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*** Women and Minorities in architecture ***

jojodancer

I stopped by Harvard GSD in the early 90's and it was so cool to see female and minority students were almost 55% of the student body. I was thinking in the near future, there should be more talented female and minority architects coming out in this profession......

Back to the future now. Still I haven't seen that many emerging female or minority architects in the profession but sadly, I have seen many of them got lay-off first when the economy was in bad shape.

There are only few established female architects in the profession these days. Unfortunately, most of them are in the category of "husband and wife / minority wife" teams. So where are the others Zaha Hadid?

I think gender / race is still a deciding factor in this profession.

 
May 22, 09 5:51 pm
SoulBrother#1

I think gender and race should not be grouped together as they are separate factors in the profession.

May 22, 09 6:15 pm  · 
 · 
Cherith Cutestory

I think you also have to take in consideration that architects really don't become successful or "established" until their 40's+. Zaha will be 60 next year and it wasn't too long ago she was just a paper-architect. Which means that although the amount of women in schools has recently increased, as you have noted, the current generation of successful architects went to school in the 60's and 70's when architecture was still mainly a "men's profession."

That said, I think if you look, you will find other "solo" women in architecture. I would identify Eileen Gray as really paving the way for women in the profession. It's a shame that a lot of history classes skip over her in favor of Corbu. I guess I was lucky to have a raving feminist as an Arch. Hist. professor.

May 22, 09 7:05 pm  · 
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MADianito
jojodancer

what is a minority?, maybe people getting educated in the states go back to their origin places and then become successful, is Minsuk Cho from MASS STUDIES a minority??, i think in Korea an american practicing architect is a minority.... i really dont get why UNIVERSITIES (which comes from the implicit term "universal"), use the tag: MINORITY.... is kind of contradictory....

so back to the present...
"...Still I haven't seen that many emerging female or minority architects..."

so then who are this people ("minorities",and a lot of them women practicing in the states), most of them selected for the ORDOS 100 site as offices from the USA, and as far as i understand, ORDOS 100 invited EMERGENT ARCHITECTS/PRACTICES:

-n architects' Eric Bunge (Canada) and Mimi Hoang, (VietNam)
-Amale Andraos (Beirut) from WORK AC
-Daniel Holguin from Multiplicity (Mexico)
-Pablo Castro (Argentina) from OBRA architects
-Hernan Diaz Alonzo (Argentina) from Xefirotarch
- Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss (Serbia) from NAO
-Mariana Ibañez (Argentina) and Simon Kim (Korea), from IKstudio
-Jinhee Park (Korea) from SSD (single speed design)
-Ingebor Monika Rocker (Germany) from Rocker-Lange architects

without mentioning the so not-emergent-anymore like Winka Dubbeldam (The Netherlands) and or Lindy Roy, (South Africa) and Nanako Umemoto (Japan) from Raiser + Umemoto, Enrique Norten (Mexico) from TEN Architects, and so many cases which might be slipping my mind right now ( i guess also at least half of my small list are females)....

i just think u had a very bad choice of words...

May 22, 09 7:19 pm  · 
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ovalle

Here are some women who are changing the architectural fabric of cities.

Deborah Berke: http://www.dberke.com/
Audrey Matlock: http://audreymatlock.com/
Jeanne Gang: http://www.studiogang.net/
Annabelle Selldorf : http://www.selldorf.com/
Carme Pinos: http://www.cpinos.com/
Benedetta Tagliabue of EMBT: http://www.mirallestagliabue.com/
Kazuyo Sejima, of Sanaa: http://www.sanaa.co.jp/

May 22, 09 8:20 pm  · 
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jojodancer

Great info and input!

Glad to hear these designers are doing well in their countries.

However, I would like to focus the topic within US established firms. Let's see how many female or minority designers have reached to the positions or partner, principal or senior designer.....

I am sure there are a few but not as board as I expected before.


xxxxxxxx

Did Eileen Gray design any houses with Corbu? I thought they only worked on furniture together.

May 22, 09 8:23 pm  · 
 · 
byen01

Well, Corb basically branded E-1027 as his own, what with his effacing mural and all. But yes, aside from the sparce furniture designs, that was the extent to their collab.

