Newsletter | Jan/Feb 2015Volume 43:1 | Search
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Editor’s Commentsby The Editor | Print | Email
The annual Holiday Party took place on December 6, 2014, which already seems a very long time ago! Our usual caterer was not available, but our hostess (also this editor) provided someone who did a splendid job. Thanks to the smooth operation of the caterer, I had a good time too. Esin Karlova found us a wonderful jazz pianist who played for hours, and, it turned out, he is also an architect. As with most parties, people got to know new people, talk to old friends, and all enjoyed themselves tremendously. I was particularly pleased that Ann Sullivan and her husband came early thinking it would too difficult for her (she was in a wheel chair) but happily, they stayed until the end! We collected a bag of items for Hamilton House, and several checks which I dropped off to them.
The review below was sent me in an email by a friend who always writes up the movies he sees and sends them to his friends and acquaintances. This was the first one he had ever sent that had three red chilles decorating it in the email chille column! Sandy Miller organized an expedition to Opera Plaza and a bunch of us went to see it. We highly recommend it!
The editor needs ideas and/or documents suitable for future issues. Among the articles we would like to get are profiles or short autobiographies of current members (illustrated), or monographs on a particular project a member has designed (with pictures), or an opinion piece about an important public issue, building, or architectural matter.
Thanks for your help! The Editor
Movie Reveiw of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angryby Ian Berke | Print | Email
Unless you were a woman in the 1950’s and 60’s, it hard to imagine or remember how embedded traditional woman’s roles were in our culture. Women, even those with college degrees, were expected to marry, have children, stay at home and cook. Print advertising often showed the carefully coiffed wife, kneeling, to give her husband a martini after a hard day at his office. Or the same perfectly outfitted woman caring for smiling clean scrubbed kids. Many professions were closed to women. In 1952, Sandra Day O’Connor, newly graduated near the top of her class with her law degree from Stanford, was refused interviews by at least 40 law firms, who would only offer her secretarial work. Her first job, as a deputy county attorney in San Mateo, was initially without pay, and she shared space with a secretary. Her experience was the norm, except that she ended up as a Supreme Court justice years later.
In the late 1950’s, Betty Friedan, a writer and social activist, began talking to female college graduates. She recognized that the dissatisfaction and depression of housewives and mothers was widespread, trapped in homemaker roles. They were desperate to be more than wives and mothers. She called it “the problem that has no name”. In 1963 Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, which described this problem and became the catalyst for the second wave of women’s liberation. It is no exaggeration to say that her book sparked a revolution. The first wave of women's liberation was the long, bitter campaign for suffrage, which took over 50 years before women gained the right to vote in 1920. The second wave is the subject of a very accomplished, powerful documentary film, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, written and directed by Mary Dore, a well known documentary film maker (The Good Fight: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War). She's Beautiful ... focuses on the period of 1966-1971, when the newly emergent women’s movement succeeded in bringing women together to change a culture.
Dore uses wonderful archival footage and stills, interspersed with interviews with feminists who were instrumental in the fight. And it was a fight. Many of the women are well known, some lesser known, but all are and were enormously articulate. Their stories are riveting, and it is haunting to see them as young women in the 1960’s, and now, much older, but still passionate and articulate. It’s a who’s who of the movement: Rita Mae Brown, Carol Giardina, Fran Beal, Muriel Fox, Susan Brownmiller, Jacqui Ceballos, Kate Millet, Heather Booth, and many more. Some, who have died, are represented by their daughters. Nona Willis Aronowitz, an important contemporary feminist writer, speaks for her mother, Helen Willis. Reproductive rights was one of the demands, and critical if women were to have careers. Although the pill was first marketed in 1960, and sex before marriage became the norm, women bore all the risk. Abortion was illegal and often dangerous. The archival footage and interviews are powerful, as in the accounts of the desperate search for abortion providers and abortion deaths. The publication of Our Bodies, Our Selves, was another very important event that marked a turning point in the beginning of open discussions about sexuality, childbirth, and women’s health.
