Architect’s Journal has reported on an embarrassing – and controversial – fumble from the BBC. Not only has the media outlet been criticized for “largely ignoring women architects in its series The Brits Who Built the Modern World,” but it’s now come under fire for an image (appearing at the beginning of episode 3) in which Patty Hopkins is photoshopped out of a group that includes her husband Michael Hopkins, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Nicholas Grimshaw, and Terry Farrell.
The six architects are featured in RIBA’s tie-in-exhibition; however, as the series chose to focus on the five male architects, the photographer removed Ms. Hopkins from the shot (unbeknownst to the BBC).
Lucy Mori of KL Mori Business Consulting for Architects told Architect’s Journal: ‘I am shocked that women’s contribution to architecture has again been “airbrushed” from this populist history programme.”
The Missing 32% Project has a mission: to understand why in the US women represent about 50% of students enrolled in architecture programs, but fewer than 18% of licensed architects (and fewer in leadership roles). If you too are curious about this unusual discrepancy, you can help find an answer by participating in the Equity in Architecture Survey. The Missing 32% Project (along with AIA San Francisco) will use the results to determine best practices for attracting, promoting, and retaining talent in architecture.For more information about the project and to take the survey, go to http://themissing32percent.com/.
Image of pie chart via shutterstock.com
Maria Smith, shortlisted for The Architect’s Journal’s Emerging Woman Architect of the Year, has just published an article in The Architectural Review titled “Why do Women Really Leave Architecture?” – an article that, like many over the last year, attempts to tackle the tricky question of why women (who make up over 40% of architecture students in the US but only 23% of the profession) leave architecture. For the first few paragraphs, I was nodding in agreement, eagerly reading something that - finally - promised to offer a different perspective on the “women in architecture” question.
Unfortunately, a few paragraphs later, all that promise falls terribly flat. Smith spends a good amount of time setting up a fabulous argument, and then – disappointingly – falls into the very traps she was hoping to break wide open. By the article’s conclusion, I was less satisfied than when I started, wondering: is this even the right question we should be asking?
In response to the AJ’s third Women in Architecture Survey, the Guardian has presented this list of 10 influential and emerging female architects to keep an eye out for in 2014. While some entries, such as Zaha Hadid,Amanda Levete and Alison Brooks may be no surprise, the list also features some lesser-known names, like Nathalie Rozencwajg of Rare and Hannah Lawson of John McAslan + Partners, who promise to rise to greater prominence. You can see the full list here.
La Maison au Bord de L’Eau, an unrealized beach house in Miami designed by architect, designer, planner and photographer Charlotte Perriand, has been built by Louis Vuitton for a Design Miami 2013 satellite exhibition. Designed in 1934, the house was first conceived for a design contest held by L’architecture d’aujourd’hui magazine with the aim of creating a simple, economical form of holiday lodging for the mass market. After winning second prize it was never built but, eight decades later, “Perriand’s studies prove quite contemporary in light of the advancements in wooden architecture.”
Following a year of high-profile debates surrounding women in architecture, the results from the Architects’ Journal (AJ) third annual survey entitled Women in Architecture has been revealed. According to the AJ, “two thirds of women in architecture have suffered sexual discrimination at work, an eight point increase since the survey began in 2011″, and “88% of women respondents believe that having children puts women at a disadvantage in architecture.” Even though women in architecture believe that they are paid equally to men, they can in fact “earn as much as £10,000 ($16,500) less than their male counterparts.” More, after the break.
Architects’ Journal has just released the shortlist for their Women in Architecture Awards, which aim to “raise the profile of women architects in a sector where women still face an alarming degree of discrimination.”
Christine Murray, Editor of Architects’ Journal, commented: “I’m delighted to announce this year’s shortlist, which includes the women behind the celebrated Library of Birmingham, the new Stonehenge development and the Giant’s Causeway visitor centre. The awards celebrate design excellence and leadership — qualities needed to succeed as an architect — and especially among women, who are under-represented in the construction industry.” See the list, after the break.
A lot of things happened in 2013. Zaha was in the news about every other week. She was copied in China and then accused of designing a giant vagina in Qatar. Rem’s son is producing a documentary about his dad. We lost Prentice Women’s Hospital. We almost lost the American Folk Art Museum. There were a lot of stellar exhibitions and one that took things On the Road. It was the year of high-rise after high-rise, with Rem changing the game yet again by lifting the podium off the ground and sticking to his formal guns, refusing to indulge in curvy shapes.
Things at Architecture for Humanity were shaken up with the departure of co-founders Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr. Resiliency became the new sustainability. China suddenly became defined less for its adventurous architecture and urbanism and more for its darker, smoggier flipside. My hometown, Los Angeles got a few more bike lanes, some big plans for its concrete river, plus a new Bloomberg-esque mayor with attendant sustainability tsar. There were people complaining about architecture and telling us why they left the profession. Kanye got attacked for daring to tell us why he likes architecture, and then architecture loved talking about Kanye for weeks on end until we just wanted architecture to shut up about Kanye. Poor Kanye. There are so many things we could say were key in 2013. It’s been a great year. And there were also a lot of fantastic buildings.
