Bios: Women in Architecture Symposium

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Sherry Ahrentzen, PhD, is the Shimberg Professor of Housing Studies at the University of Florida and received the 2002-03 Distinguished Professor Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Ahrentzen’s research focuses on housing, gender studies, and design education. She is a recognized leader in understanding social justice within the built environment and champions the needs of underserved populations who are often left out of the design and development process. With Karen A. Franck, she edited “New Households, New Housing,” a landmark book in understanding housing needs of America and how design can respond.

Kathryn Anthony, PhD, is a professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and was named a Distinguished Professor of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture in 2009-10. She has authored more than 100 publications, including the books “Designing for Diversity: Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Architectural Profession” and “Design Juries on Trial: The Renaissance of the Design Studio.” Anthony has discussed gender issues in design with numerous media outlets, including ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, National Public Radio, and The New York Times. In 2010, she testified before a US Congressional Committee in support of equal or greater numbers of toilet fixtures for women and men.

Ila Berman is the O’Donovan Director of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and principal of Scaleshift design. An architect, theorist, and curator of architecture and urbanism, Berman’s research explores the relationship between culture and the evolution of contemporary material and spatial practices. Her book “URBANbuild local_global,” coauthored with Mona El Khafif, investigates temporary and permanent strategies for urban intervention in contemporary watercities. The publication received an AIGA Design Award for the 50 best-designed books and book covers of 2009 and a Communication Arts Award of Excellence. Berman also is coeditor of “New Constellations, New Ecologies" and the forthcoming book “Expanded Field.”

Laura Briggs is an associate professor and head of the Department of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, having previously served as the chair of sustainable architecture at Parsons New School for Design. She is also a partner in BriggsKnowles Studio, a practice recognized for the integration of energy efficient and renewable energy technology. Briggs’ approach combines the scientific method with an artistic practice. Her work on super efficient buildings, adaptable photovoltaic systems, and concentrating solar has been supported by the US Department of Energy, an Arnold W. Brunner Grant from the Center for Architecture Foundation, the Deborah J. Norden Fund, and a MacDowell Colony fellowship.

Elena Cánovas is a senior lecturer in architecture at Washington University and principal of asZ arquitectes, which she cofounded with Antonio Sanmartín in Barcelona in 1996. Notable projects include the Badalona Can Casacuberta Library, the Cidade da Cultura Towers in Santiago de Compostela, the Vidrá Public Housing, the Rianxo Auditorium, the Gavá seafront units, and the Tramway system for Barcelona. Cánovas is a PhD candidate at the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB), writing her dissertation on contemporary public space and its chances in sprawl cities. Since 2007, she has also been a lecturer abroad for the WUSTL Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design’s international semester in Barcelona.

Yolande Daniels is a visiting professor of architecture at Washington University and co-founding design principal of studioSUMO, which manages projects in the United States and Japan. The firm’s honors include an Emerging Voices selection and Young Architects Award from the Architectural League of New York and a Design Vanguard selection from Architectural Record, along with grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and New York Foundation for the Arts. A 2004 recipient of the Rome Prize in Architecture, Daniels also was awarded an American Institute of Architects New York Chapter travel grant and a MacDowell Colony fellowship.

Kathryn Dean is the JoAnne Stolaroff Cotsen Professor of Architecture and former director of graduate programs at Washington University. A partner at Dean/Wolf Architects, her work has received national, state, and the American Institute of Architects New York honor award citations and been published internationally. Current projects under construction include a $15 million emergency medical services building for the city of New York’s Design + Construction Excellence program and a five-story apartment building in Hyderabad, India. Dean received the 1987 Rome Prize Fellowship, 1993 Young Architects Award from Progressive Architecture magazine, and 1997 Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League of New York.

Robert Duffy, BA67, is campaign director of St. Louis Public Radio. He began his journalism career at the age of 10, delivering the Arkansas Gazette in his hometown of Little Rock. Duffy founded the West End Word with three colleagues in the 1970s; in 2007, he helped found the St. Louis Beacon, which merged with St. Louis Public Radio late in 2013. He has written on cultural subjects throughout his career, including visual arts, music, architecture, and urban design. He also has taught at Washington University as faculty member in the Sam Fox School and the College of Arts & Sciences.