May 22, 09 8:42 pm  · 
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MADianito
JOJO

all i listed were foreign origin ("minorities" as u call them)partner female architects practicing in ESTABLISHED and tax paying offices into the United States of America...oh and emergent as u wished... so now u want established firms?? i dont get now what's ur thread about...

"established" means large for u?? SOM, KMD and such?

May 22, 09 8:50 pm  · 
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treekiller

the new dean at penn design was previously the CEO of SOM. Certainly a power woman: planner/executive/educator...

There are lots of boomer & gen x women doing great stuff around the states.

May 22, 09 9:02 pm  · 
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montu

.. a minefield!

May 22, 09 10:50 pm  · 
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montu

JOJO- I am curious ... Have you ever herd of:

Deborah Berke: http://www.dberke.com/
Audrey Matlock: http://audreymatlock.com/
Jeanne Gang: http://www.studiogang.net/
Annabelle Selldorf : http://www.selldorf.com/
Carme Pinos: http://www.cpinos.com/
Benedetta Tagliabue of EMBT: http://www.mirallestagliabue.com/
Kazuyo Sejima, of Sanaa: http://www.sanaa.co.jp/

Before this string?

May 22, 09 10:52 pm  · 
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chatter of clouds

in some interview with Zaha Hadid, you pass over a quite poignant spot where she discloses that her life is pretty much her architecture and she pauses over her choice in single-mindedly pursuing a solo performance. the pause is atypical and tentative, almost reflective and therefore holds the unstated possibility that she might regret not having a partner. it was not too clear whether in life or at work, but, given her sense of individualism and dedication to her work, one need not draw a strict divide between both types of partnerships.

in some ways, she herself, as a woman architect, is totally atypical given that her exoticized and fetishized figurehood fuelled by the combo of being a woman, being confrontational, being forgein and being fat, has landed her in a position between the strictly priofessional and the gossipy personal. zaha's appearance on magazine covers encloses the promise of a juicy tabloid; this engenders a dual impression is that she is both the licensious model , the personal receptive object of mostly gender/ed/ing tropes andthe modeler,architect, supremely opaque, shrouded in black, and productive

May 23, 09 3:31 am  · 
 · 
chatter of clouds

in some ways, this reminds me of temple prostitutes who are, on a religious stark level, revered, and on a pop-culture level, the objects of rumour and gossip; figures who encircle and enclose the stark secrecy of words but also who are encircled and enclosed by the licensious proliferation of words.

May 23, 09 3:37 am  · 
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talkitect

Does Liz Diller from Diller Scofido and Renfro satisfy your requirements for women as principals of established firms in the US?

I know it's not in the USA but Anne Cormier is the director of the University of Montreal school of architecture and a Partner in a firm called Ateleir Big City which is an established award winning design firm in Montreal.

I also would second the post above that says architect usually only become "famous" or "established" later in their careers. Thus if there was a big influx of women and minorities in the 90's and 00's then we would see them rise to prominence about 30-40 years later...so check back again in 2030.

I did my undergrad degree at McGill Univeristy in Montreal and out of 55 students 40 of them were women and perhaps half were not white if that is what being a minority is (they were mostly of Asian and Middle Eastern origin). It was a fantastically diverse group.

May 23, 09 4:13 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]
I think gender / race is still a deciding factor in this profession.

this is the only thing i agree with.

May 23, 09 7:13 am  · 
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won and done williams

evidently these are the posts of the "post-racial" world we now live in. i'm not sure i completely buy the rhetoric.

are the real racial and gender issues facing the profession being swept under the carpet in the euphoria of this newly perceived equality? {or at least because of the ascendance of a handful of celebrity minority architects?)

[soulbrother's right however - lumping racial and gender issues under the same heading makes this conversation difficult.]

May 23, 09 8:50 am  · 
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brian buchalski

post-racial? i thought we lived in a post-gender world.

May 23, 09 10:41 am  · 
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treekiller

yes puddles, you don't have to wear pants.

May 23, 09 12:43 pm  · 
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SoulBrother#1

what about Black architects? Why do you think there aren't any internationally known Black architects out there? (African-American)

May 24, 09 2:17 am  · 
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hillandrock

Because architecture schools hand out mentholated grape flavored pencils with ... and african-american architecture students can never finish a test?

what an awful joke... it was from drawn together. I apologize in advance.

