicon Valley giants, and while it has been pioneered by tech and media companies it has certainly not been limited to them.
Most analysis of this change focuses on work patterns created by new technology or the demands of the ‘millennial’ worker, but this post originally published on Means the World - the blog of NBBJ - examines the shift away from the corporate office as a product of not just what these building are but what they represent about us as a society, arguing that “when today’s workers look at the midcentury office, they see a symbol of exclusion.”
The number of women becoming architects in the UK is increasing, according to the latest figures by the UK’s Architects Registration Board (ARB). Now, 7,538 female architects are registered with the ARB, up nearly 74% from just 10 years ago, the Architects’ Journal (AJ) reports. Yet despite the overall increase, women still only make up 22% of the profession, and represented just 38% of the new registrants in 2013.
Read on after the break for comments from female architects…
The 6th Annual Architecture and Design Film Festival is set to return to New York City on October 15th for five days of premieres and showings. With a special themed focus on Women in Architecture, the US’s largest architecture-related film festival will present over twenty five feature-length and short films in a programme curated by Kyle Bergman and Laura Cardello. Designed to provide “rare glimpses and intimate portrayals of seminal figures and growing movements in the fields of architecture, design, urbanism and fashion,” this year’s festival will also feature a 3D film series exploring six iconic structures from filmmakers such as Wim Wenders and Robert Redford.
Explore the highlights and find out more about the festival after the break.