Patty Heyda is an assistant professor of urban design and architecture at Washington University. Her design and research projects explore processes of contemporary urbanization in globalizing contexts, with articles on “erasure urbanism” appearing in numerous journals and books. Her current book project, co-authored with D. Gamble, explores processes and paradigms of redevelopment in the American urban core. Heyda lectures internationally, and her work has been recognized with design competition awards in the United States and abroad, including recent honors for Floodplan, which reenvisions Nashville’s industrial east bank. She previously worked for the firms Architectures Jean Nouvel, Atelier 8000, and Chan Krieger Associates.

Janet Hurwitz, BA72/MArch75/MSW75, is owner/principal of Janet Hurwitz Architects. Since founding her office more than 30 years ago, she has completed more than 80 projects—30 within historic districts in and around Boston. Her work ranges from interior renovations to additions and new construction, and she is responsible for all phases of architectural services. Prior to starting JHA, she worked for Stull and Lee Inc. and Louis Sauer Associates. A mayoral appointee on multiple Boston planning and development studies, Hurwitz served as cochair of the Architecture Committee for the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay, which presented her the Citizenship Award in 2006.

Sheila Kennedy, AIA, is a principal of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd., where she directs the material research division MATx. The interdisciplinary design practice explores the relationships between architecture, digital technology, and emerging public needs. Kennedy was awarded the 2014 Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prize of $100,000 for advancing gender equity in the field of architecture, and her work has been exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, and the Vitra Design Museum. In addition to her practice, Kennedy is the Professor of the Practice of Architecture at MIT, and she is the first woman to hold this position.

Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, MArch78, is the AIA Resident Fellow on Sustainability, after serving as HOK’s firm-wide sustainable design director for more than a decade. With more than 34 years of architectural experience at HOK, Lazarus promoted the implementation of sustainable strategies in the firm’s work and led a network of leaders across the firm’s global practice. An expert on sustainable trends, she received Eco-Structure Magazine’s 2012 Evergreen Award in the Perspective category. She serves on the Resilient Design Institute’s advisory board and is an adjunct faculty in architecture at Washington University, where she serves on the Board of Trustees.

Zeuler Lima is an associate professor of architecture at Washington University. A designer, artist, and scholar, he earned degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism from the University of São Paulo, and completed his postdoctoral training in comparative literature at Columbia University. Lima received the 2007 Bruno Zevi Prize for architectural history and criticism, and his extensive publications include "Lina Bo Bardi"—a biography about the Italian-born Brazilian architect—and a forthcoming coedited anthology of texts by architects from Latin America.

Bruce Lindsey is dean of the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration at Washington University. As a teacher and administrator, he has made significant contributions to beginning design education, sustainable design education, and community design education. Lindsey was named a Distinguished Professor of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture in 2013-14, and named one of the Most Admired Educators of 2009 by DesignIntelligence. His research focuses on beginning design education, and the application of digital tools to design and construction. His book “Digital Gehry: Material Resistance Digital Construction” explores the use of technology in the design and delivery process of Frank Gehry’s architectural office.

Mary McLeod is professor of architecture at Columbia University. Her research and writings focus on the history of the modern movement and contemporary architecture theory, and examine connections between architecture and ideology. McLeod has written extensively on Le Corbusier’s architecture and urban planning, and is editor of and contributor to the book “Charlotte Perriand: An Art of Living.” She is also the co-editor of “Architecture, Criticism, Ideology” and “Architecture Reproduction,” and her essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the book “Modern Women.” McLeod is currently coediting a website on pioneering American women architects.

Andrea Merrett is a PhD candidate at Columbia University, writing her dissertation on the history of feminism in American architecture. She also teaches at the Center for Architecture Foundation and works at Avery Drawings & Archives as a bibliographic assistant for the Frank Lloyd Wright collection. She is the recipient of the Buell Oral History Prize, a Schlesinger Library Oral History Grant, and the Milka Bliznakov Prize from the International Archive of Women in Architecture. Before enrolling at Columbia, Merrett practiced at the Montreal firms Marosi + Troy Architects and Atelier TAG, and at Blackwood Associates Architects in Dublin.

Eric Mumford, PhD, is the Rebecca and John Voyles Professor of Architecture at Washington University, and also holds courtesy appointments in the Departments of Art History & Archaeology and History. An architectural and urban design historian and a licensed architect, Mumford teaches history/theory courses, publishes peer-reviewed books and scholarly articles, and lectures widely. He authored “The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960,” the only book-length history of the International Congress for Modern Architecture, and is a member of the Journal of Architectural Education’s editorial board. In 2013 Mumford was a Fulbright Specialist in urban planning at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Lima.

