Newsletter | Jul/Aug 2014Volume 42:4 | Search
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Register Now–Missing 32% Symposium 2014!by Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
Sept 12-14 Weekend–2014 Annual Retreatby Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
We're lookng forward to enjoying another annual weekend retreat at the beautiful Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma September 12-14, with a theme this year of “Empowering Improvisation". Participants—please take time to fill out your Questionnaire (in the information packet Janet Crane emailed us) and bring copies for everyone.
Also, please remember to bring back your completed–or in-progress–sketchbooks to share. Last year’s 40th anniversary retreat, “Celebrating our Work and Ourselves”, was especially memorable as many OWA members presented their own work and professional journeys. Long time member Judy Rowe encouraged us all to continue drawing (hands–eyes–minds) and provided each of us with a lovely sketchbook and pen, as well a thought-provoking article on the role of drawing as a critical part of the thought process of architectural design.
Remembering Architect Mary Laleyanby Wendy Bertrand | Print | Email
Architect Mary Laleyan has a super special spot in OWA.
I had just graduated from the Master’s Program at the University of California in 1972 when I met Architect Mary Laleyan. An active member with the San Francisco Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, who had practiced internationally for ten years, she realized many of the problems American women in architecture were facing and that we needed to work on solutions. She had experienced a better working environment in her country of origin, Bulgaria.
Mary Laleyan, Mui Ho, and I joined forces in 1972 to trigger the founding of the Organization of Women Architects. Mary convinced those of us present when we voted on the name at an early meeting in 1973, that the name of the organization should be as women architects, not women in architecture used by some groups.
Julia Morgan's 2014 AIA Gold Medal Conferralby Sandhya Sood and Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
Sandhya Sood’s Tribute to Julia Morgan
OWA member and Principal of Accent Architecture+Design, Sandhya Sood, AIA, a member of Julia Morgan's AIA Gold Medal nomination team, was invited by the AIA California Council to write a tribute to Julia Morgan, FAIA, at the occasion of her AIA Gold Medal Conferral at the 2014 AIA national convention in Chicago on June 28. Sandhya's interview and insights on Julia Morgan's work were also featured in the video Celebrating Morgan's Enduring Legacy.
In her tribute "Julia Morgan, FAIA: California's Gold", Sandhya writes, “Morgan focused on climate responsive design, material conditions and spatial efficiency. In her mind, this approach could facilitate essential qualities that make buildings work, adapt and endure. . . By incorporating passive design, Morgan created sustainable spaces that benefit human lives through wellness, good indoor environmental quality and adaptability to changes in use."
I especially appreciated Sandhya’s concluding remarks that “Modest, quiet, unassuming women do not make history, they say. And now, as the first woman to receive the AIA Gold Medal Award, Morgan (1872-1957) has once again shattered a barrier, welcoming others of her kind to follow suit.“
Beverly Willis: "I Express Our Collective and Respectful Anger. . . I Express our Collective Joy"by Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
At the AIA's 2014 annual convention in Chicago, Architect Beverly Willis spoke out to remind us of the AIA's history with women architects while also graciously acknowledging its posthumous honoring of Julia Morgan, "Would you believe that as recently as 1978, the President of AIA declared to the press that he would never hire a woman architect?...
“It would not be until 1988, thirty-one years later [after Morgan’s death], that Sara Holmes Boutelle, an architectural historian, would write the first monograph on Morgan’s work. We women, who graduated in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, were denied a phenomenal role model, of an incredible designer and successful practitioner."
And Willis' closing remarks: “On behalf of these women practitioners, I express our collective, and respectful, anger. Historically important women designers are still not in the history books. But at this moment—on this day—in the history of the AIA, I express our collective joy.”
Beverly Willis worked as an architect for many years in San Francisco and now heads the Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation in New York CIty. See her BWAF website for full text of Beverly Willis' speech.
Julia Morgan Facts from AIA:
2014–Julia Morgan is the 70th AIA Gold Medalist.
1921–Julia Morgan joined the AIA, becoming its 7th woman member.
1904–Julia Morgan became the first women licensed to practice architecture in California and opened her own firm.
The OWA Mentoring Program – Be a Mentor!by Margaret Sheehan | Print | Email
For the past year, I have been a mentor with OWA’s mentoring program, which I find an exhilarating and rewarding experience. Last summer, I was matched up with two young OWA members, and a third joined our group after the retreat in September. As our mentoring group began our second year together, we added new members from the AIA mentorship program, an ongoing program at the SF chapter, on which the OWA mentoring program is patterned.
