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Women: The Latest Architecture and News

Designing Spaces That Are Good for Women and Everybody Else

"We are focused on creating a just public realm," said Chelina Odbert, Hon. ASLA, CEO and founding principal of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. And by just, "we mean free, inclusive, accessible, unbiased, and equitable". A "just public realm is open to everyone.” There is unlimited access to streets and public spaces so people can travel to school and work and be full members of their communities.

Unfortunately, the public realm is instead often “intimidating, exclusionary, inaccessible, unjust, and inequitable” for many women, LGBTQIA+ people, people with disabilities, and people of color. Landscape architects, planners, and others need to understand who feels safe and comfortable in public spaces or there is a risk of perpetuating inequalities, Odbert argued.

The Painted Houses of Tiébélé: A Model for Communal Collaboration

In the south of Burkina Faso, sharing borders with the northern environs of Ghana is Tiébélé; a small village exhibiting fractal patterns of circular and rectangular buildings, housing one of the oldest ethnic groups in West Africa; the Kassena tribe. With vernacular houses dating back to the 15th century, the village’s buildings strike a distinctive character through its symbol-laden painted walls. It is an architecture of wall decoration where the community uses their building envelope as a canvas for geometric shapes and symbols of local folklore, expressing the culture’s history and unique heritage. This architecture is the product of a unique form of communal collaboration, where all men and women in the community are tasked with contributing to the construction and finishing of any new house. This practice serves as a transmission point for Kassena culture across generations.

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AIA Announces Evelyn Lee as its 2025 President

The American Institute of Architects has elected Evelyn Lee as the 2025 President-elect. During the AIA annual meeting, Lee has been selected to take the position of 2024 First VP President-Elect, and afterward to become president in 2025. AIA has also elected Heather Philip-O'Neal to serve as Treasurer between 2024-2025, and Latoya N. Kamdang as the elected At-large Director.

Evelyn Lee is the Global Head of Workplace Strategy and Innovation at Slack Technologies, Founder of the Practice of Architecture, and Co-Host of the Podcast Practice Disrupted. She is also a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). From 2020 to 2021, she served as the first female Treasurer to the AIA National Board. She is also widely published, having managed a monthly column for Contract magazine, in addition to various other online publications, where she developed recurring content on the business of architecture. Additionally, Evelyn Lee has been featured as a speaker, panelist, and moderator at national design and architecture conferences, including AIA National Convention, Dwell on Design, and Women in Green.

Kimberly Dowdell Chosen as AIA’s First Black Woman President

The American Institute of Architects has elected Kimberly Dowdell as the 100th president of the organization, making her the first Black woman to hold the position in AIA’s 165-year history. Delegates at the AIA’s annual meeting voted Dowdell to serve first as vice president for 2023. Afterward, she will become president in 2024.

During her campaign for president, Dowdell has expressed her support for minorities, while also making clear that she wants to be an AIA president for all. Her platform is based on four key areas of interest: supporting architects in practice, creating a sense of belonging and ensuring access to the architectural profession and education, addressing climate concerns, and designing for the future, considering rapid technological advances. “I firmly believe that the AIA has the power and potential to better serve our profession” she declared in a video made prior to the election.

Women in Urban Leadership: 6 Trailblazers You Should Get To Know

“Successful, vibrant, happy cities arise out of the visions of many, not the powerful few.” - Jane Jacobs.

While we’ve seen progress in female representation over the last century, women’s perspectives and voices are still significantly marginalized. This year, the UN reported that women serve as Heads of State or Government in only 22 countries and that 119 countries have never had a female leader, despite the strong case that their leadership makes for more inclusive decision-making and more representative governance. Moreover, women occupy just 10 percent of the highest-ranking jobs at the world’s leading architecture firms.

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How Did the Evolution of Women's Role in Society Change the Built Environment?

In theory and practice, in the modern era, the idea of spatial separation between home and work was related to the traditional sexual division of men and women, and of their role in life. Going back to the earliest feminist thinking in architecture, in western industrialized communities, we are elaborating in this article on women’s changing role in the 20th century and its impact on the space we experience today. 

Let's Talk About . . . Togetherness

On February 11, join d.talks for a conversation about storytelling and inclusion. At Let’s Talk About . . . Togetherness, our guest speakers will highlight the importance of stories in community building: Passed down over time, stories help shape people’s relationship to a place, to build community upon understanding and empathy . . . but, What happens when stories go missing, and some perspectives remain under the radar?

Let’s Talk About . . . Togetherness will take place on Tuesday, February 11, at the Calgary Central Library. Doors open at 6 p.m., program starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12

Women In Design 2020+ International Conference and Exhibition

The HECAR Foundation have curated the Women In Design 2020+ (WID 2020+) International Conference in Mumbai from 8th to 10th January 2020. This global platform will provide women with the opportunity to celebrate the evolution and success of their practices; innovative techniques in Architecture, Planning, Conservation and related fields; challenges faced by women in constructions working with arts and crafts and their role in pedagogy, sustainability, research and the visual arts. It is a global perspective encased in the Indian ground reality showcasing the immense capabilities, accomplishments and innovative genetic abilities of women in Architecture and Design. Celebrating path-breaking

There’s a Gender Pay Gap at Foster + Partners (Unsurprisingly)

Disparity between men and women in the workplace has long been cause for concern, both within the architectural profession and beyond. To raise awareness of the need for gender pay equality, the British government in 2017 demanded that UK-based organizations with more than 250 staff publish annual reports of the gender pay gap within their offices.

As one of the largest architecture firms in the world, and based in Battersea, London, Foster + Partners has released their report into gender pay issues, becoming one of the first architecture firms to do so. The report reveals significant under-representation of women at senior level resulting in a pay gap across the firm, and outlines a commitment to encouraging gender diversity at all levels of management.

Open Call: Pioneer Women of Latin American Landscape Architecture

The Latin American Landscape Initiative (LALI) and the International Archive of Women in Architecture Center (IAWA) invites all its members to initiate a thorough search throughout our continent for the work of the pioneer women of Landscape Architecture.

Open Call: Women and Family Complex Facility

Seoul Metropolitan City executes a design contest targeting native and foreign experts in order to construct a women and family complex facility, ‘Space Salim’, at Dongjak-gu Daebang-dong 340-3 and three lots near Dongjak-gu Daebang Station (near Daebang Station exit 2 and 3, total area 8,874.8㎡).

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: Women in Architecture

On Thursday October 15, 2015, in conjunction with Archtober and New York Archives Week, the Guggenheim will host its third Wikipedia edit-a-thon - to enhance articles related to women in architecture on Wikipedia. The Guggenheim aims to further the goals of Ada Lovelace Day for STEM, and Art+Feminism for art, in a field that, by its nature combines both. The Guggenheim will work alongside ArchiteXX, the founders of WikiD: Women Wikipedia Design #wikiD, the international education and advocacy program working to increase the number of Wikipedia articles on women in architecture and the built environment.

Fill out the Women In Architecture Survey

The Women in Architecture Survey, which is sponsored by UK magazine Architect's Journal, is open to both men and women and aims to track the perceptions of gender equality in the workplace. It's already yielded significant results - the survey last year revealed large pay gaps between male and female architects, as well as interesting perceptions of work/life balance of the different genders. Research goes towards the Architect's Journal's Women in Architecture campaign, whose goal it is to promote the status of women in the industry. You can find the survey here.

Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture

Parlour: Women, Equity, Architecture - Featured Image
© 2012 Parlour

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.