“When the time came for me to start a family, I determined that the best way for me to have the work/life balance that I needed was to start my own practice. At that time, many of my peers were doing the same, because we could create how we wanted to work to support this. We were able to provide good service to our clients, and our clients respected our choice to frame our business to honor both family and profession.”
“People thought that I wasn’t married because I was a career architect. The assumption is that you can either have a firm, or you can have a reasonable life as a stay-at-home mom – but then you can’t have a career. They aren’t dichotomous lifestyles.
Figure out where you want your career to be and when – have a game plan and stick to it. Don’t give up on it halfway through because you feel some nagging societal pressure to only be a mother and nothing else. Be proud of what you do and be proud of your choices. Most importantly – don’t let anyone make those choices for you.”
The Architect’s Take interviews five prominent San Francisco women architects about the challenges and rewards faced by women in architecture today. Left to right, from upper left: Anne Fougeron, Kate Stickley, Karin Payson, EB Min, and Amy Eliot.
A Tulane University geographer reframes the debate about the fate of below-sea-level New Orleans. “The city still has over 2,000 open lots all above sea level – a precious natural resource whose use we should prioritize for human occupancy. Filling in these pockets would also help mend the urban fabric that was torn by the population exodus ongoing since the 1960s. And we can do this without marginalizing low-lying neighborhoods.”
(Map courtesy Prof. Richard Campanella)
“My own work now, it’s all one house, just done over and over. I see a connection between one idea to the next – I’m always exploring contrasts along similar lines: opacity-transparency, heaviness-lightness, action-reaction. The ideas can morph to suit the circumstances, and they get refined from one project to the next.”
– Craig Steely, Architect
“To me, a good client is someone who’s really interested in the process. Someone who really WANTS to be involved. I demand it, actually… I only work with people that I like and respect. The point of taking only good work is that you’re more invested in it. I love what I do and don’t want to get burned out.”
– Craig Steely, Architect
“If we are successful in our design, the site is essentially preserved or restored to a naturally sustainable state. The building will be aligned for solar aspects, and will be so well-sited that it appears to emerge from the land.
We provide a sense of magic and well as a workable landscape in which water is conveyed, plants grow naturally, the soil is healthy, and wildlife can thrive. Through good design we link home to site and provide a sensory feast for our clients with all the sights, sounds, fragrances, and perceptions of being in a deeply meaningful landscape. The landscape is living, breathing, and ever-changing. From this, a unique sense of place emerges and begins to tell its own story.”
– Vera Gates and Kate Stickley, Arterra LLP
“Art has conventionally been distinguished from architecture based on utility – architecture must do something, while art is free from functional requirements. However, art can lead us to approach architecture as something more than just rote problem-solving. Injecting an element of “uselessness” into a building allows the artistic elements to form an intellectual background against which the building’s functional aspects can be fulfilled in innovative ways.
Ironically, contemporary artists are much more engaged with the actual world through activist agendas that directly address social and environmental problems. Art helps us innovate how we deal with the world, beyond purely normative solutions.”
Jeffrey L. Day
Mark English recently spoke about the use of Social Media in a small architectural practice during the KA Connect 2011 conference held in San Francisco. KA Connect is a community of AEC professionals driven to transform the way the industry creates, captures, and shares knowledge.