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Joint Book Circle and Equity by Design (Missing 32% AIASF) Discussion–Feminism and Architecture (Francesca Martin)

Newsletter | Jan/Feb 2015

Volume 43:1
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In this issue:
Editor's Comments - The Editor

Editor's Comments

by The Editor    |    Share #1011

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 Angry

by Ian Berke    |    Share #1010

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 Presidio

by Lucia Bogatay    |    Share #1003

The pool at the Chase (L. Bogatay) Figure 1

In October, Lucia Bogatay and Sharon Gadberry, both members of the PHA board, took off in Lucia's new car to visit Lucia's brother in Bisbee, Arizona, and to explore some of the early Spanish sites in Southern Arizona. Starting south from Tucson, and armed with an introduction to the Park curator Shaw Kinsley, from Boyd de Larios, they arrived at Tubac State Historic Park, not far from the Mexico border. They drove along a portion of the Anza Trail, along which the first settlers of San Francisco had traveled in 1775. Along the way, they listened to a CD from the Anza Trail Guide. The words of Don Gorate, narrating the disc, the clopping of burros, the lowing of cattle, the haunting trail hymn, the Alabada, and words of the O'ohdam language, all provided a strange but unforgettable 18th Century atmosphere for the trip.

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.

San Ignacio de Tubac (Arizona State Parks) Figure 2

The Tubac Presidio was moved to Tucson in 1776 in an effort to shorten and regularize the distance between the inland presidios and form a line of them which stretched across Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. While this creation of a single line instead of a more scattered distribution of presidios served to regulate and standardize them, it was less flexible and it didn’t solve the military problem of defending adequately the Spanish population against the hostiles, and was later condemned as a colossal blunder.2 The inland presidios were constantly beleaguered by attacks, and doubled their size every few years in response to being enormously outnumbered by the marauding Apaches, who on several occasions, managed to destroy the fortifications. As the presidios provided protection, they attracted retainers and families around forming them a pueblo. As the presidios grew in population, so did the pueblos near them. The increasing pressure on the indigenous population of Spanish colonization provoked an uprising of the Yuma in 1781 and resulted in the closing of the overland supply route created by Anza, requiring that the California garrisons thereafter be supplied by sea.3

According to the park literature, the Tubac Presidio is one of only three presidios in Arizona. A presidio is buried under downtown Tucson, and another is near Fairbank in Cochise County.4 Bogatay and Gadberry visited, at Kinsley’s recommendation, a reconstruction of part of the Tucson Presidio which included a charming southwestern restaurant.
By contrast with the inland presidios, the coastal presidios in California were intended to discourage the British and French territorial ambitious by sea, and were seldom attacked by hostiles, were perhaps even more poorly funded, supplied, and staffed, and the garrison spent much of its time rebuilding earthquake weather damaged adobe structures. Since there was little budget for construction, labor was provided by conscripts who were assigned to make adobe and do other building tasks. The presidio captains regularly requested conscripts with carpentry and other building skills.

Misión San Cayetano de Tumacácori, 1800 (L. Bogatay) Figure 3

From Tubac, Sharon and Lucia continued south to San José de Tumacácori, a mission established in 1691 as Misión San Cayetano de Tumacácori, and moved and renamed after a 1571 uprising. It is a National Historical Park. Its large, impressive, and incomplete mission church was begun in about 1800 and its grounds are lovely. Reconstructed gardens and out--buildings, vegitable and flower gardens and an orchard complete the site.5

The final gem of their exploration of the region’s architecture of New Spain was a visit to the magnificent Misión San Xavier del Bac, just south of Tucson. The present church, not far from the airport, can be seen across the desert, a dramatic white form, silhouetted against the mountains. It was built by Franciscan father Juan Bautista de Belderrain (after the expulsion of the Jesuits) in the early 1780’s. It is still in use today by the descendants of the original O’odham neophytes

The town of Bisbee, about 90 miles South of Tucson, is an old copper mining center for Phelps Dodge. It has a wildly picturesque site and lots of early twentieth century buildings in various states of disrepair. It is an interesting cross between Santa Fe and a ghost town, and is waging a battle against entropy. Most of the adobe structures have melted away, leaving empty the higher terraces along the stairs which range the canyons which form the town.

