Our Mission

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.

Our History

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

Beverly Willis, FAIA

Founder & Founding Chair

Beverly Willis, FAIAis an artist, architect, author and philanthropist. After 50 years of practice, she founded the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation in 2002. She served as President of the California Council of American Institute of Architects. Beverly was a founding trustee of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., a position she still holds.

Julia Murphy, AIA, LEED AP

Julia Murphy, AIA, LEED AP

Chair

Julia Murphy is an Associate Director at Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP managing several multiple large-scale commercial and mixed-use projects including Manhattan West and Citigroup Corporate Headquarters and a residential tower for Avalon Bay Communities. Julia is the leader of SOM’s New York Practice Group and the chairperson of the SOM Women’s Initiative, a group devoted to the professional development of women within the firm.  Julia is an active member of WX, New York Women Executives in Real Estate and is the President Elect of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. Julia is a third generation architect and a graduate of Colgate University and the University of Pennsylvania where she received her Master of Architecture degree in 2003. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Julia lives in Brooklyn, NY with her daughter and husband.

Michele O’Connor, PE LEED AP

Michele O’Connor, PE LEED AP

Chair Elect

Michele O’Connor is a Principal at Langan and co-director of the firm’s civil engineering practice in New York City. Her expertise includes site assessment and feasibility studies, resiliency consultation and design, detailed engineering designs for land use permitting and construction, infrastructure design, hydraulic analyses, stormwater management design, and construction phase coordination and administration. Throughout her career, Ms. O’Connor has managed numerous groundbreaking projects in the New York Metropolitan area, including the award-winning Hudson Park and Boulevard, a four-acre public park within Hudson Yards. Her leadership ability is visible through her work as 2017 President of CREW New York, Board Member of Women Builders Council, and Co-Founder of Women@Langan, a program created to mentor, support, and empower women in the industry. 

Melissa Burton, Ph.D

Melissa Burton, Ph.D

Treasurer

Melissa Burton is a Principal with Arup and currently serves as the Consulting Practice Leader for Canada. She oversees a variety of work for Arup in the consulting practice from early stage advisory through specialty technical consulting work to complex design studies. In her role she brings together teams of engineers and consultants with a breadth and depth of skills and experience to enable them to collaborate with clients and develop creative, robust solutions to realize her client’s visions. Melissa started her career looking at how the wind climate affects the buildings we design, and how the consequential reaction of the buildings affects the people that occupy them. Her technical expertise extends to beyond code approaches using advanced analytical tools to quantify and reduce design risk from wind loading. She has most recently collaborated with the Charles Pankow Foundation to publish criteria and methodologies for designing tall buildings to be more resilient in wind events. She has both lived and worked in the UK, Asia, and North America and has a global portfolio of project work.

Peter DiMaggio, PE SECB

Peter DiMaggio, PE SECB

Secretary

Peter DiMaggio is Co-CEO of Thornton Tomasetti and is responsible for defining, articulating and driving the firm’s strategic vision. In addition to participating in the development and execution of the overall business plan, he is involved in strategic initiatives from identifying new markets and merger and acquisition opportunities to instituting mentorship and professional development programs. Pete is a recognized expert in special structures and protective design and security. He has been involved in the design and structural hardening of numerous government buildings, including more than 40 U.S. embassies, federal facilities and courthouses. His diverse portfolio also includes office buildings, educational facilities, hotels, stadiums, laboratories, residential towers and unique structures around the world.

Patricia Harris, JD, LEED, AP

Patricia Harris, JD, LEED, AP

Of Counsel

Patti Harris, Founder and CEO of LicenseSure LLC and Special Counsel to Zetlin & De Chiara LLP, provides legal and business counsel to architects and engineers throughout the United States. A serial entrepreneur as well as an attorney, Patti started her career as a corporate attorney with two New York City law firms. From 2000 to 2013, Patti served as the Managing Partner of Zetlin & De Chiara. Harris is the Founder and CEO of LicenseSure, which provides business and licensing compliance services to design professionals. Ms. Harris’ legal practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, business organization and management issues, succession, strategy and licensing issues.

Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA, LEED ID+C

Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA, LEED ID+C

Chair Nominating Committee

Joan Blumenfeld, Contract Magazine’s 2018 Legend, is a design principal at Perkins+Will, a global architecture and interiors firm. Over the past 10 years she has been committed to achieving gender equity across all aspects of the design and construction business. As the first president of Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) she facilitated broadening its mission to include changing culture throughout the industry. She remained President for five years, helping to grow the organization to have national recognition, and since 2011 served on the Executive Committee, stepping down on January 1 of this year. Previous and parallel to her work with BWAF she has been an active advocate for building better and more healthy interiors, buildings and communities. As 2007 President of AIA NYC, she worked with city agencies and the Mayor’s Office, resulting in the first revamping of citywide workplace standards since 1971. She assisted NYC agencies in developing a LEED point for Active Design, and also served as the design advisor to the GSA and the CDC in creating Fitwel, a scorecard for designing healthy buildings and interiors. Her widely published and award winning work is notable for incorporating socially responsible principals of designing for health and sustainability.

