This year, the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) Center invited researchers and practitioners to expand the recognized range of practices. The Center also encouraged individual women in architecture to uncover the diversity of singular contributions made by women in the profession and related disciplines — highlighting the impact that certain individual instances, efforts, or artifacts have had upon the architectural discipline. Now, the IAWA Center invites you to the 2021 IAWA Symposium on March 23-26, 2021. Register online.

As the IAWA Center welcomes presenters from around the globe, we are eager to learn the important impact the women in architecture and the related design fields have made to these fields.

The 2021 IAWA Symposium seeks to identify singular instances that reveal the architect’s insight, which — though personal to her — have left an important imprint in architecture and design. Papers were invited that looked deeply into a particular instance or artifact that casts a woman as a pioneer, and contextualized rise and impact to delve deeply into singular pieces made by known women pioneers in architecture to bring new analysis of known pieces, or discussions of newly discovered pieces. Singular artifacts that might have defined a pioneering moment but have not yet been acknowledged by history were also sought along with work that discovers the artifact which has not yet been made visible and speculates on its potential and value, casting a woman architect in a new light as a pioneer in the field. Overall, the symposium sought papers that are speculative, musing on possible connections, influences, or alternative unfoldings of history.

The IAWA in collecting the evidence of the works of women in architecture and the related design fields  – sketches, manuscripts, books, individual projects, and the works of an entire career – fills serious gaps in the availability of primary research materials for architectural, women’s and social history research. These materials are held in Special Collections of the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. The Board of Advisors of the IAWA Center, with elected representatives from around the world, oversees the research, publication, and publicity of the IAWA, as well as identify potential donors (funds and work) for the archive.

About the author: Donna Dunay, FAIA, is G.T. Ward Professor of Architecture at Virginia Tech School of Architecture and Design