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Fall 1994   No. 6

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Professor Donna W. Dunay becomes IAWA Chair

The IAWA is fortunate to have as its new chair an individual of such high caliber as Donna W. Dunay. She is an award-winning architect, a distinguished teacher, author, and community leader.

Dunay holds both a bachelor's and a master's degree in architecture from Virginia Tech, where she has dedicated twenty years to teaching architecture. A highly successful educator, Dunay advanced from assistant professor to associate professor in 1980, and became a full professor in 1994. Recognized for her efforts, Dunay received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS).

In 1991, Donna Dunay and her husband Robert Dunay, a professor of architecture and associate dean of finance and administration in CAUS, received an Award for Excellence in Architecture from the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects for their design of an addition to the Blacksburg residence of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Ludwig.

Donna Dunay is well known for her work in small town architecture, especially for the town of Blacksburg, Virginia. As a result of a commissioned study in 1983, Dunay authored the book Town Architecture: Understanding a Virginia Town. In 1992, she organized and managed the national design competition, "A Center for Civic Activity in the Town of Blacksburg.

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Parthena Award: IAWA's MILKA BLIZNAKOV is 1994 Recipient

Recently, former IAWA Chair Milka Bliznakov, Ph.D. and professor of architecture at Virginia Tech, was chosen to receive the prestigious Parthena Award for her efforts to document, collect, preserve and publish the work of women in environmental design around the world, and for founding the International Archive of Women in Architecture.

The Parthena Award was established in 1990 by the Beverly Willis Trust, and is administered by California Women in Environmental Design (CWED). The award is made annually for the amount of $1000 dollars. A distinguished architect, Beverly Willis, FAIA, practices in San Francisco and New York. The archive is housed in Special Collections in the Newman Library at Virginia Tech. The oldest drawings were made at the turn of the century. Today, the archive consists of 11 collections and many smaller contributions. Bliznakov has spent 10 years contacting notable women architects to donate their work to the collection and has published several articles on the contributions of women to the designed environment.

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Han Schröder Architect

An exhibition documenting the life and work of architect and designer, Johanna Erna Else Schröder, 1918-1992, was housed in Wallace Hall Gallery, College of Human Resources, Virginia Tech, from the tenth of January to February 11, 1994. The exhibit included original drawings and documents, photographs, and models of buildings and furniture. Han Schröder graduated from ETH in Switzerland in 1940. After working for Rietveld, she established her own practice in Amsterdam in 1954. She came to the United States in the sixties and moved into a teaching career, influencing students at Adelphi, Parsons School of Design and the New York Institute of Technology before retiring from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1988. The first architect to donate her professional archive to the IAWA, Han Schröder holds a special place in archive history. Anna Marshall-Baker, a professor in the Department of Housing, Interior Design and Resource Development curated the exhibit, and Judy Mayberry was the assistant curator. The exhibition was sponsored by the IAWA, Special Collections in Newman Library, the Department of Housing, Interior Design and Resource Management, and the College of Human Resources, Virginia Tech.

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In the Nick of Time: The Legacy of Martha Crawford

An architect's archive preserves the record of the architect's activity, and preserving this archive imparts a level of immortality to the lifelong work of the architect or her firm. The architect's realized projects may be substantially altered, covered over, disassembled, or torn down, but the architect's archive remains essentially unaltered, available for consultation, intact, and preserved for future use. There is only one problem for the architect to address before her archive is assured a place in history: she must see that it is safely deposited with an institution such as the IAWA at Virginia Tech.

Martha Crawford died this year without leaving her personal archive to the IAWA in a written will. Crawford had carefully assembled two scrapbooks which she sent to the IAWA earlier this year, and up until her death she continued to organize the remainder of her papers, paintings, and drawings with the intention of sending them from Waukesha, Wisconsin, to Blacksburg, Virginia. Had it not been for a brief letter to Milka Bliznakov from a longtime friend of Crawford in Waukesha, we would not have known of her death, nor would we have known that her personal records -- the evidence of her long and enviable career as an interior designer and decorator -- were ready for the trash collection. It took two weeks of daily telephone calls to Wisconsin for me to explain to Crawford's friends what the IAWA is and why they should send Crawford's archive to Blacksburg instead of to the landfill.

I am most happy to announce that two large bundles of her drawings, paintings, photographs, scrapbooks, and papers. Now students and researchers from all over the world have access to the documents of the career of an important figure in American retail design, and the history of women in the architectural fields is richer by the inclusion of the evidence of one more pioneer.

From 1948 until 1966 Martha Crawford worked in New York City with such firms as Eleanor Lemaire and Associates, Amos Parrish & Company, Beeston and Patterson, Welton Becket and Associates, and her own firm, Martha Crawford and Associates. She moved to Florida for two years, and then to Virginia and Washington, D.C. Around 1975, Crawford retired to Waukesha. Her long and active career included design projects for many of the major American department stores: Neiman Marcus, B. Altman & Company, Macy's, Bamberger's, Kresge, and Heironimus in Roanoke, Virginia.