But perhaps the most important demands were jobs and equal pay for equal work. Women wanted meaningful jobs in professions that had traditionally been closed to women. The movement caught fire in most major cities, and this was before the fax or the internet, in an era of mimeos and posters. Again, the archival footage catches meetings and discussion, that even today, are fascinating. One pivotal event was the decision to stage a nationwide strike of women, on the 50th anniversary of the right to vote (1920). The organizers were worried that only a few hundred women would show up, but tens of thousands of women poured out into the streets in New York City and marched with strong and often witty signs and banners. Their anger was galvanizing. Signs and sweatshirts ranged from humorous to rage: “Stare at your own damn tits” and “Fuck rape”. The footage of these women marching in such numbers, with such solidarity and sisterhood, is immensely moving.
Dore doesn’t shy away from the controversies and splits that plagued the movement, such as gay, class, and racial issues. Friedan was afraid that gay issues would stiffen resistance to women’s rights. Rita Mae Brown, outrageous (in a good way) then and equally articulate now, is a star here. The formation of NOW (Betty Friedan again) and its important role in breaking barriers is discussed. Dore packs a huge amount of material in her film with masterful editing. There is actually so much here, that it could easily be expanded into a television series, much like the struggle for civil rights. And this was indeed a fight for civil rights, the rights of women. I just can’t say enough good about this film. I was not only very moved but riveted by the struggle, which sadly still must continue. As one of the feminists said so well: “All victories are only temporary”. Here we are in the 21st century with many states imposing severe restrictions on abortion, and there are real worries that Roe v Wade may actually be overturned by a conservative Supreme Court. So no matter how busy you are, see She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry. This is powerful history, and important to all, not just women. I hope that younger women, more than any other group, see Dore’s film to understand and appreciate how much we all owe to those women who broke down the gates. Just opened at Opera Plaza, the Rafael (San Rafael), and the Shattuck (Berkeley). Running time: 92 minutes.
Road Trip to an Inland Presidioby Lucia Bogatay | Print | Email
After two days in Tucson, Sharon and Lucia started south to Tubac, armed with an introduction to the Park curator Shaw Kinsley. They arrived at Tubac State Historic Park, not far from the Mexico border. While driving along a portion of the Anza Trail, the route along which the first settlers of San Francisco had traveled in 1775, they listened to a CD from the Anza Trail Guide. The words of Don Garate whose narration alternated with the clopping hooves of burros, the lowing of cattle, the haunting trail hymn, the Alabado, and words of the O’ohdam language, wove a spell, and provided a strange but magical eighteenth Century atmosphere for the trip.
Kinsley, with a BA in history, was a clothing marketing executive for eleven years, but in 1992 became an archivist and librarian with an MS degree from Pratt Institute, School of Library and Information Science in NY and an MS from Oxford, UK in the history of science in 2000. He is now in charge of the Tubac State Park. He was a well-informed, engaging fellow and an excellent guide. He showed them around the exhibits, explaining the significance of several of the wonderful old maps in the museum, interpreted displays and paintings of historical events, and conducted them through an underground archaeology display of the early comandante’s residence. Kinsley then returned to his duties, and sent them off on a self-guided tour of the more recent structures, and a collection of slightly kitchey paintings, entirely by William Ahrendt¸ contemporary painter of historical western themes, especially the Spanish exploration.
Established in 1752 as San Ignacio de Tubac initially with 50 soldiers, Tubac was one of two Presidios established in that year (the other was Santa Gertrudis de Altar in Sonora) near existing mission villages, in response to revolts of the indigenous tribes, the Seris, Pimas and Papagos, which had left the area open to the depredations of the nomadic and effective Apaches.1 The Captain at Tubac was Juan Batista de Anza for a period in the mid 1770’s, and it was from here that Anza planned and made his two long trips to Northern California, the second of which brought the party of 240 colonists (some from further south, but 60 from Tubac) that established the Presidio de San Francisco in 1776.
bumpy, steep, and not for the faint hearted. Todd’s aesthetic is somewhat Gaudi inspired, and some of his more daring ideas sometimes sacrifice comfort for drama. But the ensemble is inspiring.
