About BWAF

Who we are

After 35 years of architectural practice leading her own firm, Beverly Willis, FAIA, was astounded and dismayed to discover that women were not represented in the architecture history books. In 2000, believing that the future is based on the past, she contacted architectural historians Diane Favro, Ph.D. and Lian Mann, Ph.D. who shared her concern. Joined by Heidi Gifford, together they provided the research that led to the formation in 2002 of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF), a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization—with the mission of advancing the knowledge and recognition of women’s contributions to architecture.

Initially organized as a grant giving non-profit, the BWAF supported research that would expand knowledge about women’s contributions to twentieth-century American architecture by uncovering their lost histories and restoring them to the historical record. It now also embraces issues specific to women currently working within the building industry. To this end, BWAF both commissions and curates research that pertains to women working at all levels within all fields of practice —including architecture, engineering, construction, design, landscape, preservation, and planning.

A History of the BWAF

2002

Founded

February 21st with support from Beverly Willis.

2005

Grant program begins

Projects funded from 2005 to 2013 include USA: Modern Architectures in History,A Girl Is A Fellow Here, and Charles & Ray Eames.

2006

National Building Museum and BWAF begin collaboration

The Women of Architecture program began at the nation’s premium institution for building excellence, in observance of Women’s History Month (March).

2007

Concept for Dynamic National Archive begins

Trustee Diane Favro creates the first version of the wiki-style collection of women of 20th century American architecture that eventually becomes the DNA.

2009

BWAF redefines mission

Accepting a broader understanding of design that embraces all aspects of the built environment, BWAF re-structures its programs to reflect the expanded mission.

2010

Industry Leaders Roundtable program begins

The first Industry Leaders Roundtable is held in October in Tarrytown, NY. This program has happened in October every year since.

Internship Program Begins

The BWAF begins offering summer internships to expose rising professionals to the world of arts management.

2012

Received grant from National Endowment for the Arts

The $35,000 matching grant allowed for the beginning of the Pioneering Women of American Architecture project, which highlights 50 revolutionaries within the DNA.

2014

Launched Built By Women (BxW)

Our flagship educational and social initiative to raise awareness of women’s contributions to the built environment, support current professionals and students, and inspire young women to pursue STE(A)M careers, launches in New York City.

2015

BWAF Leadership Awards Begin

The BWAF recognizes individuals and organizations who have contributed to growing equity in the building professions in February at the Prince George Ballroom, with over 200 professionals in attendance.

Built By Women Continues

Washington D.C. became the second region to host a Built By Women competition.

Board of Trustees

 

 

OFFICERS

Beverly Willis, FAIA

Beverly Willis, FAIA

Founder & Founding Chair

Beverly Willis, FAIA, is an artist, architect, author, film maker. After 40 years of art-architectural practice, Beverly founded the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation to change the culture of the design and construction industry, making it diverse and providing true recognition for women. 

Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA, LEED ID+C

Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA, LEED ID+C

Chair

Joan is a Principal and Interior Design Director at Perkins+Will and a former President of the AIANY.

Patricia Harris, JD, LEED, AP

Patricia Harris, JD, LEED, AP

Treasurer

Patti Harris serves as Special Counsel to the construction law firm of Zetlin & De Chiara LLP and she is Founder/CEO of LicenseSure, a business that assists design professional firms with formation and qualification throughout the 50 states. In addition to her work with the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, Patti sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Design Alliance.

Suzanne Pennasilico, SPHR

Suzanne Pennasilico, SPHR

Vice Chair

Suzanne is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP.

Renee M. Charles, NCIDQ

Renee M. Charles, NCIDQ

Secretary

BOARD

Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, DPACSA

Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, DPACSA

Lance is a Principal at Lance Jay Brown Architecture and an Urban Design Professor at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer College of Architecture in the City College of New York / City University of New York.

Jane Smith, AIA, IIDA

Jane Smith, AIA, IIDA

Jane Smith, AIA, IIDA is the founding principal of Spacesmith, LLP, New York City and State registered Women Owned Enterprise specializing in architecture, planning, and interior design.

Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

A vocal advocate for the value of design and the importance of creating resilient and sustainable urban density, Kirsten Sibilia is a Principal at Dattner Architects – a New York City firm with a long history of improving and sustaining communities and the urban environment through design.

Despina Stratigakos, Ph.D

Despina Stratigakos, Ph.D

Despina is an Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo Department of Architecture.

Porie Saikia-Eapen, AIA, FCIOB

Porie Saikia-Eapen, AIA, FCIOB

Porie is the President & Founder of PRIA Global.

Victoria Rosner, Ph.D

Victoria Rosner, Ph.D

Victoria is an Associate Dean at the Columbia University School of General Studies.

Jennifer Murphy

Jennifer Murphy

Jennifer is a National Marketing Director at Skanska USA Civil Inc.

Mary McLeod, Ph.D

Mary McLeod, Ph.D

Mary is a Professor of Architecture at Columbia University.

Cynthia Imogen Hammond, Ph.D

Cynthia Imogen Hammond, Ph.D

Cynthia is an Associate Professor and Chair at the Concordia University Department of Art History

Julia Donoho, AIA, Esq.

Julia Donoho, AIA, Esq.

Julia is a Principal at Legal Constructs.

Fiona Cousins, PE

Fiona Cousins, PE

Fiona is a Principal at ARUP.

Jane Chmielinski

Jane Chmielinski

Jane is an Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at AECOM.

Kristi Ambrosetti

Kristi Ambrosetti

Staff


Christie Chirinos

Christie Chirinos

Communications Manager

Christie is BWAF’s Communications Manager. She is a passionate believer in digital project management for social good and a graduate of Florida State University’s Master of Business Administration program, with a specialization in Management Information Systems. She is also the daughter of two architects.

Carol Shapiro

Carol Shapiro

Executive Director

Prior to joining the BWAF, Carol was an award winning social entrepreneur in the criminal social justice field for over 35 year. As Founder and CEO of Family Justice, Carol is also an artist and partner of an architect and engineer.

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