100 Wright Women

by: Ritu Saheb

Event: Screening of documentary, “A Girl Is A Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects In The Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright”

Location: Citicorp Building

Speakers:

Beverly Willis, FAIA — Founder, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation;

Wanda Bubriski — Executive Director, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation;

Nancy Goshow, AIA — Principal, Goshow Architects;

Diane Tien, AIA — Associate, Perkins+Will

Organizer: AIANY Women in Architecture Committee

Sponsor: Citibank

On 04.14, the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee (WIA) organized a fundraiser screening of the film, “A Girl is a Fellow Here: 100 Women in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright,” a 20-minute documentary written and directed by Beverly Willis, FAIA, and produced by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF). Through this informative documentary, which is available for purchase on Amazon, viewers learned that Frank Lloyd Wright was not only a visionary and icon, but he also provided unique opportunities for women to learn the craft of architecture at Taliesin.

Focusing on the early years in the studio, the film showcased the range of activities offered to women during their apprenticeship, from drafting, pouring concrete on site, pitching hay on the farm, working in the carpentry shop, to performing menial kitchen tasks. At the workshop, men and women were treated equally — the men participated in cooking and cleaning as well as manual labor, too. In fact, 25% of the apprentices were women, approximately 100 in all throughout the existence of the program. Many of the women featured and interviewed in the film went on to become notable architects, including Cornelia Brierly (who also published a memoir about her years at Taliesin), Marion Mahony (who designed the capital city of Canberra, Australia, with husband Walter Burley Griffin), and Lois Davidson Gotlieb.

After the screening, Willis, who founded BWAF, and Wanda Bubriski, the executive director, spoke about the role the foundation plays in gaining recognition for women architects. They hope the film will encourage the investigation of the achievements of women architects throughout the 20th century.

The event was organized as a fundraiser to send members of WIA to host a Speed Mentoring Program at the National AIA Convention in June in Miami.

(To read more about the film, read “Wright-ing a New History for Women in Architecture,” by Jacqueline Pezzillo, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, in e-Oculus, 06.23.90)

Ritu Saheb, Assoc. AIA, is a partner at FZAD Architecture + Design, and a member of the AIANY Women in Architecture committee.

Original eOculus publication

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