For assignment 4.0 – Networking Project, I needed to attend two events by two different professional organizations and I went to only High Point furniture market show. I decided to go AIA meeting in Morrisville on April 7th. I was expecting a big forum at a convention center or a hotel in a big city because ASID, IIDA or AIA sounds formal and fancy.
I attended the AIA meeting with Chelsea, Diana and Jennifer on Thursday. We were excited about the topic that “Women In Architecture”, It sounded interesting and never thought about it before. At the meeting, hostesses handed out a paper which showed nine questions. The first thirty minutes, they wanted to meet and introduce people and share their information before starting video documentary. To fill out the nine questions we had to ask around people who qualified with it such as “Who visited to Wright’s place? Who is a friend of Architect? or who does not have design degree?”
While I talked with people, I realized that half of people were not related with design. They were just supporting women’s righst or architecture somehow. People gave their business card and told what they do. Naturally, people continued their conversation and I asked what the purpose and benefits of this kind of meeting are. Most people said just making network and it lead to their personal and their firm’s prosperity. That was true. I could understand why Travis mentioned rejection and greeting letter are important for future career. Socializing with the paper made me think further. Without the paper, it might be very hard to ask their job, habit or interesting. I felt the social networking was not that hard and very useful for my future career. It was a great time to meet and talk or discuss common interests.
After socializing, the hostesses introduced today’s topic with video clips. It was the "A Girl Is A Fellow Here", It was about Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright and focused on six of those women; Marion Mahony, Isabel Roberts, Lois Gottlieb, Jane Duncombe, Eleanore Petterson, and Read Weber. They had four different video clips but showed three of them.
The first video was interviewed with Beverly Willis who is president of BWAF, had a lauded 50-year career in architectural and design practice following a career as a multimedia artist It explained why she wanted to track those six people’s achievement and their effectiveness in the U.S architecture history to pass along to the public. The video kept introducing six important women with their achievements in the field briefly.
While I watched the video I tried to write down the information. At a time when few architectural firms would hire women, Frank Lloyd Wright unhesitatingly employed women, giving them both training and the opportunity to practice. Ultimately, over 100 women architects and designers worked with Wright, many of them going on to remarkable careers of their own. Wright trained and practiced with women as draftsmen, designers, and fellow visionaries.
I remember Marion Mahony who was the first person Frank Lloyd Wright hired as he ramped up his burgeoning new architectural practice in 1895. She was the second woman to graduate from MIT and the first woman in the world to receive a license to practice architecture. While she was working with Wright, her skills as a draftsperson and her ability to make a pencil create magic. Her drawings captured the essence of the kind of building Wright was working so hard to create. The documentary video continued introducing the rest of them with their career but I only could write down their names.
The next video showed interview with one of his Frank’s women, Lois Davidson Gottlieb, at Guggenheim museum in New York. She worked at Taliesin from 1948 to 1949 and left to study at Harvard. She described Frank or worked with him was about how to make life better for clients, for everybody. But Harvard taught to make drawings for the drawing department. They did not do anything to the rooms themselves. She said working with him was a beautiful life. I do believe she wanted to tell people how great he was and how to use the design to make better life.
Hostess stopped the video and wanted to discuss about their life and what women have to do for future. My personal thinking is that women already dominated design field and spread out further. I guessed they have different perspective to design. Compare to men’s design, women design more sensuous and delicate especially detailing. Like Lois said, when she worked at Taliesin she fixed and changed a part of window but the greatest architect Frank praised her. It turned her design was better than his. They know how to give a difference with little change and it shifted the entire atmosphere of design. Now there are lots of designers these days but at that time, people barely hired women. As time went by people realized women have different insight which was society was looking for and men had to admit their abilities. I believe men have to learn women’s perspective or observation somehow. Men need to be more sensitive and delicate to design. I cannot point out exactly what that is but women have different view. That is why we need to corporate and produce better design.
Under Frank's guidance, from Oak Park to the Arizona Taliesin, his people learned their craft and honed their ideas. After they left his studio, they created thousands of projects across the country. Houses and hospitals, churches and libraries, theaters and wineries, from West coast to East coast, their architecture endured. They were Frank Lloyd Wright's unknown legacy, and their practice forms a legacy for all women working in architecture today. I felt like I found a pearl on the beach. The unexpected subject, people and video clips gave me lots of lessons especially the video documentary reminded me why he is one of the greatest Architects in human history again. I really enjoyed this meeting and the topic. I will attend this kind of forum as much as I can to get new knowledge and expand social network.