Page D1.2 . 13 June 2001                     
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    Women in Contemporary Architecture


    Louise Blanchard Bethune (1856-1913) was the first woman to be accepted into the American Institute of Architects, in 1888, and the first woman to be made a fellow, in 1889. She rejected the pigeonholing of women into house design, which she knew from her own experience to be the worst-paid and most frustrating job for any architect.

    A music store in Buffalo, New York designed by Bethune was one of the first buildings in the country with a steel frame and poured concrete slabs.

    Julia Morgan (1872-1957) was the only woman to graduate from the University of California-Berkeley College of Engineering in 1894 and the first women to pass the entrance examination at the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

    During her career she designed hundreds of buildings: houses, conference centers, houses of worship, clubs, schools, hospitals, and gymnasiums. Many of her buildings, including William Randolph Hearst's castle at San Simeon, Bow Bay House at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and the Livermore House in San Francisco, are famous. Julia Morgan commands respect and interest both as a pioneering female in the field and as a brilliant architect.

    I believe that the life and work of every one of these women is of pivotal importance, both because of the intrinsic merit of the work and because the women themselves are wonderful role models.

    Maggie Toy is trained as an architect and is executive editor of Architectural Design as well as the author and editor of numerous books including Practically Minimal, World Cities: Los Angeles, and Building Sights.

    This article is excerpted from The Architect: Women in Contemporary Architecture edited by Maggie Toy. Copyright The Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd 2001. First published in the United States of America by Watson-Guptill Publications, New York. Available where books are sold, including



    ArchWeek Photo

    Detail of transparent glass tower with suspended clock, which was salvaged from the old Pennsylvania Station in New York.
    Photo: Cervin Robinson

    ArchWeek Photo

    Columbia University Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory master plan.
    Image: Frances Halsband

    ArchWeek Photo

    The historic Hudson river setting incorporates new earth sciences laboratories, which overlook the Palisades, Columbia University Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory master plan.
    Image: Frances Halsband

    ArchWeek Photo

    On the cover: a triple-layer perforated screen trellis that encloses the rooftop garden and patio area of a private residence in Tokyo, by Itsuko Hasegawa.
    Photo: Mitsumasa Fujitsuka


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