Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2015Volume 43:2 | Search
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The Origins of the Steering Committeeby Lucia Bogatay | Print | Email
The following is an article about the thinking behind the organizational system we use for the OWA/DP, and how it came about. This editor actually wrote the article which was published in the January, 1974 issue of the OWA Newsletter. Since this was written before spell check, I have taken the liberty of correcting the spelling. Note that ESCMT is the Engineering Society Committee for Manpower Training.
“The Steering Committee” is familiar to most of our members, but since there is an election this month, we felt this was a good time to explain how it came about, and the reasons for its peculiar design.
Last spring, before elections were held, there was a meeting of people interested in the development of OWA’s government. Like me, they were mostly people with a distrust of “Executive Committees” as they are conventionally formed, and felt that in order to keep our interest in the OWA we might try to design a system that we would be able to enjoy.
We knew, first of all that we needed some kind of organization because of the experiences of Boston’s women’s group as related to us by Dolores Hayden. Her warnings to us last winter made some of the members argue for a leadership as broadly based as possible to make sure it represented a consensus of the membership. Others felt that the offices should be of a specific rather than a ceremonial character; i.e., not “President” or “Sargent-at-Arms.”
So the Steering committee was created with five equal members and five alternates. The five original tasks were Treasurer, Education Coordinator, Publicity coordinator, Employment Coordinator, and Publisher. Members were duly elected and meetings began. We soon discovered the advantages of having the alternates function as regular members. Finally, we added two student members and wrote up the By-Laws in the form approved in December.
The Committee functions very well and so far the original goals have become fact as explained below:
2. There are always plenty of ideas and all sides of any question are aired, much as at general OWA meetings. Decisions are made, after discussion, by consensus.
3. Each Committee member has a special on-going project in addition to shared administration. Some of these jobs will probably expand into task forces as OWA gets older. New projects will arise, such our calendar and the board Membership in ESCMT.
4. No one is really overworked, though many work very hard and each project is potentially time consuming and we all feel that more could be accomplished.
A great deal of help has come from OWA members and our group depends on members contributions to the Newsletter. As more members become ex-members of the Steering Committee, they will surely continue to be helpful.This design can accommodate a large membership. As of this moment the Committee constitutes about one third of the membership. Thus a high proportion of OWA members are deeply involved which should continue to keep it alive and growing.
Julia Morgan and Feminism: Letter to the OWA/DP Editor, April 1974by Peggy Woodring | Print | Email
Julia Morgan Tour of Chinatownby Northern California Chapter Society of Architectural Historians | Print | Email
Julia Morgan finally gets her due from the AIA which is giving her a posthumous Gold Medal. To celebrate, Northern California Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians is giving a tour, led by historian and architect Phil Choi, of Chinatown, specifically of Julia Morgan’s buildings there: the former Chinatown YWCA (now the Chinese Historical Society headquarters) the Gum Moon residence, and the YWCA residence. There are two tours offered. The information and the form (copied from a PDF of the NCCSAH) is below. The Society does not appear to have a website.
Book Review of Gender Intelligence by Barbara Annis and Keith Merronby Wendy Bertrand | Print | Email
Men architects often ask women, What Will You Bring to the Table?
Well now a woman can say I will bring not only my whole self, but my female brain. Barbara Annis and Keith Merron explain the gender intelligence tucked into the male and female brain…how they are different and equally valuable.
Neuroscientists have determined biological sex difference in brain structure, chemistry, and function. Not every female brain or male brain fall perfectly into the gender differences but the tendencies show that 80% are dramatically predictable and different in the ways men and women communicate, listen, solve problems, make decisions, handle emotions, deal with conflict and manage stress.
The authors go on to explain how 7 parts of the brain structure can be used to predict patterns of behavior. They begin with the corpus callosum, the thick bundle of nerves connecting the right and left hemispheres of our brains. It is larger in women than men, has a different shape and contains more nerve fibers that enable women’s thoughts to travel back and forth between the left side (linear, logical and serial thinking) to right side (basis of intuitive, holistic and creative thought). Men use their brains in sequence while women use their brains simultaneously jumping back and forth from right to left. That is why a man is more likely to see one idea and focus on it with few interruptions. He is less likely to tackle other points of view; his thinking is like on a railroad track, switching back and forth is not the norm. While the female brain uses the two sides of the brain in parallel, jumping back and forth considering all sorts of variables and consequences with ease.
