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FMS: Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation
Aired:
03/02/2010
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Over 100 female architects worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, and few have been recognized

 

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18:24 minutes (8.84 MB)
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From the BWAF website:

The mission of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) is to expand the historical knowledge and cultural recognition of American women architects of the 20th century. BWAF supports research about women practitioners in the fields of architectural and environmental engineering, landscape design, the building arts, urban planning and historic preservation, as well as architectural history and criticism. By providing grants for research, the Foundation seeks to provide women architects, engineers, and designers, including those disadvantaged because of race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, with an acknowledged tradition and celebrated place within the history of American architecture.

The Foundation’s objectives are to bring increased visibility to women’s achievements in architecture, environmental engineering, and related professions by supporting scholarly research, publications, exhibitions, and film projects, as well as collaborative ventures such as public programs and symposia with institutional partners.

About Beverly Willis

Beverly Willis, FAIA, one of the few women architects practicing in the United States during the mid-twentieth century, forged a distinguished career spanning the areas of design, research, and leadership within the architectural profession.

In 1966, Willis opened her own architectural practice in San Francisco and built it into a 35-person firm that more often than not successfully competed with the largest firms in the nation. Among her award-winning projects in San Francisco are the Union Street Stores (1965), the Margaret Hayward Park Building (1978), and the San Francisco Ballet (1983). Already in the 1970s, Willis was developing cutting-edge computer applications for planning large-scale, multi-family housing. This innovative technology culminated with Aliamanu Valley Community development for 11,500 residents in Honolulu of the mid-1970s. In the years following, Willis and her team won an international competition for a master plan and development to revitalize what was then 24 blighted acres in downtown San Francisco and is now the district of Yerba Buena Gardens. More information about the 700 projects in Willis’ portfolio can be found at www.BeverlyWillis.com. In 2008, the Regional Oral History Office (ROHO), a research unit in partnership with The Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley, completed the Beverly Willis History Project, a video-oral history series on the life and work of the architect.

In 1980, Willis served as the first woman President of the California Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). She also chaired the Federal Facilities Council, formerly the Federal Construction Council of the National Academy of Science and policy-making body in Washington DC , and was one of two architects to represent the U.S. at Habitat 1, the international housing congress that took place in Vancouver, Canada in 1972. Willis was one of a handful of U.S. women leaders selected to participate in Women for International Understanding, a delegation sent as emissaries during the 1970s on informational trips to Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Among the distinctions bestowed on Willis for her contributions to both the civic and architectural spheres are San Francisco’s Phoebe Hearst Gold Medal Award, and an Honorary Doctorate degree from Mount Holyoke College.

One of the instrumental forces that founded the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, Willis has served continuously as a Founding Trustee on the Board of Trustees. In 2008, the National Building Museum opened the Beverly Willis Library in honor of her contributions to the Museum. In 1994, Willis established the Architecture Research Institute, a think-tank for architectural and urban issues based in New York City from which she wrote Invisible Images: The Silent Language of Architecture (1997), and co-founded Rebuild Downtown Our Town (R.DOT), a leading civic voice and design advocate in the post-9/11 rebuilding of Lower Manhattan.

 

 


 
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