In an already male-driven industry, the number of women in the field of architecture has fallen. According to The Architect Journal's Women in Architecture Survey, the number dropped from 28 percent in 2009 to 21 percent in 2011. Some of the difficulties that may have attributed to this could be anything from a woman having children to sexual discrimination to the wish for a higher pay check. According to Washington, D.C.-based architect Suzane Reatig, "Women leave architecture because the workplace does not adjust to allow them to return after having children and allow for a balanced family and work life." It may seem like there isn't much to celebrate when even the D.C. chapter of the American Institute of Architects is low on gender diversity (26 percent), but the growth over the decades has been exponential. It was only 50 years ago that the number of women architects was at 2 percent. Additionally, the majority of architecture projects in Washington, D.C. are run by the federal government, which offers set-asides for women- and minority-owned firms. From the only woman out of 11 to found the American Society of Landscape Architects (Beatrix Farrand) to a woman who has completely transformed the Shaw neighborhood (Suzane Reatig) to a woman who has influenced the shaping of downtown D.C. in more ways than imaginable (Yolanda Cole), here is a list of the 10 most kickass women architects who are based in Washington, D.C.
1. Rose Ishbel Greely (1887 - 1969)
Rose Greely was the first licensed female architect in Washington, D.C. In 1920, she was one of the first graduates at the Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. After receiving certificates in both disciplines, she worked for architect Horace W. Peaslee before opening her own landscape architecture firm in 1925. Greely designed gardens, military facilities, schools, embassies, and museums. She also served as a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
2. Fay Kellogg (1871 - 1918)
Described as "the foremost woman architect in the United States," Fay Kellogg studied in Columbian University (now known as George Washington University) in Washington, D.C. to become a doctor. After going to Pratt Institute to pursue a career in architecture, she began to specialize in steel construction and establish her own office in 1903.
3. Gertrude Sawyer (1895-1996)
After opening her own architectural firm in Georgetown in the 1930s, Gertrude Sawyer focused on historic restoration. She previously worked as a designer for architect Horace W. Peaslee and studied at the University of Illinois and the Cambridge School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. According to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, Sawyer's most prominent work is the Point Farm complex in Calvert County, Maryland, a 26-building complex that is now used as a park and museum.
[Photos via Wikipedia Commons]
4. Beatrix Farrand (1872 - 1959)
Over the course of Beatrix Farrand's life, she was commissioned to design roughly 110 gardens, including Dumbarton Oaks. She was also commissioned to design The White House's East Colonial Garden and the West Garden, now known as the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden and the White House Rose Garden, respectively. Farrand was the only woman out of the 11 founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
[Photos via Modern Capital DC]
5. Chloethiel Woodard Smith (1910 - 1992)
Chloethiel Woodard Smith is one of the first women to become well known in American architecture and one of the most influential builders of Washington, D.C. after World War I. She founded her architectural firm, Smith & Satterlee, in 1950, which later became the largest female-run architectural firm in the nation. Smith worked on the creation of Reston, VA in the 1960s and developed urban renewal projects as the master planner and architect of the Washington Southwest Urban Renewal Area Project. She was later awarded the Centennial Award from the Washington American Institute of Architects in 1989 and served on the boards of the Kennedy Center, the President's Council, and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.
[Photos via Sorg Architects]
6. Suman Sorg
After founding Sorg Architects in 1986, Suman Sorg has gone on to receive 26 awards from the American Institute of Architects. Sorg has renovated five Washington, D.C. public schools, designed 11 embassy compounds for the Department of State, and constructed several condominiums on U Street, according to Washington Business Journal. She has studied at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, India as well as Howard University and Cornell University.
[Photos via Suzane Reatig Architecture]
7. Suzane Reatig
Described as "the best little-known architect in D.C." by the Washington Business Journal, Suzane Reatig has transformed the Shaw neighborhood with over 20 projects that include townhomes, condominiums, and one church. She founded her all-women office, Suzane Reatig Architecture, in 1989 with a focus on creating affordable residential units.
[Photos via Esocoff & Associates|architects]
8. Amy Weinstein
As one of most prominent local women in her profession, Amy Weinstein has won over 30 design awards and been published in architectural journals around the world. She has designed 18 projects in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and is currently working on the Hine school project.
[Photos via Hickok Cole Architects]
9. Yolanda Cole
Yolanda Cole has impacted downtown Washington, D.C. with projects that include office buildings, multi-family housing, and mixed-use projects. These projects include the Constance Milstein and Family Global Academic Center at 1307 L Street NW. She has designed projects for NPR, New York University, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Cole is the owner of the award-winning 85-person architectural firm, Hickok Cole Architects. (UPDATE: According to Yolanda Cole, the percentage of women at her office is 56 percent)
[Photos via Brie Husted Architects]
10. Brie Husted
Brie Husted specializes in designing restaurants around Washington, D.C., including Domku and El Chuco. Some of the residential and retail projects that she has worked on include The Symera in Logan Circle and the Wise Owl Club barbershop in Adams Morgan. She runs the architectural firm Brie Husted Architects.
· Infographic: Women in Architecture [ArchDaily]
· Designing women [Washington Business Journal]
· Architecture in D.C.: Still a Man's World [Washington City Paper]
· The First American Women Architects by Sarah Allaback
· Brown, Jane. Beatrix: The Gardening Life of Beatrix Jones Farrand, 1872-1959. New York: Viking, 1995. Print.
· Chloethiel Woodard Smith, Architect, 82 [The New York Times]
· Chloethiel Woodard Smith [University of Oregon]
· Architect Suzane Reatig is the best little-known architect in D.C. — just look around Shaw [Washington Business Journal]
· Building Blocks [Washington City Paper]
· Woman Invades Field of Modern Architecture [The New York Times]
· Miss Fay Kellogg, Architect, Dies [The New York Times]
· Sorg Architects [Official Website]
· 25 Architects: Yolanda Cole, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP [AIA DC]
· Gertrude Sawyer [U.S. Commission of Fine Arts]