Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2013

International Archive of Women in Architecture

by Inge Horton

At the 2013 retreat celebrating the 40th anniversary of OWA, members showcased their professional achievements and set goals for the coming ten years.

After the customary short presentations by all retreat participants on Friday night, on Saturday we listened to twenty longer talks on specific issues related to women in architecture. In some cases, a lively discussion followed. I could not help thinking that this open cherishing of so many proud achievements should be captured in a more permanent form. Thus, I urged OWA members to donate documents of their work to the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA.

Many OWA members have heard my plea for donating drawings and other documents to the IAWA before this event but this time was a little different because I myself had just sent six large boxes of files from my research of early women architects to IAWA. Now I know firsthand of the emotional difficulty of letting go of something that is dear to one’s heart. However, I felt that it was an important and necessary thing to do as I have heard many stories about drawings and files being destroyed by the children or executers of a deceased woman architect. They often did not know what to do with the records. One of the horror stories is that of a prominent woman architect in San Francisco who had all her drawings destroyed when she found out that she had 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 UCB or at your alma mater. At the IAWA you will be in the good company of women who reviewed their work and selected projects for donation.

See the list of California architects who already donated documents to the IAWA at the end of this article. Or visit here, and you will see a display of truly international colleagues.

Please download the attached PDF document for further information here.

more information is here

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