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finally: "Ich bin Feministin"

Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2021

Volume 49:5 | 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.

In this issue:
Editor's Note - Mui Ho
2021 OWA Retreat is On - Leslie Golden

Editor's Note

by Mui Ho    |  
 Share #1502

Many of our members have done amazing things in the field of design -- buildings, artwork, studies or research -- but with our busy lives, we seldom get to know much about our own member/friends' work.

On 1 Sept 2021, one of our members, Sandhya Sood, presented her paper "Reading Place: Lineage and Modernity in San Francisco Bay Region" at the virtual 16th International Docomomo Conference Tokyo Japan 2020+1. The theme is "Inheritable Resilience: Sharing Values of Global Modernities". An international organization, Docomomo stands for the International Committee for Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement. The organization has many chapters that “endeavour to increase public awareness of the Modern Movement, to preserve and promote the study, interpretation and protection of its architecture, landscape and urban design.” The link for Docomomo US chapter is https://www.docomomo-us.org/

Sandhya’s research investigates the building tradition of the early 1900’s that influenced generations of Bay Area’s architects such as Julia Morgan, Bernard Maybeck, Ernest Born and Garner Dailey. She evaluates attributes of this tradition within the context of the modern movement, revealing shared architectural values that contribute to the making of place. Her paper, “Reading Place: Lineage and Modernity in San Francisco Bay Region” will be published in a book compiling the conference proceedings.

Link for additional information on the conference: https://docomomo2020.com/.

For more than two decades, Sandhya has led a research based architecture practice in California and Chandigarh, India’s modern city designed by Le Corbusier. Her interest lies in traditional and modern design strategies and vocabularies that engage people and the environment. She has written essays for the American Institute of Architects, Society of Architectural Historians and Le Corbusier’s monograph, “Le Corbusier, Chandigarh and the Modern City". Sandhya has been serving on the board of Docomomo, Northern California chapter since 2013 and can be reached at


2021 OWA Retreat is On

by Leslie Golden    |  
 Share #1505

We are looking forward to resuming our annual OWA+DP retreat and bringing it to all current members free of charge. While we can’t go to Westerbecke, as our group would exceed the attendance limits by the County, we are planning a three-day multi-venue event to kick off our return to post Covid-19 reality.

Click here to register for any one of the 3 days or for all of them.

Friday night, September 24th, 2021:

7:00-8:30 PM "Meet and Greet" zoom meeting with your colleagues to introduce yourself and share or give an update from this past year.

Saturday afternoon, September 25th, 2021:

12:00 PM-5:00 PM In-person gathering at a Private Residence, outside in the garden. Proof of vaccination and registration required.

    On Saturday September 25, noon to 5pm all current members are invited to Leslie Goldens spacious backyard with a view of Mt Diablo. Leslie's house is located in Lafayette. Lunch will be provided by a local caterer. Vegetarian options will be available.

    The art project, led by Judy Rowe/Leslie Golden, will be painted rocks – all rocks and paint will be provided. Come spend some time with us and enjoy creating a tiny work of art.

Sunday afternoon, September 26th, 2021:

1:00-3:00 PM Zoom meeting


    Speaker: Jennifer L. Hernandez
    , attorney at Holland & Knight, will recap the history of environmental justice and describe ongoing and overlapping pathways of environmental justice advocacy in relation to California land use and development issues. She will provide perspective on issues ranging from siting and expansion of undesirable land uses such as landfills and heavy industry near minority neighborhoods; infill development and public transit; gentrification and displacement; affordable and attainable housing; upward mobility and homeownership, transportation equity and solving the housing crisis. The program will provide the opportunity to consider and explore how design professionals can apply environmental justice principles to building development in California.

3:30-4:30 PM Zoom meeting with Retreat and Steering Committee

Contact Marda Quon Stothers or T. Rachel Slonicki with questions.

Women we should know about

by Mui Ho    |  
 Share #1490

When I get together with friends and colleagues, we talk about books, work, current events and interesting things or new designs that grab our attention. Oddly, when it comes to accomplishments, men’s names seem to crop up first. The reasons are numerous and is a subject explored by many scholars in various disciplines.

Two stories in the news about women recently caught my attention and I thought I would share them.

