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Sunset from Naoshima Island, Japan

Newsletter | Jan/Feb 2020

Volume 48:1 | Search

If you would like to see corrections to this newsletter or to submit articles or suggestions for future newsletters please contact the Newsletter Editor at newsletter@owa-usa.org.

In this issue:
Fateful Meeting - Lucia Bogatay
Calendar 2020 - Betty Woo

A note from your Editor

by Mui Ho    |    Share #1385

Sculpture by Yayoi Kusama, Naoshima Island


During the January 2020 OWA Steering committee meeting, I was pleased to volunteer to take on the editorship of our newsletter for this calendar year. Betty Woo on the Steering Committee has offered to help. Our online newsletter is one of the most expedient way to communicate with our members, to update members on meetings and programs, and to archive the events, interests, and activities of the membership. Publishing newsletters has come a long way since the days of typewritten articles cut-and-paste onto one-page and photocopied at commercial copy centers; then folded with postage stamped, bundled for postal pickup. From the onset, the newsletter reached many women architects across different offices who would not have been able to learn about this organization. And the newsletter serves members from afar or with busy schedules and cannot attend meetings. Fifty years ago, women architects working in the Bay Area were no different from international students in an American colleges-many were isolated, eager to meet each other and could learn about each other through the newsletter.

Today six issues are published a year and we welcome all of you to contribute a one- to two-page article or narrative on one or more of the following topical areas of interest. These topics are offered informally with the intention of providing suggestions to spur ideas to help us continue the voice and experience of our members.

Programs: What programs you have done with the OWA? What was a pivotal reminiscence with the organization or its members? What is your story as an architect in the community?

Professional or Policy Issues: How to diversify your skills for the broader marketplace, in the U.S. and internationally? Can you offer experience with issues relating to hitting the glass ceiling? The opportunities and challenges of moving to different type of practice? How to stay involved (or not) if retirement is on the horizon?

Teaching and Practice: What are students looking for in architectural firms? What are firms looking for in interns or recent graduates? How to teach/offer courses in professional schools? How did you start your own office? How to apply for a teaching position?

Addressing the Environment: Are there ways that you have changed your practice to address relevant environmental issues? Have a project to share that demonstrates excellent performance? Any recent tools that youve used or learned that you want everyone to know about?

There will be a comment section following in the Newsletter for readers to offer brief thoughts related to OWA, the profession, or related to our lives as women professionals.

We hope this new Newsletter format will serve a simpler way for members to keep in touch, learn about each other, and connect with those with similar interests. Once I receive an article from you, it will be formatted and uploaded along with other articles to our newsletter page.

Dearlines for 2020 Newsletter :
Mar/Apr Issue - 25 April 2020
May/Jun Issue - 25 May 2020
Jul /Aug Issue - 25 July 2020
Sep/Oct Issue - 25 Sept 2020
Nov/Dec Issue - 25 Nov 2020

Please send articles, questions and / or comments to mui@muiho.com

OWA+DP Treasurer what do they do?

by Judy L. Rowe, FAIA    |    Share #1387

Did you know that OWA+DP has a Treasure? In order for the OWA+DP to comply with the requirements for non-profit organizations, we need a treasurer (also known Chief Financial Officer).

Judy Rowe is the current Treasurer of the OWA+DP and has held this position for over ten years. Judy was elected when Mui Ho resigned after she held this position since the beginning of the OWA. Being treasurer requires a person who is willing and able to watch over the financial wellbeing of the organization and advise the Steering Committee and members of the impact of financial decisions. According to the OWA+DP Bylaws

    "The treasurer (chief financial officer) shall keep and maintain, or cause to be kept and maintained, adequate and correct books and accounts of the corporation's properties and transactions. The treasurer (chief financial officer) shall send or cause to be given to the members and directors such financial statements and reports as are required to be given by law, by these bylaws, or by the board (steering committee). The books of account shall be open to inspection by any director at all reasonable times.

    The treasure (chief financial officer) shall (1) deposit, or cause to be deposited, all money and other valuables in the name and to the credit of the corporation with such depositories as the board may designate; (2) disburse the corporation's funds as the board (steering committee) may order; (3) render to the president, chair of the board (steering committee), if any, and the board (steering committee), when requested, an account of all transactions as treasurer (chief financial officer) and of the financial condition of the corporation (non-profit); and (4) have such other powers and perform such other duties as the board or the bylaws may require.


According to the web-site, roles and responsibilities of the Treasure are:

    • Track income and expenses and prepare monthly financial statement for Steering Committee and annual (business) meeting review and approval.
    • Coordinate the filing of annual tax return.
    • Ensure business documents are filed properly with financial institutions and the state.
    • Administer scholarship program if program is offered.
      The financial procedures the OWA+DP are:
    • A minimum of two members in good standing must be listed as signatures for the OWA+DP bank accounts.
    • All dues shall be deposited within one month of receipt.
    • All checks written over $1,500 must require two steering committee member signatures.
    • All bank statements showing all deposits and checks issued must be presented at every steering committee meeting.
    • The annual budget and financial statement shall be distributed at the Annual Meeting.
    • The annual budget shall be approved by a majority of the membership in attendance or by written proxy at the Annual Meeting.
    • Any expenditure over $5,000 shall have prior approval of a majority of the voting membership.