Todd Bogatay lives about 1200 feet above the town of Bisbee on 80 on the mountain above the tunnel into the Bisbee canyon. For thirty years or more he has been constructing things for himself and others on his 80 acres. He practices architecture, designing projects for public and private clients, but delights most to design and build for himself and his friends using salvaged materials, natural rock, ferro-cement and reinforcing bars, producing structures which are half sculpture and half architecture. All his creations are off the grid, and passively heated, using PV for power and light. It is a breathtaking and beautiful site, and the views from his living room terrace into Mexico are gorgeous. OWA/DP members who find themselves in Bisbee should contact him because, being a bit isolated, he loves to entertain and tour his creations. However, the road up the mountain is gravel,

Binaziz, residence of Todd Bogatay. (T. Bogatay) Figure 5

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 - IAWA

by Inge Horton    |    Share #997

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, who will be our contact person.

Wendy Bertrand at IAWA (Inge Horton)

He also mentioned that the Special Collections Department is working on a drop-off site for donors to deposit their electronic files. When I talked with Samantha Winn, she added the following comments:

"Regarding the drop-off site for electronic records, we recently set up a small website to transfer materials. We request that donors who are interested in submitting digital files contact us first so that we can discuss the details of transfer and long-term care. After we have met with the donor, we will be happy to share the URL for the drop-off site and the access code required to upload files. Alternatively, we are able to receive electronic files stored on optical media, thumb drives, external hard drives, etc.

Electronic records have very specific archival concerns, and the department is exploring how we can meet those needs in the future. As an example of one obstacle presented by electronic records, I have a small number of architectural drawings from a drafting class in high school. It would be quite a feat to view them today since they were created in AutoCAD 2000 (a program I no longer have) and stored on floppy disks (which my computer cannot even read!) This truly is a new frontier for archivists. For the past few years, our staff have been working with other archivists at the national level to tackle some of these challenges - it is an area that I am particularly passionate about.

With respect to transferring physical records, we are often willing to travel to the donor to review the records in person (depending upon our availability). Donors may choose to request a site visit if there are serious concerns about the condition of the records, but in the vast majority of cases it is not necessary."

    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.

    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

    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 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 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 or contact Samantha Winn at (540) 231-7486 or email her at

    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
      Newman Library
      560 Drillfield Drive
      Virginia Tech
      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

Milka Blizankov, founder of IAWA at Milk'a' house. She is on the left. Wendy Bertrand is seated, and the other person is unknown to the Editor (photo by Inge Horton)

    If you anticipate that you will need some of your drawings for an addition or alteration it would be easiest if you keep blueprints or other copies. However, the Archive is able to provide you with reference services and duplication of material and drawings if the need should arise.

    Where is your name? Below is a list of women designers from California who donated their records to the IAWA and of three associations of women architects and design professionals. I want to encourage you to donate records of your work so that your name can be added.

    List of Bay Area architects who donated their work: (My apologies for any omissions)

AULENTI, GAE, (Asian Art Museum)

The Thrill of the Hunt: Amazing Buildings

by Suzette Sherman    |    Share #999

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.

Philip Johnson’s famous “Glass House” for all to see and for all to see in (credit:

Philip Johnson’s famous “Glass House” for all to see and for all to see in

Quite frankly, this is a surprisingly common bug. I have a friend who trespassed onto Martha Stewart’s property to view Martha’s new modernist house (but I’m not naming any names here or angling for any lawsuits). It was also known that many an unsuspecting enthusiast snuck into the wooded property of the highly regarded modernist “Glass House.” Often at inappropriate timing to unexpectedly witness the architect and owner Philip Johnson entertaining a young boy lover fully exposed within the infamous glass walls and typically followed by an angry chase scene off the property.

Arquitectonica’s doorless “Atlantis” building fully embraced by technological spyware (credit:

Stories make buildings and buildings make stories. So then went my adventures over the years as well – no lack of stories to tell. From the black slick doorless walls of the base of Miami’s Atlantis building suddenly sliding open to expose cameras having tracked me trying to crack in and my consequently feeling like an exposed cat burglar on the spot. To breaking in on a quiet weekend by climbing the tall perimeter walls of La Jolla, California’s Salk Institute, carefully slinking around and feeling like a bonafide savvy Pink Panther. These days, I can check off many an architectural wonder I’ve visited in my copy of 1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die by Mark Irving. It’s like picking a dessert — you just can’t eat them all, so which ones will you take a nibble of on your tray of life.

A surreal yet real place of the “Treasury at Petra” (credit:

Visiting buildings is delicious, adventuresome, memorable and never to be forgotten. Mark Irving’s book is a great comprehensive compendium and should be on any building lover’s to-do list (especially those seriously working on their bucket list). As I browse – sigh – I know I will never have the time or the pleasure to see all the buildings in his thick jam-packed book covering the historical gamut, but I can dream, drool and fantasize. Many are fantastical edifices, like the Temple of Kailasnath in India or the Treasury at Petra in Jordan, appearing more fantasy film set than real life place.

