International Union of Women Architects

The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA), a center within Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, hosted the 18th Congress of the International Union of Women Architects (UIFA), July 26-31, 2015, in Washington, D.C. and Blacksburg, Va.

UIFA Congress, July 2015
UIFA Congress at AIA, July 2015

The congress’s theme, “Contributing to the Constellation,” honored both organizations’ aims to exhibit and illuminate the woman’s influence in the field of architecture and other design disciplines. This idea of a constellation advances the archive’s mission to preserve the works of women pioneers – the first bright stars – in architecture and design.

Around 60 participants which comprised representatives from 15 countries on five continents trekked to Blacksburg to get a first-hand view of Tech’s International Archive of Women in Architecture.

Donna Dunay, G.T. Ward Professor of Architecture in Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design and chair of the IAWA said, “It has been almost 30 years since the UIFA Congress was first held in the United States, and the IAWA is excited to welcome a gathering that carries such weight, importance, and authority to empower, connect, and celebrate women in architecture.”

Dunay’s efforts were applauded by A. Jack Davis, FAIA LEED AP, Dean, College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “Professor Dunay is like a dedicated farmer who year after year, plants professional seeds and sows the crop for generations to come.  Her selfless and dogged commitment to preserving the work of women designers from the past has created an impressive lasting legacy for all future designers.”

Read more about the Congress’ visit to Blacksburg in The Roanoke Times.

Call for Submissions: Virginia Women in Design Electronic Exhibition

VWiDVirginia Women in Design (VWiD) is pleased to present its second electronic exhibit of work by women architects and designers. The exhibit will be featured in the VWiD’s floor lounge at Architecture Exchange East, the mid-Atlantic region’s annual architecture conference in Richmond, Virginia from Nov. 5–7, 2014. VWiD welcomes work of all scopes and from all disciplines. Designers can submit as many entries as desired. A separate form identifying the designer’s name, firm name under which the project was produced (if applicable), the project, and the work for which the entrant is responsible shall be submitted for each slide. In an effort to include work by emerging professionals, it is not necessary to have been the designer for the entire project, as long as the portion for which the entrant is responsible is clearly stated.
Please complete the entry form and submit it with JPEG images of your design to by Nov. 3, 2014.

Virginia’s Women in Design Lean In

RWiD Lean In Event
Lori Garrett, AIA introduces Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, at Richmond Women in Design’s “Lean In” event. Photo by Jeanne Lefever, AIA.

Mary Cox, FAIA, and Valerie Hassett, AIA, were invited to participate in presentations inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” at the AIA National Convention in June. The informal discussions focused on workplace concerns and pathways to leadership.

On Wednesday, July 10, Richmond Women in Design hosted a talk by AIA President-elect and Virginia member Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA.

Through personal antidotes, the architects explored the challenges of combining professional achievement and maintaining personal fulfillment.

Virginia Women Featured in Women in Architecture Dinner

Valerie Hassett, Secretary of the Society, is organizing a presentation during the Women in Architecture dinner at the upcoming national convention. The presentation, moderated by Mary Cox, FAIA, will look back at the past 25 years of women in architecture in Virginia.

The Women in Architecture Dinner, sponsored by AIA Diversity and Inclusion, honors the roles women play within the architecture profession and provides a platform to network and engage architects, interns, and architecture students from across the nation. The featured panel, Dina Griffin, AIA, and Suman Sorg, FAIA, will share their professional work, experiences, and greater issues of power, perspective, and success in architecture. All are welcome, and men are encouraged to attend.

Find out more information or register.

Dunay Collaborates on Women in Architecture Exhibition

When Virginia member Donna Dunay, FAIA, visited Japan in February, it seemed like a standard trip abroad for a busy academician. A professor and chair of the International Archive of Women in Architecture Center at Virginia Tech, she met with her counterparts with the Union of Women Architects Japan to finalize plans for summer exhibition and symposium in Tokyo highlighting the contributions of women architects to their field. The exhibit would celebrate the center’s 25 years of the work and signify the cross-border collaborations that are becoming more common in the 21st century.

Within a month, however, Japan would be hit with an unprecedentedly destructive earthquake and an associated tsunami and nuclear crisis. Soon it became clear that nothing in Japan would be routine for a long time, if ever.

Yet after temporarily putting their plans on hold, the exhibition’s organizers decided to move forward with their plans. “Though there is much rebuilding to accomplish,” says Dunay, who teaches architecture in the School of Architecture + Design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.  “Our Japanese colleagues decided to have the exhibition on the original schedule to restore a degree of normalcy and take this opportunity to showcase important history with the benefits that knowledge can bestow.”

The exhibition, entitled For the Future: The Pioneering Women in Architecture From Japan and Beyond, features the work of women architects from Japan, the United States and beyond, highlighting their accomplishments and, Dunay says, reveal their contributions to the built environment by giving this unacknowledged segment of the architecture profession a voice rarely heard. Dunay and architecture professor Kay Edge were featured speakers at a symposium associated with the exhibition, which opened last month at the Architectural Institute of Japan in Tokyo. The exhibition will later become one of the featured venues of the International Union of Architects meeting in Tokyo this fall.

Established in 1985, the International Archive of Women in Architecture Center is a joint program of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. The purpose of the Archive is to document the history of women’s contributions to the built environment by collecting, preserving, storing, and making available to researchers the professional papers of women architects, landscape architects, designers, architectural historians, urban planners and critics, as well as the archives of women’s architectural organizations.

Dunay says that before the earthquake, the exhibition in Japan offered a chance to highlight the work of women in architecture. Now, she says, the exhibition will also “promote the solidarity of our two countries looking into the future through the juxtaposition of work from Japan and the United States in an international partnership,” at a time when Japan needs help recovering from an unprecedented disaster.