Men often get inpatient with women’s approach and may say, “Can we just stick to the point, please? with some anger - while she is thinking of many variables.” “The size of the corpus callosum also enables her to decode the unspoken components of a meeting or exchange, such as body language, tone of voice and facial expression. This is described as context thinking, or an inclusive or interconnected approach.” Other parts discussed are the anterior cortex, insular cortex, hippocampus, amygdala, prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, as well as three hormonal elements.
Chapter after chapter emphasizes the importance of knowing the differences between male and female hard wired behavior because each brings valuable attributes that work well together. Also the erosion of groups that are predominately of men or women.
Annis & Merron claim that businesses that practice gender intelligence (have both men and women at every level, especially the top) do better financially. “Most persuasively for some, companies practicing gender intelligence with the highest financial performance in there important measures: return on equity, return on sales and return on invested capital (page 169). Some of this coming from performance due to neither men nor women feeling forced to fit into a gender behavior that doesn’t fit their comfort level. Being your authentic self has been much more difficult for women because of the male dominance of institutional leadership, rewards, expectations, some of which comes from the how the male brain is hard wired and has build the structures to reward the way they think.
Annis and Merron write that women often are not satisfied when they are pressured to act like a man, their authentic self suffers and they don’t feel comfortable after a while. Since leadership style that is rewarded is most often masculine, women are more aware of this discomfort, while many men, especially successful men at the top think everything is fine. It is much harder for men to have the “aha” moments needed to understand gender intelligence.
There is much to read. Part two gives some history of why gender intelligence is the next evolution, the natural appropriate step considering other contemporary vectors in society. Part three talks about how gender intelligence affects the organization. They describe the five steps for top management to get the message. They insist that conditions need to be created by top management where uniquely masculine and feminine strengths can be blended and utilized to their best effect. If not women don’t feel valued and leave in or before top levels.
There is lots about leadership. I would suggest that architects might suffer from what they term, enlightened denial, a resistance to talk through or even consider gender difference (page 113). The difference between sameness and equality comes up again and again. Often there is a gap between intention and behavior, or a fear of appearing politically incorrect and prejudiced. Many CEOs think they have it down pat and give themselves a 5 rating when they are really only at a one, the starting point.
In Memory of Sigrid Lorenzen-Ruppby Uta Lorenzen-Rascon | Print | Email
The Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prizeby From the UCB website | Print | Email
In an effort to foster a holistic approach to architecture and professional practice, Sigrid Lorenzen Rupp created the Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prize. The intent of the Berkeley-Rupp Prize is to give recipients the resources and time necessary for reflection, and to share their knowledge and passion with students of architecture. Ms. Rupp’s generous bequest to UC Berkeley makes possible the Berkeley-Rupp Prize at the College of Environmental Design on the University of California, Berkeley campus.
Sheila Kennedy, 2014 Recipient of the Berkeley-Rupp Prizeby adapted by Lucia Bogatay from the Berkeley-Rupp Prize website | Print | Email
The faculty position and prize created by Sigrid was awarded last year to Sheila Kennedy, who will be in residence and whose interesting work will be on display.
As a recipient of the Berkeley-Rupp Prize, Sheila Kennedy will present an exhibition of her work along with a public lecture (which was given on March 4th) at the College of Environmental Design. She will also teach a series of interdisciplinary workshops at CED.
On Wednesday, March 4th, Sheila Kennedy gave a public lecture at Wurster Hall Gallery on soft infrastructure including her work on the Portable Light Project—a Matx non-profit design, research and engineering initiative that builds upon the skill sets of women makers in the developing world by integrating clean energy and lighting with textile craft traditions.
From April 8th through April 29th, 2015, in Wurster Hall Room 108, Kennedy hosts the exhibition HERE THERE —Urban Infrastructure Goes Soft, an interdisciplinary design initiative launched at the College of Environmental Design. The HERE THERE exhibit will include recent projects by KVA Matx, and full scale design prototypes by Berkeley students for pop-up solar streetlights, portable vaccine carriers and dispensary kits. New materials, fabrication techniques and project delivery methods for urban infrastructure in energy, global health and water will be explored. See the website http://ced.berkeley.edu/events-media/events/here-there-exhibit
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