Casa Malaparte in Capri, Italy nestled in its breathtaking location (credit:

Leafing through this book you realize, just like people and cultures, buildings also come in all sizes, shapes, colors and locations. Depending on the cities you’ve lived in, you’ve already seen a few or more of those in this book. If you’re not sure what to see, then crack a copy and get your walking shoes on. If you’re not afraid to be surrounded by patrol cars, you may enjoy the thrill of the hunt and trespassing – just kidding, I don’t recommend it to that degree. Or do I?

There are too many great buildings to even attempt to list in this review, but there is one personal favorite I must note, the Casa Malaparte in Capri, Italy. I became aware of it through director Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Le Mepris. Situated at the tip of a peninsula on a sheer cliff, the combined building shape melts into rock to be a true architectural “myth.” Hard to reach, once you’ve laid eyes on it, you dream of traveling to this remote private location to experience a one-of-a-kind dramatic design. Endlessly clocked in mystery, the owner is long dead and yet the austere sophisticated furnishings still remain. Number one on my list to experience before I die.

Ah, so many places to see, but so little time. If you lust for buildings, you’ll eat up the selection in this book full of treats.
- See more at Suzette’s blog here.

OWA Book Circle + AIASF Missing 32% Discuss Feminism and Architecture

by Jean Nilsson    |    Share #1016

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.

The Book Circle at MK THINK (Francesca Martin)

Wendy Bertrand introduced the Book Circle and the joint program. Liz Lessig and Katie Peska of MK Think welcomed us in their workspace, which was perfect for the gathering, and at the end of the program gave us a tour of their studios and look into their collaborative process and projects. We opened the discussion by going around the circle introducing ourselves and sharing a few words on how comfortable we each feel talking about feminism, on a scale of 1-10.

Jean Nilsson and Rosa Sheng facilitated discussion. We viewed three segments of Torre’s talk, with discussion after each excerpt, along the following outline. The participants included architects and other design professionals with a wide range in their career stages, and the discussion was both provocative and supportive.

Torre titles her address “Feminism and Architecture” and uses the word “feminist” throughout the lecture. She outlines the strong Impact of Feminist Ideas in Architecture over 40 years, and is very comfortable talking about Feminism in connection with Architecture.
Do we have a responsibility as women architects to incorporate feminist concerns and ideas in our design work? How can we do so? Why might we choose not to?

Torre notes that the phenomenon of tokenism may explain why many women in architecture have supported women’s advancement in the profession as a principle, but have rejected being associated with feminism. The opposite of a “token” is a “change agent”.

Does “tokenism” explain why some women insist that they are “architects”, not “women architects”? Or are there other reasons? Are the women in leadership roles in architecture tokens or change agents?

We shared our views on how we see ourselves and others, some commenting on why we may prefer not to use the word woman and architect in the same sentence, others sharing examples from their work lives in which they were agents of change.

In the last video clip, the end of Torre’s lecture, she notes that the respect and support of peers is a stronger factor of success than having a mentor, and also reminds us of the importance of challenging and redefining the criteria for “inscribing the work of women into history.”

We ended the evening’s discussion by again going around the circle to hear closing remarks from everyone present, and made a commitment to keep the discourse alive.

The video, courtesy of The Architectural League of New York, is available to view at the League's website

Panel Discussion on Guiding Your Career at January Meeting

by Jean Nilsson    |    Share #1017

Carolyne Orazi, OWA and ASLA member, put together a diverse yet complimentary panel to discuss building and guiding your career in architecture and landscape architecture, held January 29th at Charles Sutter Associates in San Francisco.

Jen Cooper, ASLA, moderated the panel that included architect Cameron White (Kaiser Permanente), and landscape architects Jeff Miller (Miller Company Landscape Architects), Patricia Algara (BASE Landscape Architects), Tim Deacon (Tim Deacon Landscape Architects) and Katrina Majewski. The panel shared their own professional stories and our discussion ranged from working in small and large firms, how to take advantage of being out of work, going out on your own, partnering, collaboration, and practical issues of how to earn a living doing what you love. The themes of social and community orientation and aligning work with your values frequently entered into the conversation.

Participants’ questions and comments kept the evening discussion interactive and lively. Thank you, Carolyne, Cammy, and all panelists and participants, for an excellent event.

Cammy White addressing the group. (Jean Nilsson)

CASp Accessibility Training March 2-5

by Jean Nilsson    |    Share #1019

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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