Newsletter | Jan/Feb 2011

OWA Welcomes Beverly Willis

by Susan Aitken
On January 26, the OWA Steering Committee was pleased to invite the architect, artist, author and philanthropist Beverly Willis and Wanda Bubriski, the Director of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) to Hamilton+Aitken offices for a conversation about the respective goals of BWAF and OWA.

Some of you may know Ms. Willis from her career in San Francisco as the principal of a 35- person firm from the 1960’s through the1980’s. One of her best- known projects is the San Francisco Ballet Building in Civic Center.

In 2002 she founded BWAF, headquartered in NYC, to expand the knowledge about women’s contributions to the built environment, find their lost histories, and support contemporary women. The Foundation supports several programs including:
• Building Industry Leaders Roundtable- a group of selected large firms who develop strategies to improve the retention and advancement of women.
• Museum Collaborations-with focus on women in the building industry
• Online Center for Education Resources- Resources for educators, students, and the public including bibliography, films and an on-line feature “Built by Women”.
• Women of the 20th Century American Architecture Collection- preserving the architectural legacies of the women who have shaped our country’s built environment.

In support of this last program, Ms. Bubriski invited our members to contribute biographical information to the National Archive of American Women Architects – including your own history. Look for this link on the BWAF web site, below.

Ms. Willis and Ms Bubriski were enthusiastic about the OWA 40th anniversary plans and offered assistance with advice and introductions, and opened the door to further discussions about how we may link our efforts to advance our mutual goals.

Beverly graciously presented OWA with a copy of “A Girl is a Fellow Here” , 100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright.. BWAF produced this 15 minute documentary, that many of us have already enjoyed viewing at the Westerbeke retreat. OWA will schedule a showing at one of our future meetings.

I recommend that you review the wealth of information on the BWAF website: Beverly Willis’s own archive is available on

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