Architectural Record’s annual Women in Architecture awards program is intended to acknowledge the increasingly visible role of women in the profession; to encourage firms to promote women architects and their work; and to provide an opportunity for women in the field to come together to celebrate their contributions to the design of the built environment.
During a morning symposium titled "Designing Women: Getting Ahead in Large Firms," three panelists discussed the past, present, and future of women at architecture firms.
Sylvia Smith, FAIA, senior partner with FXFOWLE, described how gender discrimination at architecture firms can be "overt, but also subtle," calling for the need to tackle both kinds.
Hana Kassem, AIA, director with Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, noted how design is inherently not a field of right and wrong, black and white. "Design is a subjective thing. It lives in the gray," she said. "You must love navigating the gray." She also encouraged women to advocate for other women in their firms.
Julia Murphy, AIA Associate with Skitmore, Owings & Merrill, displayed promotion and human resource metrics from SOM, which equip management with dispassionate data to use in decision making. "We've been able to track where women are through various levels in the firm," she said, noting a mid-career drop off for women.
Following the forum, a luncheon honored this years Women in Architecture Awards winners: Billie Tsien, Design Leader; Meejin Yoon, New Generation Leader; Anna Dyson, Innovator; Pat Sapinsley, Activist; and Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Educator.
Read more about the second annual award recipients and view updates from the event below.