Newsletter | Jul/Aug 2015
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|In this issue:
Nancy Florence, Architect, February 8, 1935 - July 24, 2015: Bobbie Sue Hood remembers her friend and colleague as part of the evolution of women architects over the past 40 years - Bobbie Sue Hood
Editor's CommentsShare #1062
This issue is devoted to a single article by another long time OWA member. The topic is also close to my heart since I too was a friend of Nancy Florence, a rare and wonderful architect, and of the author, Bobbie Sue Hood. It has been a privilege to go through life with such talented architects and wonderful women. The OWA has been and continues to be central to our knowing each other and appreciating such pioneering women architects who were part of a vital movement for women's' rights in architecture from the 1970's. It also allows us all to meet new generations of talented women who will carry on the effort.
REMEMBER THE ANNUAL RETREAT!
The Retreat is coming up on the weekend of September 18th, and there are two places left for last minute members. If interested, please contact:
Janet Crane, Freebairn-Smith and Crane
Planning, Urban Design, Architecture
442 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
NEW STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS NEEDEDShare #1063
At the Retreat we will be nominating at least four new Steering Committee members, and the roles of new and old members will be distributed among next year's Committee. The statements below from current members briefly describe the pleasures and obligations of our five Coordinators. Please think about what you would enjoy doing if you were on the SC, and perhaps consider offering your services!
When someone is seeking to connect with the OWADP, the Information Administrator is often their first point of contact. My favorite recent example was a Girl Scouts troop looking for an office with woman architects they could visit. As with all positions on the Steering Committee, you also have the opportunity to initiate projects you believe will benefit our members. I am excited about our new efforts to facilitate members sharing our collective wisdom. Stay tuned for updates on that in future newsletters and at the retreat.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES COORDINATOR:
As the OWADP Policies and Procedures Coordinator the biggest part of my job is running the Steering Committee meetings and the annual business meeting. Every other month the Steering Committee gets together to plan OWADP events and talk about long term goals. I write the agenda for each meeting and make sure things run smoothly. I love getting together with the Steering Committee to brainstorm exciting new ideas for the OWADP. It is a fun and challenging job that has helped me get to know a lot of the other members.
Six issues a year of our newsletter are published on our website, and are easily put into HTML (without needing to know it) by Bill Hocker’s template with convenient and elegant formatting. The newsletter generally gives an account of recent tours, announces upcoming events, and includes articles by and about various members. Some historical extracts from early newsletters have been included where they seemed relevant. Not everyone may read the newsletter on line, so soon we will be mailing hard copies to members in good standing, and to members who have recently lapsed. It has been great fun, and the help of Jean Nilsson (previous editor) has been invaluable.
EVENTS COORDINATORS (2):
Programs and events are a way for OWADP members to get together throughout the year. Programs are scheduled every two months and as coordinators, you can select from among the countless opportunities in the Bay Area for tours, speakers and discussion panels. You also secure the venue and provide refreshments if appropriate. Over the past two years our experience is that people are incredibly receptive to being a part of/hosting a OWADP program. As a coordinator, it's also a way to utilize/expand your network...it is actually quite easy to fill the calendar.
PUBLIC RELATIONS COORDINATOR:
The primary responsibility of the Public Relations Coordinator is to promote and represent the organization. I am always happy to speak to others and do my best to encourage membership and attendance at events. I maintain the OWADP Facebook and LinkedIn sites, and also serve as a liaison between the Logo Pod and the Steering Committee. To further visibility beyond our web presence this year, I proposed a physical flyer, which was posted at local schools, bookshops, and community boards. While working on this, I had the pleasure of collaborating with the steering committee, members, the community, and even connected with an architect in Iceland to get permission to use a photograph of her building I took.
The membership coordinator keeps track of the membership and the current status for all people in the OWADP database. Her job includes trying to evaluate fluctuations in membership and determine how to increase membership. She devises ways to encourage lapsed members to rejoin OWADP, and ways to encourage non-members to join. Writing to members, outreach and communication are important aspects of this job.