Lindsay Nencheck, BS05/MArch10, is a licensed architect with AMAI Architecture in Kansas City. Her interest in feminism and architecture sparked her graduate research project on the 1974 Women in Architecture symposium. As the recipient of the International Archive of Women in Architecture’s 2011 Milka Bliznakov Research Prize, Nencheck continued her research after graduation, and has worked with members of the Sam Fox School to establish the Women in Architecture 1974 | 2014 symposium. She is proud to participate in this event and to have had a role in its evolving agenda.

Wendy Ornelas, FAIA, is the associate dean and professor at the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at Kansas State University. Ornelas is also the 2012-2014 Central States Regional Director for the American Institute of Architects and cochair of its National Diversity and Inclusion Council. In 2012-13, she was named a Distinguished Professor of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Ornelas and her husband, Robert Condia, are principals of the award-winning firm Condia + Ornelas Architects, which focuses on small commercial projects.

Tom Polucci, AIA, IIDA, LEED GA, MArch ’94, is director of interior design for HOK in New York. As a firm-wide interiors leader, Polucci is a member of HOK's board of directors and design board. He has more than 20 years of experience managing the design of projects for organizations worldwide with special expertise in workplace design, a topic he frequently speaks about at events such as NeoCon and in articles for The Wall Street Journal, Metropolis, Interiors & Sources, Contract, and the Chicago Tribune. In 2010 he helped establish HOK Product Design, LLC; he also cofounded the blog Life @HOK.

Nasrine Seraji, AA dipl RIBA, is founding partner of Atelier Seraji, Architects and Partners and dean of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais. After studying at the Architectural Association and practicing in London, she moved to Paris in 1989 to establish her studio, where architecture is treated as both a cultural debate and a practice. Architect of the award-winning Temporary American Centre in Paris, Seraji has completed several notable buildings and projects, including student housing in Paris and an extension to the School of Architecture in Lille, both of which were both nominated for the Mies Van der Rohe Prize. Among other honors, she received the Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur, one of the highest degrees of honor in France, in 2011.

Daphne Spain is the James M. Page Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, where she received the 2013-2015 Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship, the university’s highest teaching award. Spain’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of gender and space from the scale of the building to the city. She has published extensively in urban planning, sociology, and gender studies professional journals. Her forthcoming book, “Constructive Feminism: Building Women's Rights into the City,” examines how second-wave feminists established women's centers, bookstores, clinics, and domestic-violence shelters to declare women's rights to the city.

Cynthia Weese, FAIA, BS62/BArch65, was a founding partner of the Chicago architecture firm Weese Langley Weese and taught widely before becoming the first woman dean of a school at Washington University, leading the School of Architecture from 1993-2005. During her tenure, she initiated international study programs, introduced computer technology, and enhanced the technology and design curricula. Since stepping down as dean in 2005, she has continued her practice. Founded in 1977, Weese Langley Weese has been involved in both new construction and adaptive reuse projects throughout the country. Weese’s honors include two Distinguished Service Awards from AIA Chicago, the Excellence in Education Award from AIA Illinois, the Tao Sigma Delta Gold Medal in Architecture, and the Sam Fox School Dean's Medal.

Beverly Willis, FAIA, is founder and chair of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. After 45 years in architectural and design practice, Willis realized women’s designs often “vanished” from architectural memory. In an effort to restore women into historical narratives, she created the BWAF in 2002. Among the numerous accolades she has received, Willis was recognized as one of the Top Women in Real Estate by Resident Magazine in 2010. She also wrote and directed the film “A Girl is a Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright,” which premiered at the Guggenheim Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Michael Willis, FAIA, BA73/MSW76/MArch76, is founder and principal in charge of MWA Architects, an architecture, urban design, and interiors firm that has created master plans for, and designed mixed-income affordable housing projects in, the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. The firm has built a national reputation for creating thoughtful design solutions for municipal clients throughout the West, and for neighborhood revitalization projects in St. Louis, Detroit, Memphis, and post-hurricane New Orleans. Willis’ honors include a 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award from Washington University and a 1996 National Black Achievement awards from the Black Alumni Council.

Heather Woofter is an associate professor and chair of graduate architecture at Washington University. Since 2003, she has been a founding director and owner of Axi:Ome llc with Sung Ho Kim. Their practice has received national and international design awards for architecture (built work and competitions), master planning, and industrial design. A registered architect in Missouri and Pennsylvania, Woofter also has more than 15 years of teaching experience, with appointments at the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Career Discovery Program, Boston Architectural College, Roger Williams University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), and Konkuk University (Seoul, South Korea).