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Women Building Change Celebrating 40 Years of Chicago Women in Architecture
Open to the publicJune 12 – December 2014
Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA), a non-profit volunteer organization, began encouraging discussion and support for and amongst female architects in 1974. At a time when women’s roles in the professional landscape were changing, CWA filled a much-needed role in the field of architecture. They continue to do so today.
A diverse group of people in various roles is required to conceptualize, design, develop, construct and complete an architectural project. A team of women and men including the client, business managers, architects, designers, engineers, landscape architects and builders must work together collaboratively in order to create the structures around us.
Architects designing in the public sector create places that serve their community. But public sector opportunities are not always easy to secure. MBE and WBE (Minority and Women Business Enterprises) initiatives implemented in the 1980s provide those opportunities by promoting the granting of contracts to certified firms.
Architects working with community partners to design new buildings must understand the social needs and concerns of the neighborhood. Such projects require focused attention to users’ needs and lifestyles, resulting in community based and driven visions. With these and other projects, CWA members are challenging society norms and creating invigorating spaces that strengthen neighborhoods.
Residential architecture provides many opportunities and challenges within the design process. Architects must work closely with the client and constantly keep their needs and desires in mind. They must also work hand in hand with other architects and engineers to cohesively bring together beautiful forms that are functional for everyday living.
When working on historically significant structures, architects must create new elements that respect the origins of the project and preserve them for years to come. These projects often includes redesigning very different parts of the building, from major mechanical systems and lighting to smaller interior details and furnishings.
Women Building Change is both a historical retrospective and a modern reflection on the process of design and the changing roles of women in architecture. The exhibition highlights the expertise of CWA members through architectural drawings, photos and other visuals of featured buildings in Chicago. In addition to highlighting women’s developing leadership in the profession, the exhibition illuminates critical aspects of the practice including the pursuit of equity and of professional licensure.
Learn more about the work, impact and members of CWA. www.cwarch.org
In the United States, women represent about 50% of students enrolled in architecture programs, but only 18% of licensed architects are women. Sparked by an AIA San Francisco event, followed by a 2012 Symposium, the Missing 32% Project's site is now a forum for conversation, a repository for articles, research, guides for equitable practice and a place for honoring the achievements of women architects. themissing32percent.com
The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation(BWAF) is working to change the culture of the building industry so that women's work, whether in contemporary practices or historical narratives, is acknowledged, respected and valued. bwaf.org
Learn more about the steps to becoming an architect - education, experience and examination. The site offers practical information for high school students, parents, university students and interns. www.archcareers.org
Women Building Change: Celebrating 40 Years of Chicago Women in Architecture is made possible through the generous support of:
Suzanne MorganMelissa Bogusch