The Life Cycles of Women in Architecture Submittal

As I subscribe weekly to bustler e-newsletter, I came across this competition and entered as I felt a deep connection with my “life cycle” as a woman in the architectural field. The Life Cycles of Women in Architecture Competition, sponsored by WOMENWHODESIGN.ORG

Please kindly view my story with attachments.

The first image shares a conceptual idea using grid paper to initially align the organizational skills and mindset of the traditional employment ratio of men to women in an architecture firm. First image shows female architect as “behind” a “flat” wall.

The second image shows all of the wild and freehand colors of breaking the norm with loosened possibilities.

These images display a graphic collaborative of life cycles from a female architect’s perspective. 

Both graphic stories share different time periods that mold the cyclical status of a woman in a “man’s profession”, which still abides today, with some firms that choose not to progress with society. A female student endures the strenuous of the most strenuous days in architecture studio in just as much as a male student. 

All professions have obstacles and social issues are natural happenstance. The idea of a female in architecture school traditionally is assumed to pursue a career as a decorator or a specialty not directly involved with architects and contractors. The ratio of women to men and was low when I was in school and within the next decade of firms. However, a slow increase in improvement has developed and still is developing as the profession becomes more modernized.

My first employment was an internship with a highly-reputed architect. The first day, my higher up gave me an apron and kitchen utensils for carving pumpkins for Halloween. This was a shock and hard to process as I was still mentally recovering from all-nighters in studio. Welcome to being a female intern fresh out of college!

After finally nosediving into projects involving model making, sanding, and gluing by hand, my next assignment was to bake cookies! The next day, my higher up hands over the apron again, baking utensils, and a cooking sheet for cookies as it was one of our employee’s birthdays. This turned into a cyclical pattern mixed in with very rewarding architectural roles as I started to build my resume and gain more experience.

Not only this ongoing obstacle in the profession but another turning point in the cycles of a female architect is the unfortunate current state of mind this world is in right now. 

The key word, “traditional” has been famously stamped for centuries in this profession for the male to female ratio but also applies to working in an office setting.

This is the trick as the profession is trying to recover, no matter what the ratio of male to female is, but with a safer approach.

All in all, us female architects, are in hopes that our traditional social status will be revamped into more modern, mainstream, open-minded, and creative ways in order to preserve our ancient profession and withstand the next fire, together with all sexes.

Please enjoy these quotes from famous architects:
~Alvaro Siza, “Tradition is a challenge to innovation.”
~Walter Gropius, “The mind is like an umbrella – it functions best when open.” ~Zaha Hadid, one of my most admired, “There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?”

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