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. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Architect, Contract, Architectural Record, Interiors and Sources, Azure, Art in America, New York Magazine, and Vanity Fair, including the September 2015 cover of Interior Design Magazine, and won over 60 design awards in the past few years alone.

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

As Chief Human Resources Officer of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) Suzanne brings more than 25 years of experience in the delivery of integrated Human Resources solutions for a diverse group of multi-national employees.  Prior to SOM, Suzanne was employed by Barneys New York; her last position was Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations.  She began her career in the telecommunications industry in Organization Development and Training and held several HR Generalist positions in the retail and fashion industry.

Renee M. Charles, NCIDQ

Renee M. Charles, NCIDQ

Secretary

Renee is a strategic and dynamic executive with a 15+ year track record in protecting value in real estate investments, as well as a high-performing leader with an outstanding ability to effectively translate opportunities into tactical innovative business solutions. She has combined multi-disciplinary experience from both the Landlord and Tenant sides in real estate transactions, design, construction management, finance and process transformation and the ability to achieve positive bottom-line impact.

BOARD

Kristi Ambrosetti

Kristi Ambrosetti

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 Chmielinski

Jane Chmielinski

Jane Chmielinski has cultivated a distinguished career in the transportation and infrastructure industries. She currently serves on the McKissack and McKissack Advisory Board,has been appointed to the Governor’s P3 Commission in Massachusetts, and continues to participate on the New York Building Foundation Board of Governors and is a past Director of the New York Women’s Forum. She is also an active member of the New York Women’s Forum. College/University Affiliations: University of Massachusetts at Boston (BA, Liberal Arts)

Fiona Cousins, PE

Fiona Cousins, PE

Fiona Cousins is one of the leaders of the Arup New York office. She has a background in Sustainability Consulting and Mechanical engineering. Her areas of technical specialization include thermal comfort and low energy design. Prior and current projects include Princeton University Chemistry, Bloomberg Center at Cornell Tech, Fulton Center and The Women’s Building. Fiona serves on Arup’s Americas Board and directs research and skills investments for Arup’s Americas Region. She is a frequent presenter on transformative sustainable building design. Fiona served as the chair of the New York Chapter of the USGBC (Urban Green) from 2008-2009 and as chair of the USGBC board in 2016.

Julia Donoho, AIA, Esq.

Julia Donoho, AIA, Esq.

Julia Donoho is an award winning Architect and Attorney with a boutique practice advocating for a more equitable profession, and designing and developing more diverse and inclusive structures.  She has enjoyed an interesting career in architecture, working for world renowned architects, running her own architectural practice, and serving for a decade in public sector capital project management.  From 2013-15, she served on the AIA National Board of Directors and Strategic Council, where she led three successful efforts to change the culture of architecture by changing the Gold Medal list to be more diverse and inclusive.

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

Mary McLeod, Ph.D

Mary McLeod, Ph.D

Mary McLeod is a professor of architecture at Columbia University, where she teaches architecture history and theory. Her research and publications have focused on the history of the modern movement and on contemporary architecture theory, examining issues concerning the connections between architecture and politics. She has written extensively on Le Corbusier’s architecture and urban planning, and is the editor of and contributor to the book Charlotte Perriand: An Art of Living. She is also the co-editor of Architecture, Criticism, Ideology and Architecture Reproduction, and is currently co-editing a website on pioneering American women architects for Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation.

Jennifer Murphy

Jennifer Murphy

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

Victoria Rosner, Ph.D

Victoria Rosner, Ph.D

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

Porie Saikia-Eapen, AIA, FCIOB

Porie Saikia-Eapen, AIA, FCIOB

Porie is the President & Founder of PRIA Global.

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.

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.

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.

Staff


Isabel Cohen

Communications Assistant

Isabel serves as the Communications Assistant for the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. Isabel is a recent graduate of the Editing, Writing and Media program (EWM), with minor focuses in Communications and Entrepreneurship, at Florida State University. During her final year of the EWM program, she completed a subsidized internship with Compass Marketing and Consulting in Tallahassee, Florida, which focused heavily on writing, editing and marketing analytics. Prior to joining BWAF, Isabel served nearly two years as a leasing specialist for Park7 Group.

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA

Executive Director

Cynthia is an architect and currently serves as the Executive Director for the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF). She joins the foundation following ten years as the Managing Director of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, Center for Architecture. Both an architect and a creative institutional administrator, Cynthia was responsible for the creation of Archtober, the New York City month-long festival of architecture and design.

As one of the early pioneers of co-education in the 1970’s, Cynthia graduated from Princeton University receiving both a BA magna cum laude, and Master’s of Architecture. She worked for Phillip Johnson in the 80’s and taught at the University of Virginia, New Jersey Institute of Technology and her alma mater.

Contact BWAF

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message