May 24, 09 3:07 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

h&R perhaps you should just start a thread called stereotypes that the KKK would agree with. is this the first time you've used the internets?

May 24, 09 7:09 am  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

now i get why Orhan busted your ass.

May 24, 09 7:10 am  · 
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SoulBrother#1

i actually laughed at that one. But when the minority conversation comes up, women are discussed, immigrants are discussed, but nobody seems to want talk about the fact that about 1% of American architects are black.

May 24, 09 10:40 am  · 
 · 
stone

Some background information that participants of this thread might find useful and/or interesting:

link: AIA Statements on Diversity

link: 2008 AIA Diversity Plenary

link: 2009–2013 AIA Diversity Action Plan



May 24, 09 11:19 am  · 
 · 
treekiller

of that 1%, david adjaye (a brit) + his DC partners in the museum, max bond (RIP), walter hood (okay, he's a 'scaper) are a few of the folks I know. as to educators, Nat Belcher kicks it in miami, and the list goes on...

May 24, 09 11:36 am  · 
 · 
treekiller

opps- wrong belcher link... here is the dude.

May 24, 09 11:38 am  · 
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SoulBrother#1

treekiller...thanks for mentioning these guys.. walter hood's "Hood Diaries" is interesting. I just don't hear anyone on these boards mention these guys or any other black architects. how terrible is it that the even the most well-known black architect in the US today isn't from America?

May 24, 09 12:37 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Freelon is teaming with Adjaye and Smithgroup.

May 24, 09 12:53 pm  · 
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treekiller

Talking about soul and sister architects is a great topic that we NEED to discuss more.

since we're on the topic, gotta shout out to CHAD in philly - it's still too new a high school to have graduates in places of distinction, but it has the potential to change the face of philly architecture. there are other charter schools with similar missions that are introducing our poor kids to the joys and discipline of design - all the more power to them....

'nother african/angeleno worth shouting out to is joe addo who has rocked los angeles and accra and then some. great guy, very humble, approachable, and all around cool.

May 24, 09 3:39 pm  · 
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randomized

Is there an affirmative action policy for admittance of "minorities" and women in arch.school in the US? Maybe that has also something to do with it, I don't know.

May 24, 09 3:48 pm  · 
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snook_dude

I always find this question a bit over the top, as I have had the experience of working with some really fine people in architecture from all over the world and from both genders and some mid-gender and well I think they all get their space. People who zero in on the magazines for recognition need to get a life. Look in your own community and you might be surprised by what is happening out there. If your a guy and it isn't happening maybe you need to go study in Brazil where the Architecture Schools are dominated by women.

May 24, 09 4:10 pm  · 
 · 
holz.box

i feel like we rehash this every year or so...

some others of note (in the u.s.)

toshiko mori
lise ann couture
coren sharples
gwynne pugh
laurie hawkinson
andrea leers
hilary sample
jane weinzapfel
karen fairbanks
victoria meyers
monica ponce de leon
winka dubbeldam
julie snow
maryann thompson

May 24, 09 4:45 pm  · 
 · 
snook_dude

toshiko mori...former head of GSD then again maybe she is still the head of GSD. Oh ya Monica ponce de leon is HOT!

May 24, 09 5:37 pm  · 
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hillandrock

Soulbrother...

To seriously answer your question--- I think the public realm, architecture and urban planning (although not really unified untile the garden city movement) has been contentious towards blacks for a long time.

Since the Reconstruction til the L.A. race riots, control of the public realm has been pretty openly used as a discriminatory tool against blacks and the poor. And now, that's even diversified a little more into religious, ethnic and nationalistic tendencies towards discrimination over a group of individuals-- i.e., baptist [not trying to single anyone out] communities often prohibit the sale, distribution and consumption of alcohol through land use and zoning ordinances. This essentially disrupts the rest of the community and by extension prevents other denominations of churches from being built within the same area.

