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Presented by AIA Detroit
Diversity and inclusion have been issues in the architecture and design industry since inception. Women and minorities have long struggled to gain acceptance, respect and commissions. However, great strides have been made that paved the way for today’s young designers.
On April 20, 2012, AIA Detroit paid tribute to some of these trailblazers at the inaugural Women in Design event. Hosted at the Detroit Institute of Arts Lecture Hall, Women in Design screened a documentary film produced by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. A Girl is a Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the studio of Frank Lloyd Wright is a documentary written and directed by Beverly Willis, FAIA. The film documents the more than 100 women employed by Frank Lloyd Wright in his studios.
The film was followed by a panel discussion featuring Cynthia Weese, FAIA (Weese Langley Weese, Chicago IL), Tracy Sweeney, AIA, LEED AP BD+C (Fanning Howey, Novi MI) and Naomi Beasley, AIAS, NOMAS (Graduate Student, University of Detroit Mercy) and Wanda Bubriski. The panel was organized and moderated by Ashley Flintoff
The goal of this event was to highlight women throughout history who have furthered the industry while providing a foundation for future generations of architects and designers. The hope was that this event was the first step to providing an outlet for necessary dialogue on the issues of diversity, inclusion and access to the architecture industry. Support of this event sent a message to promote and support diversity and that good design is not dependent on gender, race or social status but rather on talent, hard work and dedication.
About The Panelists
Cynthia Weese, FAIA
Cynthia Weese is a founding principal of Weese Langley Weese. Her clients have included the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Her work has received many awards; she has lectured nationally and internationally.
From 1995-2006 she was professor and dean of the School of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, her alma mater. In addition to her academic responsibilities, she was active in the process of planning and building an arts campus; this included renovating three existing buildings and constructing two new ones.
Cynthia has been active in the AIA, serving as President of AIAChicago and vice president of the national AIA Board. She is a founding member of Chicago Women in Architecture and the Chicago Architectural Club and was president of the latter. She currently is a Board member of the Society of Architectural Historians.
Project Architect, Senior Associate – Fanning Howey
A registered architect since 2009, Tracy has over ten years of experience with Fanning Howey in the arenas of visioning, engagement, planning, design and project management for her public library and educational facility clients. In these roles, she has demonstrated a passion for projects that explore the evolving place of traditional institutions in our increasingly mobile and tech-driven culture.
Tracy was a founding member of the AIA Detroit Emerging Professionals Committee and is active on the steering committee for PechaKucha Night Detroit, serving as the MC for PKN-D events.
She is a proud graduate of Lawrence Tech, where she earned her BS and Master’s degrees in Architecture, as well as a BFA in Architectural Illustration.
Graduate Student, University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture
Naomi Beasley is a native Detroiter that has always had a love for both architecture and the city. She attended Cass Technical High School where she concentrated her studies in architecture. Currently, Naomi is completing her M.Arch at the University of Detroit Mercy with a concentration in Business Administration, where her thesis proposes “games” to formulate a process for the (re)identification | (re)definition of Detroit’s unique landscape.
While at UDM, Naomi has participated in the study abroad program (Volterra, Italy) and served as an active member in both the American Institute of Architecture Students(AIAS) and National Organization of Minority Architecture Students(NOMAS). She has worked with local community non-profits such as Jefferson East Business Association(JEBA) and Signal-Return Press(Team Detroit); as well as volunteered with inner-city youth in programs like Art of Leadership Foundation.
Executive Director, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation
Wanda Bubriski joined BWAF in September 2004 as its first Executive Director, at which time she was charged with the mandate to develop programs, cultivate partnerships with national organizations, create networks among scholars, educators and practitioners, and build recognition for the Foundation among the nation’s educators of architecture and architectural history. Wanda oversees and manages all aspects of BWAF operations, including program development and outreach.
Wanda is an architectural historian with extensive research, curatorial, teaching experience in both the US and Central Europe. She holds degrees from and has taught at Yale, Williams, and Bowdoin, and is the recipient of fellowships from Fulbright, Yale, City of Vienna, ACLS, DAAD, among others. She has been a guest-curator for exhibitions at Yale, Bowdoin, and the Historical Museum of the City of Vienna. She has extensive background in urban history, preservation, and documentation having worked for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., as well as within leadership positions of the D.C. Preservation League and Sierra Club. She currently serves on the national board of directors of the Society of Architectural Historians and is a Fellow of the Institute of Urban Design.