Our group is a dynamic mix of AIA and OWA members, within the two mentorship programs. It seemed a natural progression for our group, since several members, including myself, are members of both the AIA and OWA. Our mentoring group meets once a month for a design-related event or activity.
We take turns to identify the next month’s event – it may be a gallery show, a museum exhibition we’d like to see, or perhaps a walking tour. Following the event, we find a café nearby to talk about what we saw and discuss work/life issues. We all contribute to the discussion, providing a sounding board and support within a respectful confidential environment.
July Panel / Discussion on "Aging in Place"by Janet Crane and Patty Haight | Print | Email
Our July event, a well attended panel discussion, focused on three aspects of aging in place and led to a lively group discussion. The meeting began with three excellent speakers addressing aspects of Aging in Place from the perspective of how communities can support this concept and how families and individuals can address its realities.
Jacqueline Zimmer Jones, Executive Director of NEXT Village San Francisco, introduced the concept of Villages, a national grassroots movement of neighborhood networks designed to enable seniors to age in their communities by offering engagement, connection and support. Next Village, based in northeast San Francisco, has been growing for about 4 years. Jacqueline underscored the benefits of NEXT Village, in reducing isolation, encouraging social interaction, and offering volunteer assistance when requested, for such tasks as getting to appointments, grocery shopping and attending NEXT’s social and informative events. A neighbor within a few blocks’ radius can take care of an errand and there is really no other service with this kind of flexibility.
The Villages are membership organizations. NEXT has received a grant from the City of San Francisco to encourage self-help models for the rapidly increasing senior demographic that doesn’t qualify for services as low-income residents. NEXT Village’s web site is http://nextvillagesf.org/.
Janice Wallace is a consultant, “The Caregivers Coach”, who helps families organize and manage the care of seniors who need assistance with their daily lives, including those with dementia. She talked about the stages of addressing the challenges of aging, getting realistic about the aging process, discussing it with affected family members over time, even in advance of need, and planning for the appropriate care. She stressed the all-important topic of avoiding burnout for caregivers, noting that it is impossible to do everything for a loved one with no respite. Her web site is www.caringforcaregivers.com.
Architect Janet Crane discussed housing options for seniors facing the challenges of Bay Area housing: empty nest houses, expensive rentals, buildings on steep hills and with many stairs, rental units where Landlords are not amenable to adding features to help seniors. Janet touched on the simple improvements that anyone can make for safety–but at a certain point, moving may be necessary to smaller homes, special models like co-housing or senior housing of various models. There are a number of housing options developing, with the help of internet communication, such as shared housing. Groups are forming to brainstorm housing options for those looking for alternatives such as TTN Home, an East Bay group run by The Transition Network. San Francisco’s Community Land Trust is looking at buying residential properties with generally low-income tenants to provide a way to maintain affordable rentals.
A lively discussion followed–showing that everyone has stories and experiences relevant to this topic–and a follow-up meeting will be proposed. Some exciting connections also resulted from the mix of attendees and presenters. Ricardo Gomes, Professor in the Design & Industry Department at SF State University, who attended, now plans to meet with Jacqueline Zimmer to collaborate on related projects for his class.
Many thanks to Andrea Lucas’s husband, Tobin Kendrick, a partner at Gelfand Associates, for hosting the meeting at their very interesting office housed in the historic James Lick Bath House, a former community bathhouse south of Market. Tobin also generously offered us a tour of the space at the end of the evening.
Thanks to member Janet Crane for organizing the topic and speakers, and thanks to our Steering Committee Events Coordinators Patty Haight and Carolyn Orazi for coordinating all of our excellent events this year. –Ed.
Brief Update from the Steering Committeeby Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
Naomi Horowitz launches nih architectureby Naomi Horowitz | Print | Email
OWA member Naomi Horowitz is pleased to announce the launch of her new architecture practice. nlh architecture will be focused on smaller projects in the Bay Area, including residential remodel and commercial tenant improvements. I am also happy to team up with other firms and take on partial scope for larger projects, including predesign services. Let me know if I can help!
Lian Eoyang Wins Marvin “Architects Challenge”by Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
Sculptor Looks to Women's Groupsby Jean Nilsson, Ed. | Print | Email
Nigel Binns, sculptor of the 1996 Mother of Humanity bronze statue in LA and President of Nijart International, recently wrote to us about an architectural project she envisions in Africa, an observation tower and mixed-use building based on her Mother of Humanity theme. She is looking to members of women’s groups for support for establishing a non-profit organization and assistance creating preliminary designs and renderings. For more information, contact Nigel at email@example.com or visit her website: www.nijart.com.
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