Angelica Baccon, AIA

Angelica Baccon, AIA

Trustee

Angelica Trevino Baccon is a principal of SHoP. She has a particular specialty in leading complex mixed-use and workplace design projects, often at the intersection of enterprise and technology. These include the new Uber headquarters in San Francisco and several confidential projects for global leaders in Silicon Valley. She holds a Bachelor in Architecture degree from ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico, and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University, where she has also served as a professor. Her work on New York City’s South Street Seaport established her deep expertise in fast-paced, high-profile design and delivery challenges with multilayered stakeholder groups, successfully leveraging programs to promote vitality, equity and community in the private sector and public realm.

Erleen Hatfield, PE, AIA

Erleen Hatfield, PE, AIA

Trustee

Erleen Hatfield, PE, AIA, is the Managing Partner of the Hatfield Group, a multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm based in New York. She has over 25 years of experience in the design of complex structures worldwide. She frequently writes and presents on topics related to innovation and technology in engineering and architecture. Her firm, Hatfield Group focuses on synthesis of engineering and architecture, putting client value first. Hatfield Group uses bespoke engineering design, technology, and innovation to achieve their clients’ goals. With a keen appreciation for design she has worked on iconic buildings around the world. She sits on numerous national industry boards and teaches at the Yale University School of Architecture. Her experience includes the new $1.5B home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, the Mercedes Benz Stadium, with a never been done before aperture style retractable roof. Other projects include the new headquarters for PNC Bank in Pittsburgh and the 9/11 Pavilion at the World Trade Center site in New York City. She was featured on the television programs on the Science Channel “World’s Greatest Stadium” and on the History Channel’s “Building Giants”.  She was named a “Power Player” and “Game Changer” by Sports Business Journal magazine. She is both a licensed engineer and architect, plus a LEED BD+C certified professional.

Latoya Nelson Kamdang, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, NCIDQ, LEED AP BD+C

Latoya Nelson Kamdang, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, NCIDQ, LEED AP BD+C

Trustee

Latoya Nelson Kamdang is the Director of NY Operations for Moody Nolan. She is also a U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar, Registered Architect, Certified Interior Designer, and LEED AP BD+C. Her experience spans architecture, planning, exhibit design, industrial and interior design. She has experience in hospitality, retail, museums, workplace, education, and institutional.  As a Senior Architect, some of her most recent clients include Hilton Worldwide and Hudson Yards Observation Deck experiential journey. Latoya was on the design team for the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture. She was an interdisciplinary team member from RFP submission through construction documents. Her spatial focus was the Slavery & Freedom History Gallery.  Latoya’s experience has also spanned to overseas federal projects. At the United States Department of State Overseas Buildings Operations, she collaborated with the interior design and planning department. She completed strategic planning, design, development, and construction management of United States Embassies overseas. While practicing, Latoya has been simultaneously working as a Visiting Associate Professor at Pratt Institute. She educates students on interdisciplinary design and material theory. She has a research focus on expanding urban areas, neighborhood gentrification, sustainable technologies, and indigenous architecture. 

Sabrina Kanner

Sabrina Kanner

Trustee

With Brookfield Properties and its predecessor, Olympia & York, since 1982, Ms. Kanner oversees design and construction in the U.S. Graduated Union College in 1980, she joined the construction division of Olympia & York in 1982 and was appointed to run Olympia and York’s construction company in 1986. She became Vice President, Design and Construction in 1994, Senior Vice President, Design and Construction in 2006 and Executive Vice President, Design and Construction in 2015. In her 34 year tenure with the company, Ms. Kanner has played a key role in the construction, design and development or redevelopment of over 40 million square feet of signature Brookfield projects such as World Financial Center/ Brookfield Place, 300 Madison Avenue, Bay Adelaide Centre, the restoration/renovation of the Winter Garden at World Financial Center after 9/11, and currently Manhattan West. She is a member of WX and sits on the Boards of Directors of New York Building Congress (Vice Chairman), The Salvadori Center, The Opus Group, and The Regional Plan Association and sits on the Board of Trustees of The National Building Museum.

Alexandra Lange, Ph.D.

Alexandra Lange, Ph.D.