The most powerful woman in the world steps down

After almost 16 years Angela Merkel will step down as Chancellor of Germany following elections on Sept 26, 2021. It follows her decision in 2018 not to run as the leader of her CDU party, and hence not to become Chancellor for a fifth term. In the absence of American leadership under Trump, she had become the de facto leader of the free world, arguably the most powerful woman (and competent leader) thus far in the 21st century.

An anonymous, viral internet post about her CDU farewell speech in 2018 captures he respect felt by much of the world for a job well done:

    “During these 18 years of her leadership authority in her country, no transgressions of political power were ever recorded against her. She did not assign any of her relatives to a government position. She did not claim that she was the maker of glories. She did not get millions of euros in commission payments, nor did she hire or compel anyone to cheer her performance. She did not receive charters and pledges, and she did not fight those who preceded her. In 2021, Merkel elected to step down, not attempt to get a fifth term as the Chancellor of Germany, left the party leadership position and handed it over to those who came after her, with Germany and its German people in the best condition ever.

    The reaction of the Germans was unprecedented in the history of the Country. The entire population went out to their balconies of their houses and clapped for her spontaneously for six continuous minutes. A standing ovation nationwide. Germany stood as one body bidding farewell to their leader, a chemical physicist who was not tempted by the fashions or the fancy lights and who did not buy real estate, cars, yachts and private planes. She was always well aware of the fact that she is from former East Germany. "

She leaves not just popular in Germany, but the most approved politician in the world. It is just one more indication, known since Eden by women but only now being scientifically proved, that women are simply better leaders.

And now, no longer inhibited by the need appease conservative sentiments to get things done, she has for the first time acknowledged, "Ja, Ich bin Feministin".

Artist Yayoi Kusama

a facination with nature

Yayoi Kusama, now 92 years old, is one of the most famous artists of her generation. Her recent installation at the New York Botanical Garden has won the hearts of art critics and the public alike. Kusama was born in 1929 in Nagano Prefecture, Japan where her family ran a seed company.

In a recent article, writer Salome Gómez-Upegui showcases "Yayoi Kusama’s Fascination with Nature". She writes: "Legendary artist Yayoi Kusama is a global sensation. She has paved the way for Minimalism, Pop art, performance art, and immersive art installations. And her radical works featuring pumpkins, flowers, polka dots, loops, and mirrors excavating ideas of self-obliteration, fear, and infinity have attracted massive audiences to prestigious art institutions around the world."

I encountered one of her pumpkins first hand while visiting the Benesse Art Site on the island of Naoshima in Japan's Inland Sea. While art pundits tend to look for deep meanings in her work, it was the sheer spirit of playfulness and visual delight, the astounded eye of a child great artists often bring to their work, that I find most attractive.

the mother of the immersive art movemnt

More Women in the News

 Share #1512

As if we needed more examples of barriers to be faced, two groups of women are in the news recently, both standing up to the tyranny of male-dominated societies that want to return to the dark ages of history. Most of humanity has moved on, in fits and starts, toward more protections and rights for women. In only a few places in the world are patrichaical governments working purposefully to push the clock back and cancel the rights that women have worked so hard to gain in the last two generations. These last few years have been a difficult reminder that the gains women have made since the great awakening in the 1970's, in which the OWA played its small part, should never be taken for granted.

Kabul 9/3/21Austin 9/1/21

Afghan Women in Architecture

With the beginning of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, and Afghan women protesting the threat to the opportunities that they have pursued in the last two decades, we would like to note one inspiring example of the results of that opportunity in the field of architecture, in this article from 2017:

Quantera.de 8/16/17: Reconstruction in Afghanistan: The strong women of Darul Aman

Architecture, Abortion and Texas

This 2020 article, in the AIA magazine "Architect", takes a deep dive into the intersection of Architecture, Abortion and Texas:

Architect 4/13/20: Architecture, TRAP Laws, and the Battle Over Abortion

    "Being an architect and a woman and having a daughter, it was important to me to help protect the rights that we had won with Roe. Those rights are being eroded on a daily basis, and one way was through violence. I was interested in ways of addressing that issue and providing people with better places to receive health care. And I still feel that way because it’s only gotten worse.”
    -- SF Architect Anne Fugeron

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