Once Jim Crow was phased out by the Civil Rights Act, CPTED came in to replace it. Instead of taking the word 'black' out of a lot of the property, zoning and ordinance laws... they simply replaced it with "poor." For a long time, poor and black were synonymous. If you can't attack the black legally anymore, it becomes easier to just attack the poor. Well, this is kind of backfiring as the definition of poor is growing and it targets many other people who maybe considered poor (those under the age of 30, those with no credit, those over 65).

So, in a sense, I think the perception of the built environment is so heavily tarnished from the decisions of generations past and is relatively so downplayed as a source of causation... that few people are either even remotely interested in it or go on to pursue other more "worthwhile" causes.

It probably wasn't until last decade that they could prove with any validity that property can be used as a form of racism, that the quality of an environment can actually cause poverty, that the built environment can actually create crime and that development patterns have a history in our very racist past.

So, yeah, I think many disadvantaged and or segregated people think of city government, architecture and development as a source of their woes-- from 40 acres and a donkey to single occupancy rooms to vertical ghettos.

May 24, 09 7:00 pm  · 
 · 
SoulBrother#1

treekiller, thanks for actually discussing the aspect of this topic that always goes overlooked whenever the topic of minorities in architecture comes up.

May 24, 09 7:32 pm  · 
 · 
treekiller

anytime sb! guess my jewfro gives me soul so I appreciate the value of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in the design world, or maybe it was working on the wayan bros for two seasons. Racism is as much an issue of unfamiliarity, as it is fear/bigotry.

A bigger issue is the self-segregation of america into lots of micro-demographics. Hipster/square, SUV/prius drivers, professional/laborer, atheist/evangelical - each group has it's own neighborhood far away from it's opposite... race is one of the last demographics that people choose to be segregated by. Look at a rich doctor, they are less likely to live next to a trailer parks then somebody of a different race but of a similar economic/education/class.

May 24, 09 8:30 pm  · 
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SoulBrother#1

tk..i agree with all of that. Most of the -isms of the world are perpetuated by capitalism..imo

May 24, 09 11:37 pm  · 
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treekiller

don't blaime the dollar - blame folks insecurities and their need to feel superior/thump their chest. we (human) have been doing this since before Jericho...

May 25, 09 10:20 am  · 
 · 
MAMBO

WHICH RACES ARE CONSIDERED MINORITIES?


I PRESUME: ASIANS? BLACKS? HISPANICS? BASICALLY ANYTHING NON-WHITE?


PLEASE LET ME KNOW. THANKS.

May 25, 09 11:58 am  · 
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chatter of clouds

being, statistically, "minority" does not necessarily that you've been handed the short end of the stick; in fact, some minorities rule over a majority: apartheid south africa, occupied palestine; shiites are certainly not a minority in bahrain yet they're ill represented (being that the ruling family is originally suadi)...etc. women, worldwide, are certainly not a minority and yet might suffer, and afro americans are not suffering because they are.

middle class middle aged white men are not a majority in western countries, although they might be one of the biggest minorities. to really get over this whole static type casting way of looking at minorities and majorities, perhaps we should look at outselves as minorities in some way and majorities in others...and that, even then, a minority can act like a majority and vice versa.

May 25, 09 11:58 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

why? why are we waiting to address this issue at the University level? treekilla points to CHAD as a model, where the design community is engaging the under served at the high school level, this is a start, albeit a minor effort. why are we looking at minorities in terms of race and/or gender? why aren't we more focused on those populations at risk, under served, under represented, and severely challenged areas? poor white kids in the rural areas of the country are no less a minority class than inner city urban kids, but they are just as forgotten. what about kids of military families, they're just as poor - especially when you take into account what they have to go through or suffer through; i should know.

go to a local AIA event, look around the room, see how many people look different than you, and that's where it should start, but on a local level we seem less interested in the idea of diversity than we are a national level. i was at the AIA convention in SF this year, and on a national level i have to say i was a little taken aback by the diversity, and i thought perhaps we are more diverse than i thought. then i came home and went to a local event, and i realized no we're not. so, what gives? perhaps the issue is that segregation is alive and well in the architectural community? perhaps, like Eric Holder noted; we are cowards when it comes to discussions of race, and we can't figure out how to talk to one another yet?

or, even more insidiously, we don't care and don't want to talk about the past, because the past is past?

