Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2012

OWA Book Circle 6 Report

by Christina Townsend
On November 5 2012, members of the OWA Book Circle met to discuss Enamored with Place: As Woman + As Architect, Wendy Bertrand, Eyeonplace Press. The book is available for “check-out” from Hamilton + Aitken Architects for all members, but we encourage you to support a fellow member and purchase a book direct from Wendy’s website. Please contact Susan Aitken for more information on checking out the book.

Wendy’s book “is the personal and professional memoir of an architect who tells how her identity and life as woman are inseparable from her adventures in the profession of architecture. She reflects in the epilogue about how what she knows now could influence the way our culture goes about the making of place.”

Wendy welcomed members of the circle to express our thoughts and criticisms of her book. Since Inga Horton is the only other author and member of OWA whose work the book circle has read, it was interesting and possibly a bit intimidating to give feedback directly to the author. The book is written as a series of snapshots of Wendy’s life. Her memoir follows her life chronologically through her childhood, travels, romances, schooling, struggles and achievements as a woman architect.

The book reveals much about Wendy and her growth over time. We discussed her honesty and revelation of countless personal tales and struggles. We appreciated her stories and were reminded that “it’s ok if you don’t always have an exact plan as long as you continue to pursue your passions”. It is easy to relate to her stories told in explicit detail, and her travels are a reminder to us all the joys we find in new experiences. We recounted our favorites parts of the book and in turn themes that surface as women assume more prominent roles in architecture. We discussed hardships in the workplace, things we have given up, and roles and expectations of women in the workplace.

Inga Horton, wrote a thoughtful review of the book in the September/October newsletter, which highlighted one section of the book the Epilogue as the most important part of the book. Please take a look if you missed her article last month.

The book circle is looking into different media for the next meeting in January and will read various articles highlighting women in architecture. Since there are a limited number of spaces available in the circle, please feel free to look into these articles even if they are of interest. Educating ourselves and finding opportunities to support fellow women in the field is the mission of OWA, and these articles may give great insight into perceptions of the industry and changes we will face in the near future.

The Incredible True Adventures of Architectress in American by Gabrielle Esperdy
Why Architects need Feminism by Despina Stratigakos
What I learned from Architect Barbie by Despina Stratigakos
Architecture is too important to be left to men alone by Jermey Till
Judgement Pending by Shelly Penn
Who wants to be a Woman Architect? by Karen Burns
Needed – a more profound commitment to behavioural change by Shane Thompson
Double Whammy Would there be more women in architecture if there were more women in development? by Amanda Kolson Hurley

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