Photo of Beverly Willis courtesy of BWAF; photo of the San Francisco Ballet Building courtesy of Wikimedia
Throughout her more than 70-year-career, Beverly Willis has made an impact on nearly every aspect of the architecture industry. Willis, who began her professional career as a fresco painter, is credited with pioneering the adaptive reuse construction of historic buildings. She also introduced computerized programming into large-scale land planning and created a permanent prototype for buildings designed exclusively for ballet, with the San Francisco Ballet Building, one of her most iconic and enduring projects. As a woman in the building industry during the middle of the 20th century, and without any formal architectural training, Willis faced barriers that her male co-workers did not.
After decades of success, instead of retiring Willis, founded the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF), aimed at shining a light on women architects who were left out of the history books. In 2017, BWAF launched a website, “Pioneering Women of American Architecture,” that profiles 50 women who made significant contributions to the field. Ahead, architect Beverly Willis talks with 6sqft about how she became a pioneer in the field, the goals of her foundation and her continued push for gender equity in architecture, and beyond, through education and research.
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Fulton Center, one of the many female-led projects at the exhibit
To mark Women’s History Month, a new exhibit at the Center for Architecture will showcase the work of more than 100 female architects, landscape architects, and engineers across the five boroughs. Built by Women New York City (BxW NYC) is a project of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, which started accepting nominations for outstanding female-led design last fall and received 350 submissions.
Among the 98 sites celebrated at the show are the Pepsi Cola Corporate Headquarters on Park Avenue, designed in the 1960s by Natalie de Blois of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; the new Fulton Center, the work of more than two dozen women; and the High Line, another collaborative effort of many females.
More on the exhibit
, Tue, September 23, 2014
Since we all have feminism on the mind thanks to Emma Watson’s empowering speech at the UN yesterday, we thought it was perfect timing to highlight the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation‘s competition, Built by Women New York City (BxW NYC).
Nominations are currently being accepted through October 31st for “outstanding structures and built environments in New York City, either contemporary or historic, designed and/or constructed by women.”
More on BxW NYC here