Member News

SAH Members and Friends celebrating Architect Natalie de Blois (1921-2013) on April 2 at 12PM (CDT)

by SAH News | Mar 30, 2021
Architect and former SOM associate partner Natalie de Blois would have turned 100 years old on April 2, 2021. To commemorate this significant date and to discuss the relevance of Natalie de Blois’s work, MAS Context has organized an online event on that day.

During the program, architectural historian and critic Gabrielle Esperdy will discuss the career of Natalie de Blois. Architects Carol Ross Barney, Margaret McCurry, and Jana McCann will provide remarks related to cofounding Chicago Women in Architecture, working at SOM, and teaching at the University of Texas at Austin.

Architect Natalie de Blois was born in Paterson, New Jersey on April 2, 1921. In 1944 de Blois graduated from Columbia University’s architecture program and took her first professional job with the firm Ketchum, Gina & Sharp. In September of the same year de Blois was hired by the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). There she spent the majority of her professional career working closely with architects Gordon Bunshaft in the New York office (1944-1962) and Bruce Graham, and Myron Goldsmith in the Chicago office (1962-1974), earning notoriety within the architectural community as one of the top female architects in America.

Natalie de Blois is recognized for her work on a number of projects, including Connecticut General Life Insurance (Hartford, CT), Equitable Building (Chicago), Hilton Hotel (Istanbul), Lever House (NYC), Lincoln Center (NYC), Pepsi-Cola building (NYC), Terrace Plaza Hotel (Cincinnati), and the Union Carbide Corporation (NYC).

After thirty years with SOM, she left to join the Houston firm of Neuhaus & Taylor as senior project designer. As a working mother during the 1950s and 1960s de Blois was personally aware of the hardships and limitations faced by women in architecture, and in the 1970s she became active advocate for women in architecture joining the American Institute of Architects Task Force on Women, visiting architecture schools, and talking to female students.

During the last thirteen years of her architecture career, de Blois taught at the University of Texas at Austin, retiring in 1993. She received the Romieniec Award of the Texas AIA for distinguished achievement in education in 1998 and the AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Natalie de Blois practiced architecture for fifty years. She died in Chicago on July 22, 2013.

Reservations for this program here

Gabrielle Esperdy joined SAH in 1992 and is current Co-Chair of the SAH Digital Advisory Committee.  Carol Ross Barney was honored at SAH's 2019 Awards Gala.  Margaret McCurry joined SAH in 1978, and is a Life Member.  Jana McCann participated in the 2014 SAH Annual Conference in Austin, TX.  MAS Context's founder is Iker Gil.  MAS Context has collaborated with SAH on many programs at the Charnley-Persky House in Chicago.  
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