Shattering Ceilings

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Local nonprofits to celebrate women architects

Ten women architects from Orange County will be part of the “Women and the Art of Architecture” forum on Thursday, May 9, at Neighborhood Congregational Church. Photo courtesy of Laguna Friends of Architecture

Juintow Lin became interested in architecture when her house burned down while she was a freshman in high school. After her family engaged an architect for the rebuild, she was fascinated by the trade and decided to become an architect. Her passion led her to MIT, and later on a career path in New York, London, China and elsewhere. She is the founder and principal at Foxlin Architects in San Clemente, designing contemporary, sustainable residences and commercial structures.

Lin is one of 10 successful women architects from Orange County who will be part of “Women and the Art of Architecture,” an event taking place on Thursday, May 9, at Neighborhood Congregational Church from 6:30-9 p.m. The American Association of University Women – Laguna Beach (AAUW-LB), Laguna Friends of Architecture (LFA), and the American Institute of Architects Orange County (AIAOC) will host this free of charge event, which includes a slideshow of the architects’ work, a portable gallery “museum wall” celebrating past pioneering California women architects, and a moderated panel discussion.

This event is designed for architecture lovers and supporters of women in the professions. The organizers also hope to attract high school and college students and their parents to this event. “It will be an opportunity to learn about architecture as a career and to be awed by the accomplishments of women professionals,” said Janice Hayden, of AAUW and LFA.

Women have made great progress in this historically male-dominated profession, today constituting more than half of all students enrolled in accredited architecture programs.

Being a woman in architecture used to be a rarity, but luckily with support and a network, we are not just surviving, we are thriving” saidMeghana Joshi, from the board of directors of AIA OC.Collectively, these 10 women architects have worked in Orange County, Los Angeles, New York, London, Hong Kong and elsewhere. They have designed commercial buildings, health care facilities, community facilities, retail, multi-family housing, private residences, senior and affordable housing, and have done planning, design, and historical renovation. They have done research on Sustainable Urban Housing in China, invented an artificial intelligence-powered smart safety device, and have done large scale land planning. They include professors at Orange Coast College, Cal Poly Pomona and USC.

When these women get together, they express a contagious joy in architecture. “What better profession than one that provides the opportunity to create livable spaces and places for people to grow, thrive and be happy,” said Denise Ashton, senior principal, planning/community design at WHA Inc.

Not all of these women started their careers in architecture. Nancy Miller, now retired, made a mid-life change to architecture after a career in teaching. Kimberly Hankins, principal, senior project architect at WHA Inc., went from poetry and sculpture to architecture.

Several of these women followed a parent into architecture. Some are passing their career on to their own children. Bestey Olenick Dougherty established her own firm of Dougherty + Dougherty (now Perkins Eastman Dougherty). Both her son and daughter became architects.

I believe that we should all be mentors to others in our lives, including architects, students, friends and family,” said Christine Lampert, founder and principal architect of Lampert Dias Architects. Lampert practices what she preaches. She has served on several boards in Hong Kong as well as here in California. She teaches architecture at USC, having previously taught at Cal Poly Pomona, Orange Coast College and SCAD Hong Kong.

The evening will begin with refreshments and time to socialize, while viewing slides of the architects’ work and the Museum Wall. The Wall is part of Meghana Joshi’s Project Amplify and celebrates 12 accomplished pioneering women in California architectural history, including Lillian Rice and Julia Morgan. They scaled walls, shattered ceilings, and kicked open doors of opportunity for others to follow.

A panel discussion with six of the architects will follow, moderated by Rose Anne Garcia Kings, an architect and professor of architecture and environmental sustainability at Orange Coast College.


Women and the Art of Architecture

Thursday, May 9, 6:30-9 p.m.

Admission: Free, donations accepted

Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Drive

For more info: [email protected]

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  1. If an organization was formed to support men in Architecture, in this political climate, it would probably be labeled a “hate group”.


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