Looking at our profession through the eyes of educators and practitioners to discuss the role of women in the field of architecture, design and construction and the impact that formative years have on women’s careers. Please join the AIANY Global Dialogues Committee for the 3rd-annual Leaning Out event as voices from the around the world contribute to this discussion.
Odile Decq, Architect; Founder, Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture
Deborah Gans, FAIA, Principal, Gans studio; Professor, Pratt Institute
Marion Weiss, FAIA, Partner, WEISS./MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism; Graham Chair, Professor of Architecture, Penn Design, University of Pennsylvania
Lynette Widder, Founder, Aardvarchitecture; Professor Columbia University
Kim Yao, AIA, Principal, Architecture Research Office (ARO)
Jane Smith, AIA, IIDA, Partner, Spacesmith; Department Chair, Interior Design, School of Visual Arts
About the Series
Leaning Out was initiated in 2013 as a panel on and by women in the fields of architecture and construction. As part of the AIANY Global Dialogues Committee series of panels, each year’s topic reflects the Global Dialogues theme of the year. In turn, topics such as Global Practice, Identity and Profile, Education, Landscape Architecture, Academic Leadership, and Entrepreneurship, have been discussed by highly accomplished women in this field within a format that begins with presentations and is completed with a moderated panel discussion. Over 180 people attend the panel each year to listen to four or five panelists selected for their achievements in the field and ability to inspire generations to come. Leaning Out was initiated by Hana Kassem, AIA, Principal, KPF.
About the Speakers
Odile Decq set up her own office just after graduating from La Villette while studying from Sciences Politiques Paris. She has been faithful to her fighting attitude while diversifying and radicalizing her research by developing urbanism, land settlement as well as interior design, object design and contemporary art. Odile’s work is a complete universe, including urban planning, architecture, design products and art. In addition to the studio, Odile Decq has been teaching since 1991. She has been guest teacher in universities like Columbia in New York, Bartlett in London, Kunstakademie in Vienna and Dusseldorf. In France she taught at Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris from 1992 to 2007 and was head of the school from 2007 to 2012. Her passion for teaching has brought her in 2014 to create with Matteo Cainer the Confluence: Institute for Innovation Creative Strategies in Architecture in Lyon which proposes to cross prospective and experimental visions, and to question and go beyond implicit limits of architecture.
Deborah Gans is principal of Gans studio and professor in architecture at Pratt Institute where she has also served as department chair. Much of her work in architecture, industrial design and planning bridges profession and academic worlds in search of new social form, sometimes by focusing on extreme situations that yield insights for everyday life. Examples are her work on landscapes of refugee camps was featured in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2008 Venice Biennale and published in many places. With her students she has explored new intermediate scales of urban planning and concomitant community, first in New Orleans after Katrina and subsequently in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn after Sandy. Current projects include a development of workforce housing, rebuilding efforts for the Housing Recovery Office of New York, and landscape oriented proposal, Future Ground, sponsored by the Van Alen Institute and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.
Jane Smith, AIA, IIDA, is the founding principal of Spacesmith LLP, a NYC based certified woman-owned architecture, planning, and interior design firm. With a diverse portfolio and many repeat clients, Spacesmith has done work for city and state public agencies, schools, institutions, not-for-profits, and private sector clients in fashion, finance, and media. Believing that design should be a collaborative process, Jane leads by listening and responding with solutions custom tailored for each client that balance creativity, practicality, and sustainability. She is dedicated to making meaningful contributions to the practice of architecture and serving the community. She has been Chair of the Interior Design Department of the School of Visual Arts since 2006, guiding and mentoring the next generation of designers. She has held leadership roles in numerous organizations such as CoreNet and Women Executives in Real Estate, and is currently the VP of Professional Development for the AIA New York Chapter.
Marion Weiss, FAIA, is co-founder of WEISS/MANFREDI, a multidisciplinary design practice based in New York City. Her firm is known for the dynamic integration of architecture, art, infrastructure, and landscape design. The firm’s projects, including the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, the University of Pennsylvania Nanotechnology Center, the Barnard College Diana Center, and Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park in New York City, exemplify the potential of architecture to transform public space and redefine the campus experience. The firm is currently working on The Bridge, a new building for Cornell NYC Tech’s groundbreaking Roosevelt Island campus, a building for MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative, and the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India. Marion is the Graham Chair Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has taught since 1991. She was recently inducted into the National Academy of Design and is currently an Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor at Yale University.
Lynnette Widder (M.Arch, Columbia University, 1990; PhD, ETHZ, in progress) serves on the full-time faculty of the Masters of Sustainability Management Masters Program at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. Prior to joining the Earth Institute, she was Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at RISD; she has also taught at the ETH Zurich, Cornell University, City College of New York and Cranbrook Academy. She is the author of numerous articles on architectural history and sustainable building, and co-author of two books, Ira Rakatansky: As Modern as Tomorrow and Architecture Live Projects: Pedagogy into Practice. Her professional work with Aardvarchitecture has been published in the US, Europe, China and Australia. From 1994-98, she was editor of the bilingual architecture quarterly Daidalos. Her current research focuses on sustainable building construction; urban resource flows; the material culture of building construction in post-war Germany; and textile-reinforced adobe.
Kim Yao, AIA, is principal, with Stephen Cassell and Adam Yarinsky, of Architecture Research Office (ARO), a 25-person firm based in New York City. ARO has completed more than 75 projects nationwide. The firm’s diverse project portfolio spans strategic planning, architecture and urban design. Kim holds an undergraduate degree in architecture from Columbia College: Columbia University and a Master of Architecture from Princeton University. She was Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture from 2001-2011 at Barnard College: Columbia University and also taught at the School of Constructed Environments, Parsons, the New School for Design. She has lectured in the United States and abroad, and has contributed to many architectural works. For the New York City chapter of the AIA, she has served on the Nominating, Oculus, and Design Awards Committees, and currently serves on the Honors Committee.