1 Max L. Moorhead, The Presidio, Bastion of the Spanish Borderlands, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.1958. p 52
2 Ibid. p74
3 Op. cit., p 87
4 Tubac Presidio Arizona State Park website
5 NPS flyer Tumacácori, GPO 2011
6 Patronato San Xavier flyer Mission San Xavier (no date)
Honor Your Achievements - IAWAby Inge Horton | Print | Email
Recently, I was asked by an OWA member to put together information about donating drawings and other records of work for donation to the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. I was a little surprised as I often wrote articles for the OWA newsletter urging OWA members to donate documents of their work to the IAWA. I gladly comply with the request since more and more of our early members are retiring or dissolving their offices. And since I sent six large boxes of files from my own research of early women architects to IAWA, I now know firsthand of the emotional difficulty of letting go of something that is dear to one’s heart. However, I feel that it is important and necessary to do as I have heard many stories about drawings and files being destroyed by the children or executors of a deceased woman architect. They often did not know what to do with the records or are overwhelmed with other tasks related to the inheritance. One of the horror stories is that of a prominent woman architect in San Francisco who, about twenty years ago, had all her drawings destroyed in a rage after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Please do not follow this sad example, honor your professional legacy, fill a gap in architectural history, and proudly promote yourself by donating records of your work to the IAWA or any other archive such as the Environmental Design Archives at UCBerkeley or at another alma mater. At the IAWA, you will be in the good company of women who reviewed their work and selected projects for donation. At the end of this article you can review a list of Bay Area architects who already donated documents to the IAWA. Or visit their website and you will see a display of truly international colleagues.
Before I focus on frequently asked questions and repeat the text of my previous article, I will share a letter from Aaron Purcell, Director, Special Collections, University Libraries, Virginia Tech, with the newest developments of the IAWA. He wrote that the IAWA has new collections archivist, Samantha Winn, (540) 231-7486 or her email at email@example.com, who will be our contact person.
- Who should donate her work? You, you, you and your partner! Whether you have practiced for nearly fifty years, such as Kathleen Cruise, a graduate of Virginia Tech and donor of her work, or are just starting out in the profession, you are invited to be part of the IAWA. The IAWA accepts work of architects (licensed or not) and related design professionals such as interior designers, landscape architects, urban designers, and environmental or city planners. Collaborative work from women in large firms or in partnerships is also accepted. For example, the IAWA received a large collection of Steven and Cathy House of San Francisco which you may review at the IAWA website. http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=vt/viblbv00200.xml.
- When should you donate your work? Now, now, now! You do not need to wait until you have retired or reached the age of eighty. And, please, don't wait until you're too sick to consider donating your collection and what to include and what not. Architects are always busy; however, your work is an important part of the architectural and social history and should not be hidden from public view. When you are ready, contact the archivist Samantha Winn. She will be happy to discuss the material you wish to donate, the process to make a donation, and the issues involved. You may contact her at (540) 231-7486 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Most importantly, deed your collection in your will or living trust to the IAWA and clearly express that you wish to donate certain records of your work to the Archive, attn: IAWA Archivist, University Libraries, Virginia Tech, P.O. Box 90001, Blacksburg, VA 24062-9001. Attach a donor form http://spec.lib.vt.edu/DeedofGift.pdf and make it as easy as possible for your executor to follow your wishes.
- What should you select for your donation in the IAWA? Some IAWA collections are small and some are big, such as Sigrid Rupp’s collection see the line at http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=vt/viblbv00785.xml. Most IAWA collections include a sampling of your work, maybe 5-20 projects which embody your career. In discussion with the Archivist, you may select several projects of which you are proud or which show your artistic or technical development or savvy. Please also include a resume or vitae to provide some context.
- The Archive prefers to receive the original drawings. The documents may include “flimsies” or conceptual sketches, working or presentation drawings, specifications, artwork, photographs, office and research files, correspondence, articles about the architect or her work, articles by the architect, PR brochures of your firm, and anything else which documents your work. They also accept digital files; however, you should first consult with the Archivist to make sure those formats are supported. For a detailed discussion regarding donation procedures please refer to the IAWA website http://spec.lib.vt.edu/IAWA/donations.html or contact Samantha Winn at (540) 231-7486 or email her at email@example.com.
- How should you pack and transfer your collection? Here are some pointers which the IAWA provided:
- Drawings may be sent rolled.
Please use sturdy boxes in good condition and use heavy-duty strapping tape.
Keep the records in the order in which they were used in your office and document or record this order (collating files into boxes and sequential numbering of the boxes is an easy way to record this original order).