If you have attended the OWA+DP annual business meeting in the last ten years and/or attended a steering committee meeting you have witnessed budget presentations by our treasurer. Judy Rowe takes this position very seriously and is the financial watch dog for the OWA+DP. Thanks to both Mui and Judy for all their great financial caretaking over the years. If you have any questions about our finances, just send Judy an email.

Fateful Meeting

by Lucia Bogatay    |    Share #1388

My first memory of the beginnings of OWA in 1973 is a lunch with Mui Ho, Wendy Bertrand, and Marie Laleyan in North Beach to discuss the idea forming a women architect organization. As a worker in an otherwise all male office, I was so relieved to meet other women architects. Until that moment I hadnt realized the oppressiveness of the isolation I felt in my job. Navigating the politics of a mid-sized office with coworkers ambivalent about or perhaps just unaccustomed to having women architects around could be a strain. The firms which couldnt tolerate women simply didnt hire us. One firm retracted a job offer made to me by one partner after his other colleagues learned what he had done! The ostensible excuse was that the partners didnt want to have to moderate their use of profanity in the office. They had clearly never been in a Harvard design studio!

The idea of forming an organization for women architects was liberating. The impulse to avoid a typical hierarchical organization came from the desire to avoid having a single President. It would help to mitigate the influence of any one of the strong personalities in our initially small band. It would be more democratic. By dividing up the work we could avoid over-burdening anyone.

In 1973, Wendy Bertrand conducted a survey of OWA members. In an undated OWA Bulletin, likely from the Spring of 1973, her analysis is quoted. It points out one of the main benefits of the organization to its members:

    the fact that over 50% of the women are alone in their offices [i.e. the only woman professional] emphasizes one of the clearest and more important needs for womens organizations in architecture. That need is to help women understand their own problems and potentialities through knowing others of their sex. By this means, they can isolate problems which stem from sex discrimination from those which are related only to them as individuals. This should enable them to deal more effectively with their problems and resources.


How I ended up on a farm in Northern Ireland

by Marda Quon Stothers    |    Share #1389

I left my government position in 2005 to help my husband explore his calling to live and work in Ireland. We spent six years in the Shankill Road community in North Belfast, Northern Ireland working with church and community. We returned to Berkeley in 2014. Ward was diagnosed with Parkinsonism by the UK National Health system in 2010 and died in 2018 four years after we returned.

Ive returned to Northern Ireland three times since we stopped living there. Last summer I stayed for two months. After 33 years of a government career using my architectural license for master planning, project and program management, my post government years saw me building community peace and making porcelain pottery.

Sometimes things fall together to use all ones skills as it did at Jubilee Farm Community Benefit Society (www.Jubilee.coop, instagram). In 2018, I asked my good friend in Belfast, would there be anything of use I could do if I returned to Northern Ireland on a regular basis. She said oh yes we love you and you change us. She introduced me to a young fellow who had started a community based farm in a walled garden of a convent. I told Jonny Hanson that I knew nothing about farming having grown up in the middle of Los Angeles but I am committed to environmental sustainability and community building. A few months later Dr. Hanson invited me to come to be the project manager for their building expansion on their 13.5 acres recently purchased. This included the building of a new barn and the renovation of an existing shed into intern accommodations. Sure I could do that and farm sit for two weeks while the family took their holiday.

I traveled back and forth 25 miles from Belfast to Larne twice a week for a month. I helped with the Bioblitz, a 24 hour teaching of biodiversity where I sold some ceramics to fund the cause. I attended lectures and awards ceremony where Jonny enthused about creation care. Learned what it takes to take care of 20 pigs, 7 goats, 16 turkeys and two geese and a half acre of community supported agriculture garden. The two weeks of farm sitting went quick. During the week an intern, the market gardener, the bookkeeper and a civil engineer retiree came by to work. Three days into my farm sitting, the 7 goats became 13. Nubian long ear goats are so docile and sweet and the kids are prancing around the day after they are born. A joy to watch.

I made some sketches, wrote up a 32 page programming document, briefed the team and hired a local architect. The barn has a 4800 sf footprint. It will house all the animals in the winter and has a hay loft, dairy and feed storage. The peopled space has toilets and showers, commercial kitchen, large and small meeting spaces and space upstairs for storage or future intern accommodation. The land use planning envisioned quiet and social spaces, family space, intern space, public space, garden, animal space, circulation and parking. Hedge rows and trees enhance biodiversity and the existing brae down to the River Glyn gives opportunity for restoration to native species.

This has been so much fun. To my OWA lifelong friends Im delighted to use all the experiences and skills I have in this way as we each discover what to do with our lives going forward.

Calendar 2020

by Betty Woo    |    Share #1390

Our next meeting is May 9th, 2020 10 am -12 pm. The meeting will be by Zoom. So if anyone wants to attend they need to get the log-in information from Allison Kinst.

For future reference we will try to hold the SC meetings on the second Saturday of each month.

The General Business Meeting is tentatively scheduled for October 20th, 2020 location TBD. (Providing we can have in person meetings by then.)


2019 & 2020 Steering Committee





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