Trustee

Alexandra Lange is a design critic. Her essays, reviews, and profiles have appeared in numerous design publications including Architect, Harvard Design Magazine, Metropolis, and T Magazine, as well as in The Atlantic, New York Magazine, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. Her latest book, The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids was published by Bloomsbury USA in June 2018. She is currently at work on a new book about the history and future of the American shopping mall.

Carol Loewenson, FAIA, LEED AP

Carol Loewenson, FAIA, LEED AP

Trustee

Carol Loewenson’s expertise ranges from highly technical buildings, renovations and façade replacements to work involving both the private and public sector. Her approach to architecture is deeply rooted in a commitment to public spaces and an acknowledgment of how the shape of a building, city, or institution impacts people’s lives. She brings a careful consideration of context to her work, balancing preservation and modernization to generate sustainable transformations that capture the complexity of a space’s past history and future goals.  Carol Loewenson joined Mitchell Giurgola in 1982 and became a partner in 1996. Her work at the firm includes projects for the Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Public Library, Rockefeller University, New York University, Cornell University, LaGuardia Community College, and the New York State Unified Court System. She serves as a Board member of the AIA Center for Architecture, the IDC Foundation, New Yorkers for Parks, and the Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation. She was as elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 2013, was elected President of AIA New York in 2016, and was awarded the AIA New York State President’s Award in 2019. 

Rich McFadden, PE LEED AP

Rich McFadden, PE LEED AP

Trustee

Rich McFadden joined JB&B in 2003, and has acted as Project Manager and Partner-in-Charge in the Electrical Department on a wide variety of projects and building types. With a strong background in facilities operations, Rich has lent his expertise to the live upgrade of large mission-critical systems supporting projects such as Citigroup’s New York headquarters at 388-390 Greenwich Street. He has also played an instrumental role in the development of Brookfield’s multi-building complex at Manhattan West for which he serves as the Partner-in-Charge. Rich currently serves as National Director on the ACEC New York Executive Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Bucknell University, and is a licensed Professional Engineer and LEED Accredited Professional.

Karen McNeill, Ph.D.

Karen McNeill, Ph.D.

Trustee

Karen McNeill, Ph.D., is an expert of Julia Morgan and currently working on a multiple publications about the architect. Dr. McNeill’s scholarship focuses on women and gender in the architectural profession as well as how Progressive Era women used the built environment to expand their roles society as consumers, reformers, educators, and professionals. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Autry National Center, the Bancroft Library, and the University of California Humanities Research Institute. Karen has also taught history and architectural history at colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area and has been involved in historic preservation, authoring several context statements for major surveys and successfully nominating a range of buildings to the National Register of Historic Places. She is currently Senior Family Historian at Ascent Private Capital Management of U.S. Bank.

Bolanle Williams-Olley

Bolanle Williams-Olley

Trustee

Bolanle Williams-Olley is the Chief Financial Officer at Mancini Duffy, a technology-first design firm, where she oversees the firm’s financial and operational performance. With a strong background in financial analysis and strategic initiatives, Bola thrives on building relationships between finance and management teams to ensure the overall financial success of projects and her firm. She holds a Master’s in Education & Social Policy from NYU, Master’s in Applied Mathematics and Bachelor’ in Mathematics from City University of New York, Hunter College. She is passionate about service and is the founder of four impact organizations: SheBuildsWaves, SheBuildsLives, SheBuildsMoney and REACH Nigeria.

Ann (Annie) Rolland, FAIA, LEED AP

Ann (Annie) Rolland, FAIA, LEED AP

Trustee

Ann Rolland, FAIA, LEED AP, is Partner at FXCollaborative, a New York City-based architecture, interiors, and planning design firm. Ann directs the firm’s Cultural and Educational practice, and has been instrumental in its development from its inception. She is inquisitive and optimistic by nature, and with a keen blend of analytical and organizational skills, Ann uncovers possibilities, unlocks potentials, and maximizes outcomes. Ann is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a registered architect in New York, and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where she earned both Bachelor of Arts and Master of Architecture degrees. A frequent speaker and active member of the design community, she has served on the advisory boards of several organizations and is active in the AIA New York Committee on Architecture for Education, Non-Traditional Employment for Women (NEW), and Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF).

Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Trustee

Kirsten Sibilia is a vocal advocate for the value of design. As managing partner, she is focused on the firm’s health and vitality. Her design training and entrepreneurial spirit have allowed her to approach the business side of the practice as a design project; with each initiative, she reflects the firm’s commitment to improving public life, through the creation of resilient and sustainable urban density. Her enthusiasm for supporting architectural practice manifests in involvement with several leading industry organizations including the Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation, ULI NY’s Design Awards Committee, and the New York Building Congress’ Architects Leadership Council. Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts from the New School.

