Women in American Architecture: 1977 and Today

In 1977, The Architectural League, through its recently established Archive of Women in Architecture, organized a book and exhibition entitled Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective.

The dual projects, guided primarily by Susana Torre with support from other founding members of the Archive—Phyliss Birkby, Regi Goldberg, Marjorie Hoog, Naomi Leff, Dimon Liu, and Mimi Lobell—emerged out of a desire to present the range and quality of women’s work, as both practitioners and commentators, in the fields of architecture, planning, and design.

In her forward to the book, Marita O’Hare, Administrative Director of The Architectural League at the time, wrote:

The idea for the exhibition came at a time, the early 1970s, when the enrollment of women in schools of architecture increased substantially, marking a trend that saw greater numbers of women entering other professional programs, such as law and medicine. At the same time organizations were formed to examine and improve the role of women in the design professions. The conjunction of these events, no doubt a part of the dramatic shift in women’s attitudes toward their lives and career choices, which has shaped the decade of the seventies, underscores the fact that women intend to participate in the design process as professionals and that many of these women feel that there are significant issues affecting their careers that can best be examined in the context of their own professional organizations.

A Parallel History

In an introduction to 1977 book Women in American Architecture, Susana Torre considers cultural assumptions about women as consumers, producers, critics, and creators of space.

September 3, 2013

Feminism and architecture

In this lecture video, Susana Torre outlines the powerful, yet often ignored or misunderstood, influence of feminism on architecture and urban planning.

July 28, 2014