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‘Pioneering Women’ celebrates 50 architects and designers of the early 20th century

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The practitioners were all born before 1940

Portrait of a smiling older white woman in an office.
Ray Kaiser Eames made contributions to the fields of furniture, textile, architecture, and filmmaking.
Photos courtesy of Pioneering Women

The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation has launched a website celebrating 50 women who have made significant contributions to the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professions between 1880 and 1980.

Marion Mahony Griffin was an international architect who often collaborated with Frank Lloyd Wright.

Called “Pioneering Women of American Architecture,” the project presents a collection of profiles of architects, designers, critics, curators, and policymakers working in the built environment—including names like Ada Louise Huxtable, Ray Kaiser Eames, and Marion Mahony Griffin—all born before 1940, a time when women struggled to enter the profession and be recognized for their work.

Although the practitioners may not be household names, their work stands out not just for the range of styles their collective portfolios encompass, but also their scope, covering the gamut from urban planning and institutional buildings to interiors and furniture. Many of them were ahead of their time, too, designing utopian communities, tenement housing, “rational” kitchens, built-in storage, and solar homes.

Founded in 2012 by Wanda Bubriski and Beverly Willis and edited by co-directors Mary McLeod and Victoria Rosner, the site is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and serves as a special collection within the Dynamic National Archive of Women in Architecture. To learn more about the pioneering women, head to the website.

Ada Louise Huxtable was the first architecture critic at the New York Times.