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New York Times - Opinion: Beverly Willis on "The Lone Heroic Architect is Passe"

by Beverly Willis | Jun 03, 2013

Beverly Willis, Executive Director of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation writes:

It’s never too late to correct a stupid mistake. When extraordinary accomplishments in architecture, design and engineering are being honored, those who were directly responsible for the work should be equally recognized regardless of gender. Give Denise Scott Brown the recognition she deserves.

But this speaks to a broader issue in the professions, as well as the current challenge facing the Pritzker Prize. When the prize was founded, individual architects, or those in partnership (married or not), were responsible for the complete work — small in comparison to current projects. Today’s mega-buildings are not the hands-on work of one or two people, but rather of a large interdisciplinary team. The lone heroic figure — let alone exclusively a male one — is a thing of the past. The fallacy that only men execute the best designs is the reason that extraordinary work by female architects and engineers is not in the history books. Moreover, from the business end, recognition of creative work in the design world is critical to a designer’s ability to both qualify and compete for future commissions.

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