The name of our firm is Leslie Saul & Associates Architecture and Interiors. Every once in a while, we receive mail addressed to Mr. Saul. This is interesting, considering there is no Mr. Saul here. Leslie Saul is decidedly female. It highlights a common misconception; architects are male.
Even in the “modern era,” female architects and designers struggle to receive their deserved due. Case in point, Denise Scott Brown, inspiring collaborator to 1991 Pritzker Prize winner Robert Venturi who was completely left out of the nomination and award ceremony that year, and has only recently received official Pritzker recognition.
In an interview with Architecture Magazine, Scott Brown recounted one of countless examples of how women architects are overlooked, and – quite literally – left out of the picture. Once, when a group photo was being taken, the photographer asked that the women leave the frame so he could get a shot of only the architects. When she remarked that she was one of the architects, she was still asked to remove herself from the shot.
Architecture and design are collaborative processes. As long as awards and recognition are handed out to select individuals, there will never be fair representation of both the women and men who bring a project to fruition.
Architects, like Jeanne Gang, show the world that architecture can respond to the natural forces around us, and help us make better buildings by doing so.
Women architects see the glass ceilings in many firms, in academia, in and among the high powered awards juries, but we hope that the recognition of predecessors like Denise Scott Brown, and of current practitioners like Jeanne Gang will inspire a new generation of women to stay the course and continue to be the best architects that they can be. Perhaps the next step for female and male architects requires political action and focused dialogue, with the goal of, “ramping up the current professional and cultural conversation.”
Here at LS&A Architecture and Interiors, the women and men say, “Bring it on!”