Yen Ha, a principal at Front Studio Architects. Benjamin Norman for the New York Times

I Am Not the Decorator: Female Architects Speak Out

Click Here to View the Original Article by Robin Pogrebin in the NY Times April 13, 2016.

Prompted by the death of female architect, Zaha Hadid, the New York Times hosted an informal online questionnaire–an invitation asking female architects to speak to their experiences in the profession. There were more than 200 responses in less than two weeks. These are the voices that TARRA aims to represent; they speak to the disparities we strive to overcome.

The results are not alarming, not fanatical…but instead a catalogue of stories that we already know. Yes, the “boys club” of architecture is being challenged but not nearly quickly enough. At this point, the “boys club” reference is so insidious that it almost reads like a proper noun…a privilege that you can opt into given the required credentials.

Of the published responses, almost every female architect spoke to a conversation that needed to be had, a stereotype that needed to be overcome, an ongoing effort to dispel the idea of architects fitting into a very specific, white male mold.

Furthermore, this effort is not isolated. It’s one that’s being waged in schools, on job sites, with clients, and throughout various offices and business structures. This and is an experience that those who fit the mold just don’t have to deal with. It’s a wasteful endeavor: not fruitless, but burdensome.

TARRA is committed to empowering female designers and sometimes, in highlighting the immense successes of these designers, the adversity that they likely endure seems inconsequential. We are thankful for that; progress happens both in addressing the bias and in evading it. But these voices remind us of the work that is to be done and of why we do what we do. Please join us as we champion change in an industry that [we believe] is hungry for the voices of women.

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