Women Empowerment: 5 Exceptional Female Architects

Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Awards 2017 Winners - Top Female Architects - Marion Weiss - Deanna Van Buren - Billie Faircloth - Grow Box - Ideal Choice Homes India Housing Project - Olympic Sculptural Park

Women Empowerment: 5 Exceptional Female Architects

Gender inequality in the workplace is an issue we have touched on numerous times in our weekly women empowerment articles and this week we want to draw attention to it in the world of architecture in hopes knowledge will continue to empower! According to numbers from the 2016 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, female architects still earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts!
In an effort to spotlight leading female architects and promote women’s design leadership, in 2014 Architectural Record magazine started the Women in Architecture Forum and Awards program. The five 2017 winners, who were each honored for a unique designation, were recently announced and they are not only exceptional architects, but their talents span research and education, and they represent the strength of women in the field of architecture! On October 25th, the winners will be recognized in New York city at a symposium highlighting Women in Design & Construction moderated by Architectural Record’s Editor-in-Chief, Cathleen McGuigan, followed by a reception.
 

2017 Architectural Record Women in Architecture Award Recipients:

 

Design Leader Award

Marion Weiss
Co-founder of WEISS/MANFREDI and the Graham Chair Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania
Marion Weiss - WEISS-MANFREDI - Top Female Architects - Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Awards - 2017 Design Leadership Award Winner - Women Empowerment
One of New York City’s renowned female architects, Marion Weiss’ award-winning firm offers a multidisciplinary approach that unites architecture, art, landscape, and urban design. This distinct style can been seen in their Olympic Sculpture Park project (below) which has received numerous awards and recognition including, Time Magazine’s identification of it as one of the top 10 projects in the world, winner of the Nature Category at the Barcelona’s World Architecture Festival, the highest Environmental Design Award by I.D. Magazine, and the first project in North America to win Harvard University’s Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design!
Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Award - 2017 Winner Designer Leadership Award - Women Empowerment
Marion has a slew of top notch credentials on her resume making her selection by Architectural Record as the 2017 Design Leader a clear choice! With a Master’s of Architecture from Yale and B.S. in Architecture from the University of Virginia, Marion went from student to acclaimed practicing architect to professor where she has taught design studios at Harvard, Yale, Cornell, and since 1991 has been on the faculty at University of Pennsylvania where she is currently the Graham Chair Professor of Architecture. Marion is also the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at Yale, a fellow of the AIA, and was recently inducted into the National Academy of Design.
 

New Generation Leader Award

Elizabeth Whittaker
Founder and Principal of Merge Architects and Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design
Elizabeth Whittaker MERGE Architects - Top Female Architects - Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Award - 2017 Winner New Generation Leader Award - Women Empowerment
Elizabeth Whittaker’s firm, MERGE “works to uncover and capitalize on opportunities for invention in the ordinary, and in so doing, develop new methods of production that combine digital fabrication and the hand-made.” A perfect example of this is her Grow Box project (below). Merge and Elizabeth were hired to create a stronger connection between the client’s original house and landscape, to combine the garden and home in one entity – and this is just what they did! With six recessed gardens, Grow box integrates with nature through textures, colors and rhythms found in the natural world. “You feel like you’re in a tree house” says Sarah of the project.
Grow Box Project - Elizabeth Whittaker MERGE Architects - Top Female Architects - Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Award - 2017 Winner New Generation Leader Award - Women Empowerment
A rising star in the field of Architecture, Elizabeth is one of Boston’s top female architects and a well-deserving recipient of the New Generation Leader award. And this was not the first time she has been recognized for her growing talent, in 2015 she received the AIA Young Architects Award and in 2014 Architectural Record recognized Merge as one of the top ten emerging firms in the world with the Design Vanguard Ward. Elizabeth approaches architecture as a discipline embedded in both practice and academia. She has taught in several Architecture programs including MIT, Northeaster and Boston Architectural College and as a graduate of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design with Distinction, Elizabeth now holds a faculty position there as an Associate Professor.
 

