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Collection Occupational Folklife Project

Women Architects

In 2019, independent scholar, oral historian, preservationist and architect Sarah K. Filkins received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to interview a diverse and prominent group of 15 women architects working in large, medium, and small architectural firms, at universities, and in agencies throughout the United States. She documented stories about their occupational culture, their experiences training and working as architects, and their narratives of the challenges they face in what is still a heavily male-dominated occupation. Topics discussed include inspirations for pursing a career in architecture, their education and training, the role of/or need for mentors, specific projects, individual experiences and careers paths, approaches to design and innovation, and issues of equity and representation. Interviews involved architects of different generations and backgrounds, including Doris Cole, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in Boston; African American architect Roberta Washington in New York; Laura Sanden Cabo, who works for Walt Disney Imagineering in California; Pat Bosch, the Design Director of the influential Miami Studio at Perkins and Will; Barbara Bailey, who worked for the US Government's General Services Administration in Washington; preservationist architect Jobie Hill in Iowa, who focuses on documenting and saving historic structures built by enslaved African Americans; Margaret McCurry of Tigerman McCurry Architects in Chicago; Professor Lori Brown of the Syracuse University School of Architecture; and architect Dianne Cho, a leader in the revitalization of Baltimore.

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