It is helpful to make a list of the box contents, with dates. When you need to find something later, this list will be invaluable. Place the list in each box and also mail them separately to the IAWA.
Note the presence of any sensitive material (i.e. SSN’s, personnel information, confidential information, or any other type of sensitive information you or your organization may work with).
Leave a little wiggle room in the boxes; don't overstuff them. Be sure the folders are standing upright and that they are not bowed or flopped-over.
Please send your collection to the following address and include a copy of the address also on the inside of each package:
Special Collections MC 0434
560 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Carriers of your mailing: From my recent experience of sending six boxes to the IAWA I recommend that you research potential carriers such as the US Post Office (which seemed to be the most affordable), FedEx, UPS or others and select the one you feel most comfortable with. You are sending irreplaceable materials unless you made copies before packing them. As a minimum safety provision, obtain a “Track and Confirm” number or better insure your packages.
The IAWA has limited funds available to reimburse you for the shipping cost but will appreciate any donation for shipping or accessioning of your collection.
- What happens to your collection once it has been donated to the IAWA? Once the IAWA receives a collection, it is housed securely under environmentally stable conditions, accessioned, inventoried, and made available to researchers through our online database of collections. The processing may not happen right away but the collection will be identified to be easily retrievable. At the time of the donation, the donor usually signs a deed of gift legally transferring the material to the University Libraries of Virginia Tech which stores and houses the IAWA Collections. This enables the Archivist to allow photocopying by researchers, the use of materials in teaching or presentations, and the display of selected items in web exhibits.
- During the Annual Meeting of the Advisors of the IAWA the Archivist or a board member may prepare an exhibition of newly donated collections. The late Professor Milka Bliznakov, founder of the International Archive of Women in Architecture, also established a program to encourage the use of the collections in the IAWA by funding an annual prize of $2,500 recognizing research that advances knowledge of women's contributions to architecture and related design fields. See website
The Thrill of the Hunt: Amazing Buildingsby Suzette Sherman | Print | Email
All with my copy of 1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die under my arm. Sneaking into amazing buildings is such great fun. I will enjoy the art of trespassing until I die.
-Posted on January 16, 2015 by Suzette Sherman (Founder, SevenPonds)
I got the bug back in my college days, when I just short of minored in architecture. I traveled many a distance to visit significant buildings of my studies. I confess I did not stop there. I also possessed a need to experience the space and volumes inside. Albeit through whatever means and sometimes at whatever cost to gain entrance. Yes there has been some building security and police encounters, but only a warning ever given. Once you’ve traveled far to the base of a looming facade, the adventure of sneaking inside (if need be) becomes irresistible.
OWA Book Circle + AIASF Missing 32% Discuss Feminism and Architectureby Jean Nilsson | Print | Email
Thirty of us met at MK THINK in San Francisco February 11 to view video excerpts and discuss issues raised by Susana Torre in her talk FEMINISM AND ARCHITECTURE.
Panel Discussion on Guiding Your Career at January Meetingby Jean Nilsson | Print | Email
CASp Accessibility Training March 2-5by Jean Nilsson | Print | Email
Gilda Puente-Peters writes to let us no she is offering a CASp Accessibility Training for the Certified Access Specialist Exam on March 2-5, 2015 in Emeryville. A long-time active OWA member, Gilda is a registered Architect with diversified experience and a 28-year specialty in Accessibility and Universal Design, Education, Design and Construction.
Gilda has offered many seminars to OWA and CWED members over the years at discounted rates. I recently attended Gilda’s February 5 five-hour course in Sacramento (mandatory training requirement for Architect license renewal) requested by CWED, our Sacramento-area sister organization, aka “Mountain and Valley Pod” of OWA led by Betty Woo, Davis architect and long-time member of both organizations. The seminar with this group, on Universal Design Case Studies and Code updates, was so interesting, informative and well-illustrated that we ran overtime in our discussion!
Gilda's March 2-5 training in Emeryville will be held at Four Points by Sheraton, 8-5pm. This training is “geared towards those who are planning to become a Certified Access Specialist, as well as persons involved with building codes, such as building officials, plan reviewers, inspectors, contractors, architects, engineers and design professionals that want to deepen their knowledge in accessibility.”
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