Jennifer Stone, AIA

Jennifer Stone, AIA

Trustee

Experienced in managing complex institutional planning and design projects, as Partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP, Jennifer Stone brings a love of contextually appropriate, sustainable architecture to her work with clients, communities, and building industry partners. Jennifer is an active participant, mentor, and volunteer in her professional community. As a council member of the Society for College and University Planning, she shares her extensive knowledge and stays current with global best practices. Her presentations at numerous professional conferences and her leadership roles with the New York Building Congress Foundation, ACE Mentorship Programs, and the Urban Land Institute, as well as the firm’s own Women Leadership Initiative and Sustainability Committee, testify to her commitment to developing and opening the field of architecture.

Barbara Wilks, FAIA, FASLA

Barbara Wilks, FAIA, FASLA

Trustee

Barbara Wilks, principal and founder of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, is a leader in the field of design. Beginning her career as an architect and obtaining prominence for her design skills, she soon realized that her interests in public space linked with the profession of landscape architecture. Now as an architect and landscape architect, Barbara uses her leadership skills to realign nature and communities. Barbara has won many awards for her work and was elected to both the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architecture for her design accomplishments. The work reflects her leadership skills in the resulting synthesis of these multiple inputs to create a comprehensive connection between the fundamental ecology of the site, its historical and cultural legacy, and its current iteration. Wilks serves on the Design Trust for Public Space, the Van Alen Climate Council, the McHarg Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the Planning Committee of the Municipal Art Society, NYC, and the Board of Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park.

Phoebe Yee, AIA

Phoebe Yee, AIA

Trustee

As Senior Vice President of Design for Related California, Ms. Yee is responsible for the management of architecture and design for all market rate and mixed-income residential developments in California. Ms. Yee works closely with the architectural team, sales and marketing, and development executives throughout the entire development process to ensure seamless design and execution. A registered architect with extensive experience on major residential, commercial, hotel, retail and corporate developments, she recently oversaw the design and completion of The Century, a luxury high rise condominium in Los Angeles that has set per square foot sales price records for its market area.

Prior to joining Related in 2006, Ms. Yee served as Vice President at HKS Architects, Inc., in Beverly Hills. A recipient of the Asian Women in Business Corporate Leadership Award, Ms. Yee holds a Master in Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She was editor of the Dallas Chapter American Institute of Architects newsletter and served on the Urban Design Advisory Committee for the City of Dallas. She is a current member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and has been a speaker at AIA conferences and Urban Land Institute events.

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.

Staff


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.

Aislinn McNamara

Aislinn McNamara

Programs and Communications Coordinator

Aislinn is the Communications and Program Coordinator for Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. Aislinn earned her MFA from Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and her BFA from the University of Oxford, UK. She has exhibited sculpture and drawings and performed collaboratively with artists internationally, and has participated in a writing program at Aarhus Litturaturcenter, Denmark. Aislinn has worked on a number of international publishing and art projects, including leading research on and providing editorial assistance with ‘The One and The Many’, a public sculpture by artist Peter Randall-Page located in Fitzroy Place, London, UK. In 2016, Aislinn participated in the Montreal Biennial, and in 2017, she participated in a Litturaturfest in Aarhus, Denmark showcasing international writers and artists. 

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BWAF Statement on Sexual Misconduct

 


Every person has a fundamental right to respect, dignity and to pursue her or his employment free from sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is an unacceptable abuse of power in business relationships and is often an act of violence. It may be perpetrated by business superiors, colleagues, clients, and other parties with whom a person may interact for business purposes.


For the design industry, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) is advocating that all professional ethics codes include a prohibition on sexual misconduct. We ask that state licensing boards mandate ongoing training for all licensees in the area of sexual misconduct. We ask that industry associations refrain from bestowing awards on individuals or firms that harbor individuals who have been found to engage in sexual misconduct.


BWAF believes that all employers should have in place a written policy banning sexual misconduct of any nature whatsoever, a procedure whereby employees can report sexual misconduct without fear of repercussion and a commitment to treat allegations of misconduct seriously with gradations of punishments, up to and including termination, of internal personnel, clients and third-party vendors, suppliers or subcontractors who are found culpable of sexual misconduct. We stand against employment contracts and settlement agreements that prevent victims from disclosing acts of sexual misconduct or limit an employee’s right or remedies in connection with claims of sexual misconduct.


BWAF stands with the victims of sexual misconduct who have had the courage to speak out and encourages those who have not yet spoken to do so, if they choose to and if their circumstances permit them to do so safely and without fear of repercussion.


Learn more HERE