May 25, 09 12:40 pm  · 
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SoulBrother#1

"perhaps the issue is that segregation is alive and well in the architectural community? perhaps, like Eric Holder noted; we are cowards when it comes to discussions of race, and we can't figure out how to talk to one another yet?"

I think this is the problem

May 25, 09 1:05 pm  · 
 · 
chatter of clouds

or you've figured how to talk to one another but you just don't want to talk to one another. maybe when we drop the "we", we'll no longer even have to talk to one another to get along. why should anyone talk to someone from another class, culture or ethnicity just to prove a point? is it really about talk? i've met people who meditate a lot and talk very little get on very well with each other and others.

May 25, 09 1:56 pm  · 
 · 
chatter of clouds

and does the freudian/catholic notion that talking brings the bad things to surface and exorcize them really work all the time? wasn't nazism a very honest very public and rhetorical disclosure of the racist zeitgeist then? there is more to it than talk...

May 25, 09 2:09 pm  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

yesterday's sunday times magazine has a good piece on race and segregation. on a work/school level everyone seems to communicate well, with respect and deference to varying opinions/points of view, but when it comes to socializing, the us/and/them is overwhelming.

i think part of the problem is the passed generation[s] need to engage in a top down pressure to not engage. this seems pretty apparent when you consider black urban youth and white urban youth, they have no problem interacting, engaging in cultural dialogue, partly because in their worlds they are the same. when white suburban kids try to act all urban, and then try to engage kids from the urban areas, it comes off as inauthentic and fake.

perhaps that might be a start? start with authenticity, and try not to be a poser? lead with respect for others, regardless of class or prejudice, stereotypes?

May 25, 09 7:30 pm  · 
 · 
nonarchitect

I think one reason there are fewer well known black architects have a lot to do in with who is in control in architectural media,(i.e, lots of old white males...), and in architecture schools. Hero worship is much stronger in disciplines such as architecture, art, writing, etc..where there is no such thing as objective truth.., hence, starchitects have media spans way past their productive periods. ( take liebeskind and steven holl...have they built anything in the past 5 years approximating beauty or novelty ?...yet everything they build gets covered by the press..) I know several black architects who have been very successful as professionals, and have enviable practices, and involved with community development, and yet never get covered by Dwell or Wallpaper. Yet some young firms who covered restaurants in plywood gets all the press. Because a smaller percentage of black architects were trust fund kids, they have actually been involved in far smarter and progressive practices in architecture, mostly through necessity. Yet, architectural press have never looked beyond the surface.

May 25, 09 9:45 pm  · 
 · 
randomized

nonarch. do you really think editors at those magazines refuse certain designs because of the skin colour or gender of the designer??? maybe those magazines want to write about young firms that cover restaurants with plywood, just because they like it. I agree though with the trustfund thing, when you have financial freedom you can experiment in your practice and do unusual risky things that get coverage in the media and that gets you new commissions etc. it's a $$$ thing.

May 26, 09 5:32 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

is it possible that these magazines don't "cover" these architects because these architects are not interested in marketing themselves in this fashion?

i know several talented architects that don't court magazine coverage and they're not of any particular minority.

May 26, 09 5:39 am  · 
 · 
SoulBrother#1

It think it's nice to think that being in magazines and other media
doesn't matter...but seeing is believing. The more black architects in the public eye, the more you help the problem on a surface level.

At a grade school level, I think the problem is that in terms of career options, kids can only dream as far as they can see. So if there are no architects in their communities, and no mentioning of them, then they can't see architecture as a profession....and wont' be able to appreciate the profession in general.

May 26, 09 10:31 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

at a grade school level architects were the furthest from my imagination. i wanted to be Richard Pryor.

i don't think magazines are the way to make effective change, they are far too often catering to the dictates of their particular readers.

you don't need to be black or hispanic to know this profession is woefully inadequate in terms of diversity, and you don't need to be of any particular minority class to do something about it either. you just need to be sincere and authentic in your motives.

May 26, 09 12:08 pm  · 
 · 
russella

FWIW Gwynne Pugh is a dude

May 26, 09 12:36 pm  · 
 · 

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