Women & the Art of Architecture

On May 9th, I will be a part of the “Women & the Art of Architecture” event co-hosted by AAUW, LFA and AIAOC. Below is the article written by Janice Hayden and Elliot Quint, ideators and organizers of the event. 




Juintow Lin became interested in architecture when her house burned down while she was a freshman in high school. After her family engaged an architect for the rebuild, she was fascinated by the trade and decided to become an architect.  Her passion led her to MIT, and later on a career path in New York, London, China and elsewhere.  She is the founder and principal at Foxlin Architects in San Clemente designing contemporary, sustainable residences and commercial structures.

Lin is one of ten successful women architects from Orange County who are part of “Women and the Art of Architecture”, an event taking place on May 9that Neighborhood Congregational Church from 6:30 – 9 pm.  The American Association of University Women – Laguna Beach (AAUW-LB), Laguna Friends of Architecture (LFA), and the American Institute of Architects Orange County (AIAOC) will host this free of charge event, which includes a slideshow of the architects’ work, a portable gallery “museum wall” celebrating past pioneering California women architects, and a moderated panel discussion.

This event is designed for architecture lovers and supporters of women in the professions.  The organizers also hope to attract high school and college students as well as their parents to this event.  “It will be an opportunity to learn about architecture as a career and to be awed by the accomplishments of women professionals,” said Janice Hayden of both AAUW and LFA.  “The women will share their challenges and speak about the paths within architecture and what is needed to reach leadership positions in the field.  They will talk about finding meaning and giving back to their community through their work.”

“This event will help increase social awareness about what a woman in architecture does, and how her contributions and engagements inside and outside the profession matter in creating a diverse and inclusive profession,” says Meghana Joshi from the Board of Directors of AIA OC.  “Being a woman in architecture used to be a rarity, but luckily with support and a network, we are not just surviving, we are thriving”

Women have made great progress in this historically male-dominated profession, today constituting more than half of all students enrolled in accredited architecture programs.  Collectively, these ten women architects have worked in Orange County, Los Angeles, New York, London, Hong Kong and elsewhere.  They have designed commercial buildings, health care facilities, community facilities, retail, multi-family housing, private residences, senior and affordable housing, and have done planning, design, and historical renovation.  They have done research on Sustainable Urban Housing in China, invented an artificial intelligence-powered smart safety device, and have done large scale land planning.  They include professors at Orange Coast College, Cal Poly Pomona and USC.

When these women get together they express a contagious joy in architecture.  “What better profession than one that provides the opportunity to create livable spaces and places for people to grow, thrive and be happy.  I cherish the entire experience of planning and architecture!” said Denise Ashton, Senior Principal, Planning/Community Design at WHA Inc.   “Live, design and create communities… What a career!”

Not all of these women started their careers in architecture.  Nancy Miller, now retired, made a mid-life change to architecture after a career in teaching. Kimberley Hankins, Principal, Senior Project Architect at WHA Inc., went from poetry, art and sculpture to architecture. “The idea of taking part in a career that provides homes for people impassions me.”

The women are at different stages in their careers – Associates, Principals, and Owners.  They range from mothers busy with school-aged children up through working grandmothers and a retiree.

Several of these women followed a parent into architecture.  Some are passing on the career to their own children.  Bestey Olenick Dougherty established her own firm of Dougherty + Dougherty (now Perkins Eastman Dougherty).  Then both her son and daughter followed in her steps and became architects.  “Architecture is a rewarding career path with intrinsic rewards… we can positively impact the design future of both the built and natural environments”.

“I believe that we should all be mentors to others in our lives, including architects, students, friends and family”.  Christine Lampert, founder and principal architect of Lampert Dias Architects, practices what she preaches.  She has served on several boards in Hong Kong as well as here in California.  She teaches architecture at USC, having previously taught at Cal Poly Pomona, Orange Coast College and SCAD Hong Kong.

The evening will begin with refreshments and time to socialize, while viewing slides of the architects’ work and the Museum Wall.   The Wall is part of Meghana Joshi’s Project Amplify project, designed to amplify the contributions, achievements, voices and works of women in architecture through social media and write-ups in Wikipedia. This display celebrates twelve accomplished pioneering women in California architectural history, including Lillian Rice and Julia Morgan.  They scaled walls, shattered ceilings, and kicked open doors of opportunity for others to follow.

The presentation will follow: a panel discussion with six of the architects moderated by Rose Anne Garcia Kings, an architect and Professor of Architecture and Environmental Sustainability at Orange Coast College.


Women and the Art of Architecture

Thursday May 9 – 6:30-9:00 PM

Admission:  Free, donations accepted

Neighborhood Congregational Church

340 St Ann’s Drive

Laguna Beach CA 92651

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