But in terms of issues, what really stands out from 2013 (right up there with “resilience”) is equality – and nothing represented this better than Denise Scott Brown v. Pritzker Prize. In arguing that she has a rightful and equal place alongside husband Robert Venturi, she (along with Harvard GSD’s Women in Design organization) woke a sleeping giant—but not for the first time.
“Is the building really in charge of a woman architect?” I asked the foreman… The man read me a powerful sermon of just three short sentences, punctuated with the earnestness of a reform orator. “An architect’s an architect,” he said, “and you can count them all on the fingers of one hand. Now, this building is in charge of a real architect and her name happens to be Julia Morgan, but it might as well be John Morgan.”
Journalist in 1906 upon learning of Julia Morgan winning a new commission. (Courtesy Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Robert E. Kennedy Library)
The recent announcement that Julia Morgan has posthumously received the 2014 AIA Gold Medal, the AIA’s top honor, while positive and inspirational, raises some important questions concerning the recognition and advancement of women in the profession. She is the first woman, living or dead, to receive the honor in the award’s 106-year history. From 1907 to 2012, all recipients have been men.
As part of their annual survey of the world’s largest architecture practices, this year BD has also included a survey to help them quantify which countries are best suited for women with careers in architecture - particularly those who wish to work for large companies. In order to create these rankings, they found the ratio of male to female architects in various countries, and also sought out publicly available data on maternity and paternity leave requirements, and the average cost of childcare as a percentage of average wage. You can read more about their sometimes surprising results after the break.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced today their decision to posthumously award the 2014 AIA Gold Medal to Julia Morgan, FAIA (1872-1957), “whose extensive body of work has served as an inspiration to a generation of female architects.”
“Julia Morgan is unquestionably among the greatest American architects of all time and a true California gem,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in her recommendation letter. “Morgan’s legacy has only grown over the years. She was an architect of remarkable breadth, depth, and consistency of exceptional work, and she is widely known by the quality of her work by those who practice, teach, and appreciate architecture.”
In a profession all-too-often associated with and dominated by men, women have begun to carve a space for themselves in the architecture world – but still few are recognized as they deserve.
So Alice Shure and Janice Stanton, the founders of Amici Productions LLC, began work on a new documentary, Making Space: a visual register for future generations of architects that will document what is changing in architecture today and how these changes are affecting women.
After interviewing over 30 architects, Shure and Stanton selected five women, five “rising stars” to hi-light. The documentary will show their day-to-day lives as well as tell the stories of how they achieved success.
Thanks to a recent Kickstarter campaign, this project will soon be a reality. But to get your sneak peek into these five female pioneers, read on after the break.
“In the 10 years I’ve been running my architectural practice, I [...] have gotten accustomed to people assuming that my male employees — whether younger or older — are the lead architects who will be making final decisions. Yet this time a lingering frustration colored the rest of my day, a sense that while feminism has made significant progress on a conscious level, little change has trickled down into the unconscious of our culture.” Check out the rest of Esther Sperber’s column for Lilith, in which she details the past travails of female architects (particularly Denise Scott Brown’s), and their future mission, here.
All too often when it comes to the issue of women disappearing from the architecture profession, the question is: why? But perhaps we really should be asking: how? How can we keep women in the profession? How can more women advance to positions of power? And how can women start earning the money they deserve?
Well, the best way for women to start earning more, is to start asking for it – and from the very beginning. With this in mind, ArchiteXX (“we ask how not Y”) is pairing up with the Wage Project, an organization dedicated to educating women about the importance of learning how to negotiate better salaries, to host two workshops in New York City on October 19th (one from 1pm – 3pm and the other at 3:30pm – 5:30pm).
ArchiteXX, whose web site will be launching soon, is the new name of “Women In Architecture,” a group dedicated to transforming the architecture profession for women. It’s co-founders are Nina Freedman, the Director of Projects for Shigeru Ban Architects, and Lori Brown, an architect, author and associate professor at Syracuse University.
Despite a rise in female architecture students, the amount of women in architecture continues drop in the UK. Though this is not the case in many parts of the world – as female architects reportedly outnumber the men in South America - the UK has yet to find a solution to equalize the numbers for professional women in architecture. Jane Duncan, founder of Jane Duncan Architects and RIBA equality and diversity champion, weighs in the issue by asking “Why are so many women leaving architecture, and how can we buck the trend?” here on The Guardian.
“In architecture’s ‘Mad Men’ era, there was a woman.” So begins David W. Dunlap’s eloquent eulogy, published yesterday in The New York Times, to Natalie de Blois. Dunlap explores de Blois’ significant contributions to Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill’s iconic buildings, including the Lever House, as well as the significant hurdles she had to overcome. As SOM partner Nathaniel Owings wrote of de Blois in his autobiography: “Her mind and hands worked marvels in design — and only she and God would ever know just how many great solutions, with the imprimatur of one of the male heroes of S.O.M., owed much more to her than was attributed by either S.O.M. or the client.” Read the entire article at The New York Times.