Nancy Florence, Architect, February 8, 1935 - July 24, 2015: Bobbie Sue Hood remembers her friend and colleague as part of the evolution of women architects over the past 40 yearsby Bobbie Sue Hood | Share #1047
Nancy Florence was among the first OWA members in the early 1970's and an early Steering Committee Member. Her life and her career illustrate the gifts and resources women have brought to the design professions, our struggle to be treated the same as male architects, and our search for training and technology to create buildings and find clients with like values for whom we can create work we are proud of. Nancy and I have been friends since before she formally decided to become an architect. In a way, Julia Morgan introduced us - I met Nancy at a talk and slide show which Sarah Holmes Boutelle gave as Sarah began research on Morgan's 800 buildings - about 1974 or 1975. But Nancy's interest in landscape and the relationship of culture, climate, and topography to the arts began long before that.
Born in Los Angeles, Nancy grew up in a family interested in art, music, sports, cooking well, and why some buildings (like a Southern California courtyard house) or objects (like a Japanese teapot or door hardware) not only work well but make an ordinary object beautiful. Her daughter Rachel Baker notes:
"My mother was heavily influenced by the example of her aunt, Rachel Cohen, an artist and independent, single woman in Los Angeles during the early 20th Century. Aunt Ray made her own clothes, ceramics, lamps, stationery, textiles. I think Aunt Ray inspired Nancy to want to create beauty in every element of her environment and to feel she could learn and turn her hand to almost any craft."
Nancy studied botany as an undergraduate at UCLA - drawn by how plants vary according to climate and geography, and thrive by adapting to their environments. They fail by not adapting or by not adapting quickly enough to changing environments. She brought this principal to her architecture. After college, she taught in Japan, outside of Tokyo, for a year. She noted the dialogue between traditional Japanese buildings and their landscape settings - often carefully contrived to look natural. She was fascinated by how good design using high quality local materials and fabrication processes could make useful objects beautiful - fabrics, paper, knives, bowls, teapots - no matter how utilitarian.
Nancy married and had two children, Rachel and Treven Baker. The family settled in Portola Valley, CA, near San Francisco Airport, where her husband John, a pilot for United Airlines was based. She used air travel privileges to visit friends and family living in India and Africa.. She observed local design values, construction techniques, relationships between buildings and their natural surroundings, and everyday objects. She saw how different climates, geography, topography and cultures influence local values and design..
Her love and understanding of Japanese art and culture influenced her first remodeling project from the early 1970's – an addition to the family house on acreage in Portola Valley. This was before Silicon Valley was a synonym for young, rich, high tech billionaires who drive the economy. Locals still kept horses and lived in relatively simple rural houses.. Rutty roads reached unassuming houses sited for convenience and view rather than creating an urban block façade. To remodel her family's home, Nancy chose a prominent Palo Alto architect to advise her, Morgan Stedman, just before he retired. Morgan's values matched hers, so he agreed to work with her as the primary designer, to teach her about structure, construction practices, and how to specify and find materials and subs. Their major addition and remodeling of Nancy's house was her first project and his last. He encouraged her to go back to school and become an architect.
Memorial Service for Nancy FlorenceShare #1065
Rachel and Treven Baker invite Nancy's friends and family to her memorial service:
We will be gathering together on Sunday, September 13, at 11:00 am at Mills College Chapel in Oakland to celebrate our love and friendship with Nancy. Directions to Mills College
We hope that you can join us to share stories and music. (If you have a good story or memory, we hope you might share it.)
After the memorial, we will serve a light, informal lunch nearby on the Mills campus.
Please arrive by 10:45 so that you can park and walk to the chapel. Parking is free and readily available on the Mills campus on Sundays. Just tell the guard at the entrance that you are attending a memorial.
It would be helpful if you could let us know whether you plan to attend, and if you will be able to join us for lunch afterwards. Please also feel free to forward the information about the memorial to any of Nancy's other friends who might like to attend.
Please respond to Rachel Baker if you plan to attend: firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-292-7940