CELEBRATING WOMEN IN DESIGN
In honor of Women’s History Month, we are celebrating women in design that inspire each of us. They will continue to inspire many other women to follow in their path of being lady bosses in their own way. Of course, it’s not only these women that inspire us, it’s every single woman in design. As Ivan mentions below, almost half of the students in the architecture field are now women! I was lucky to be a part of a studio of ONLY women when I was in school at James Madison University. In our “History of Architecture” classes, it wasn’t really until the late 1800’s that we would learn about a woman designer and even then, they were few and far between. I am excited to see all these women entering the field and showcasing their talents. Keep it going and keep on inspiring, ladies.
This month is also a time to celebrate WORKSHOP8, as a woman owned business! Brandy is more than just WORKSHOP8’s Queen Bee, she is a mother, an artist and a designer (graphic, interior, etc. You name it, she can do it.) Here’s to the ladies of WORKSHOP8! Brandy LeMae, Chelsea Semelka, myself and Megan Stanley. I am thankful to get to work next to such inspiring women every day.
Eileen Gray, 1878-1976, was an Irish furniture designer and architect. She is most well known for the home E-1027, which was very much inspired by the famous Le Corbusier.
Gray was the first woman to attend Slade School of Fine Art, where she studied drawing and painting to follow in her father’s footsteps as a landscape painter. Over some 20 years, she played with several art mediums and design practices until she finally settled on becoming an Architect in her late 40’s. She worked on interiors for a while and then with no training, she created E-1027.
Le Corbusier was apparently furious that his “style” was used for the building. He decided to vandalize the walls on the interior with malicious, yet beautiful, murals (seen below) meaning to destroy E-1027. Gray went on to design over 50 more homes and only became famous for her work when she was 94 years old.
Amanda Levete is a Welsh born architect. She was a partner at Future Systems, before becoming a founding principal of the London based architecture studio AL_A. She is a RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architect known for her work with organic designs, innovation in material uses, and the study of thresholds and spacial experiences.
She is well known for the design of the 2017 addition to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Libson, and the Central Embassy in Bangkok. She has also served as a trustee of the Youth Foundation, a social innovation center, and Artangel, a London-based arts organization.
Her work is inspiring to female architects and designers because of her passion for ambitious, original, and innovative design, and because of her commitment to pushing the boundaries of both the built world, and those of the architecture industry as a whole.
A partner of the New York based architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Polish architect Elizabeth Diller started her architecture journey at The Cooper Union, a private college in New York City. Diller’s cross-genre work has earned her the 100 Most Influential People award as well as the first MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in the field of architecture. Among Diller’s projects are the Mile-Long Opera, an immersive choral work staged on the High Line seen below. Along with her responsibilities at DS+R, Diller is also a Professor of Architectural design at Princeton University.
Two of my favorite projects of Diller are the Blur in Switzerland and the High Line in New York. These two projects could not be more different in nature. The Blur making the visitor aware of the constant desire and need for clarity in experience and having that clarity removed to leave the visitor with “nothing to see but our dependence on vision itself” . The High Line a brilliant revamp of the abandoned Elevated Train line into an unexpected elevated public green space from which the visitor sees New York from a vastly different vantage point.
Billie Tsien shares an architectural practice with her partner Tod Williams at their New York City studio in Midtown Manhattan. She has won numerous awards, one of which was being presented the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. She has also taught graduate architecture classes at Yale University, the Cooper Union, Harvard University, Cornell University, University of Texas, and the City College of New York, and is member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. These accomplishes speak of her bold and compelling body of institutional work. I remember taking a field trip to the American Folk Art Museum in New York when I was in architecture school and it really inspired me; not only as a future architect, but as a human being.
Tatiana Bilbao is a Mexican architect whose works often merge geometry with nature. Her practice focuses on sustainable design and social housing.
Her studio, which she started in herself in 2004, has projects in China, France, the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala. Some of its most representative projects are: the Botanical Garden of Culiacán, Sinaloa, the exhibition hall of a park located in Jinhua, China and a prototype of sustainable social housing of 62 m² with the capacity to duplicate with a cost of 120 thousand Mexican pesos, that was presented at the Chicago Architecture Biennial in 2015, and originally screened in Chiapas, Mexico.
Bilbao’s work has been recognized with the Kunstpreis Berlin in 2012, the 2010 Architectural League Emerging Voices, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture by the LOCUS Foundation in 2014, and the Impact Award 2017 to the Architizer A+Awards Honorees, along with the 2020 Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal and the 2019 Marcus Prize Award.
As we celebrate women in design who have made their mark and made a difference, I can’t think of an Architect that has made more of a positive impact in my life than my former CU Professor Marianne Holbert. Marianne is a Licensed Architect and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Environmental Design program at CU Boulder, but she is also a former WORKSHOP8 team member.
According to a recent AIA study, half of the students in architecture programs in the US are women. I like to think that this is in no small part thanks to the effort of instructors like Marianne that not only do a great job at teaching by engaging students in the philosophical aspects of design, but also serve as inspiring role models.
Florence Knoll Bassett
Most commonly known for her work as designer, equal business partner and creator / director of the Knoll Planning Unit at furniture firm Knoll, Florence was a celebrated Interior Designer, Furniture Designer and Architect. Her efficient, modernist aesthetic is synonymous with classic Mid-Century Modern design and many of her pieces are still available and popular today.
When tasked with designing an interior, Florence went beyond the typical scope of an Interior Decorator and considered the spatial and architectural features of a building interior to be just as important as the furnishings and finishes that fill it. She is often credited with the transformation of Interior Design from Interior Decorating to spatial Interior Architecture.
She was inducted into the Interior Design Magazine Hall of Fame in 1985 for her contribution to American modern design and in 2002 was honored with the National Medal of the Arts.
Also, a huge happy birthday to our very own Alex Parulis, who is kind enough to share his day with good ole Saint Paddy!
Hope everyone had a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day!
Sydney Angel | Architectural Designer
18 MARCH 2021