If I asked you to name a female architect, who would you think of? - My first answer would be Zaha Hadid.
Can you think of anyone else?
What saddens me, is that I couldn’t think of any other female architects who are famous for their contribution to the architectural industry. During a seminar, we were asked to explore this question. None of the students could think of many female architects.
What was interesting, was to find out that there were many female architects doing so much but we didn’t know about. One female architect in particular, Marion Mahony Griffin, was one of the first female architects to work for the infamous Frank Lloyd Wright. What I discovered further, is that she did many beautiful drawings of many projects that she had worked on, alongside Wright and her husband. However, she was not credited for having done the drawings in a style more associated with Wright’s work with.
Looking at her drawing, the View from Summit of Mount Ainsle, it is clear that there are a similarity of styles that can be hard to distinguish from Wright’s style. Those who are in more authority have a choice as to who should be recognised for the work that is produced. There are many stories like this, especially for black females.
Some may argue we are coming into a time where women of all backgrounds are slowly reaching a state of recognition. I’d be lying if I said that we are all equals in all our differences, in achieving similar outcomes in our careers, and in architecture altogether.
To acknowledge that our differences in opinions, perspectives and cultures shape our experiences, is what empowers us all, especially women. We should be more thoughtful about our involvement in shaping the history of architecture for all women. To learn and bring to the surface the inequality of women in architecture will allow us to change the world around us, through architecture or otherwise.