AWA+D + WIKI: Writing Women in Architecture and Design Back Into History

IT’S TIME TO WRITE WOMEN IN ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN BACK INTO HISTORY!As the Association for Women in Architecture +Design approaches her 100-year-anniversary in 2022, how appropriate that we begin our fiscal year by ‘Unforgetting Women Architects’[i]?In solidarity with the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, the Dynamic National Archive, the Guggenheim’s Wikipedia edit-a-thon (#guggathon), Parlour’s WikiD writing workshops, Architexx’s WikiD: Women Wikipedia Design #wikiD, and n-ails, the AWA+D Archive Committee will host writing workshops to enter and edit women into Wikipedia, beginning with our own members.Since architecture and allied disciplines became professions in 1857, womens’ widespread contributions to practice and design have largely been misattributed, overlooked, or undocumented all together. Reliable statistics on womens’ place in architecture traditionally has been difficult to find, and “forgetting women architects has also been imbedded in the very models we use for writing architectural history.”[ii]

In 2013, Harvard Graduate School of Design students, Arielle Assouline-Lichten and Caroline Jamesa started a petition for the Pritzker Architecture Prize to recognize Denise Scott Brown who was not awarded in 1991, while her partner and husband, Robert Venturi was. The petition sparked a sensational advocacy campaign, illuminating a collective frustration with the pervasive hiddenness of women’s histories and achievements. Since then, numerous international efforts (i.e. Rosa Sheng’s Equity in Design) to revive, enhance, and correct the heritage of marginalized women have abounded in the wake of an overall movement to address gender inequity and female talent retention in architecture and design.Writing women into Wikipedia is a call to action, a movement gaining momentum, and an archival documentation project vital to preserving our legacies, and building “a collective memory”[iii], “a more accurate perception of women’s participation in architecture”[iv] and the built environment disciplines.

As The Association for Women in Architecture and Design's mission is “to advance and support women in the allied fields of architecture and design”, we are uniquely poised and obliged to participate in this global mission.Stay tuned for our Los Angeles area AWA+D+wiki workshops!

Nina Briggs, 2015 - 2016 AWA+D Archivist [i] STRATIGAKOS, DESPINA. "Unforgetting Women Architects: From the Pritzker to Wikipedia." N.p., n.d. Web.[ii] ibid[iii] ibid[iv] ibid