Innovator Award

Billie Faircloth
Partner at KieranTimberlake and Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design
Billie Faircloth - Kieran Timberlake - Top Female Architects - Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Award - 2017 Winner Innovator Award - Women Empowerment
A true pioneer and thus befitting recipient of the Innovator award, Billie Faircloth approaches her professional and academic research in pursuit of an answer to the question, “Why do we build the way that we do?” Leveraging research, design and problem-solving, she fosters collaboration between disciplines, trades, academies and industries in order to create innovative solutions for the built environment.
Ideal Choice Homes is Billie’s current innovation, a solution for India’s giant and rapidly growing middle class in the form of affordable, quick-to-build housing (rendering below).
Ideal Choice Homes Project - India Housing - Billie Faircloth - Kieran Timberlake - Top Female Architects - Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Award - 2017 Winner Innovator Award - Women Empowerment
Billie lectures at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and Harvard Graduate School of Design, and is a Visiting Professor at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Prior to joining KieranTimberlake, she was an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture.
Her articles have been published by the Journal of Architectural EducationPrinceton Architectural PressRoyal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and ACADIA. Her book Plastics Now: On Architecture’s Relationship to a Continuously Emerging Material was published by Routledge in Spring 2015. And she lectures around the world to academic and industry audiences – one of the world’s top female architects indeed!
 

Educator Award

Sarah Whiting
Dean of the Rice University School of Architecture and Co-founder of WW Architecture
Sarah Whiting - WW Architecture - Top Female Architects - Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Award - 2017 Winner Educator Award - Women Empowerment
In addition to practicing architecture at the firm she founded, WW Architecture, Sarah Whiting is the Dean of the School of Architecture at Rice University and the school’s William Ward Watkin Professor of Architecture. She has also taught at Princeton, Harvard, the University of Kentucky, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the University of Florida and is a frequent lecturer throughout the US and abroad. With a B.A. from Yale, Master’s from Princeton and Ph.D. from MIT, Sarah is an academia through and through. Sarah’s dedication to education and helping women advance in the field of architecture makes her the perfect recipient of the Educator award and absolutely one of today’s top female architects in the field!
Sarah’s re-conceptualization of the Albanian National Historical Museum (below) shows she clearly is more than just an educator! Her work has been published in numerous magazines and books, she is the series editor of Point, a book series aimed at forming contemporary discussions in architecture and urbanism, has edited Differences, a collection of essays by Ignasi de Solà-Morales and also served as reviews editor for the journal Assemblage.
Albanian National Historical Museum - WW Architecture - Sarah Whiting - Top Female Architects - Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Award - 2017 Winner Educator Award - Women Empowerment
 

Activist Award

Deanna Van Buren
Co-founder and Design Director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces
Deanna Van Buren - Designing Justice + Designing Spaces - Top Female Architects - Architectural Record's Women in Architecture Award - 2017 Winner Activist Award - Women Empowerment

The Activist award recognizes an architect who has used her skills to design for social change, so it is no surprise that Deanna Van Buren is the 2017 winner! Dedicated to exploring the layered and complex services that architects have the capacity to provide in the agency of social change, her design leadership in restorative justice design has surly affected the public realm.
In addition to her profound built projects, Deanna manifests her thought leadership on restorative justice architecture through published materials such as the “Restorative Justice City Map” and “Guidelines for Creating Restorative Spaces in Schools”. With a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Virginia, a Master’s from Columbia and recent Loeb Fellowship at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, her diversity of education and experience clearly expresses her commitment to leadership in the profession.
 

We hope these awards, the October forum, this article and any other press pertaining to the topic of gender inequality help to continue to publicize the expansive influence of female architects and continue to close the gender gap in the field of architecture and design and empower women in the field, and all industries for that matter!
For more inspiring women visit our Women Empowerment page!
 

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