She designed numerous residential interiors as well as interiors for offices, showrooms, restaurants, hotels, banks, schools, and hospitals. In addition, Martha Crawford was a writer, studied poetry, and completed at least two novels. She was also a painter, and among her papers in the IAWA collection are numerous accomplished watercolors. Martha Crawford's professional work and reputation have been preserved, but only because the IAWA found out about her death in the nick of time. For architects, making a will and remembering the IAWA in it ensures that a personal legacy, so vital to the history of women in architecture, will not be deposited in a landfill.

Stephen J. Zietz

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More than the Sum of Our Body Parts

CARY, or Chicks in Architecture Refuse to Yield to Atavistic Thinking in Design and Society, are a group originally formed as "a Chicago-based collective of women and men whose goals are to focus attention on the status-quo of women and the position of women in the field of architecture." From June 16 to July 2, 1993, an exhibit called "More than the Sum of Our Body Parts" produced by the group was shown at the Randolph Street Gallery in Chicago. The intent of the exhibit was to provocatively illustrate the many subtle ways that women architects are discriminated against in the workplace by their male colleagues. The exhibit was "composed of sculptural and multimedia vignettes, focusing on such topics as the sexual discrimination and harassment of women architects, and the glass ceiling said to be limiting the advance of women in architecture."

CARY donated a collection to the IAWA composed almost exclusively of materials created for the exhibit, including its layout, directory of members list, press releases, announcements, newsletters, articles, slides, and a videotape of the exhibit set-up and opening reception.

A frieze of a series of caryatids imposed with the faces of CARY members, and a large cut-out body of one of the CARYtids were also included.

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Two exhibits this year have used borrowed material from the Archive. Besides the Han Schröder Exhibit, Maria Welzig from the Hochschule fur angewandte Kunst in Vienna, Austria borrowed items from the IAWA's collection on Laine Zimbler to be a part of the exhibition, Austrian Modern Architects in the USA, organized by The Kunsthalle Wien for February 1995.

Beverly Willis has very generously offered support for a project to begin a database of women in architecture with emphasis placed initially on women working in architecture fields in the United States. We are pleased to report that this project has also received support from the university and look forward to establishing this information gathering system as a resource for research as well as for identifying collections.

Now even as the collection continues to grow, we realize how little we have in the Archive considering what women in architecture surely have produced. Time is rather critical in securing these works for future study.

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies offers a Ph.D. program with the IAWA as a resource. A doctoral thesis in this area would be a significant opportunity.

Donna W. Dunay, AIA

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With gratitude...

The IAWA expresses its deep gratitude to Beverly Willis for her generous donation and for her efforts to augment the archive's research agenda. Our sincere thanks to Vice-President Charles Steger for helping us obtain a matching grant from the development office of Virginia Tech. With these funds, we began to compile a data base of all women architects in the USA. The data base includes personal information (birth, schooling, teachers, family) and professional activities (location and years of practice and of design projects, partners, affiliations), and more.

We need your help! Could you please send us any information you may have such as names and addresses of architects we could contact. We greatly appreciate any assistance in this very important undertaking.

Milka Bliznakov, Ph.D.

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A Note from the Librarian

Is word about the materials in the Archive getting out to researchers around the world? With this question in mind, I did a subject search on "women architects" on the giant catalogs: the OCLC Online Union which contains over 27 million records describing materials owned by libraries around the world.

My search turned up an entry for the International Archive for Women in Architecture: A Guide to the Collections at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, compiled in 1993 by Laura Katz Smith. In addition, the search uncovered Olive Chadeayne, AIA Architect: transcript of an oral history interview with Inge Horton and Elizabeth O'Hara for the International Archive of Women in Architecture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and AIA San Francisco, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The transcript is available in Blacksburg and at Berkeley.

Thus researchers around the world are alerted to the IAWA Archive and its potential for scholarship. That potential will grow as more women donate their professional archives to the International Archive of Women in Architecture.

Annette Burr

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Board of Advisors

Donna Dunay, AIA., Chair
College of Architecture and Urban Studies
Cowgill Hall, Virginia Tech

Robert E. Stephenson, Secretary and Treasurer
Associate Professor Emeritus
Virginia Tech

Stephen J. Zeitz, Archivist
Head of Library, Special Collections
Newman Library, Virginia Tech


Milka Bliznakov, Professor
College of Architecture and Urban Studies
Cowgill Hall, Virginia Tech

Annette Burr, Head Librarian
Art and Architecture Library
Cowgill Hall, Virginia Tech

Joanne Eustis, University Librarian
Newman Library, Virginia Tech

Blanche Lemco van Ginkel
MCP, FRAIA, CIP, RCA, Professor Emeritus
University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada

Solange d'Herbez de la Tour
Hon. FAIA, DFAB, DFEB, President
L'Union Internationale des Femmes Architectes
Paris, France

Arlene Hopkins, AIA, Architect
Santa Monica, CAlifornia, U.S.A.

Inge S. Horton, Dipl. Ing., MCP
City Planner
San Francisco, California

M. Rosaria Piomellie, AIA
Professor of Architecture
City College
New York, New York

Dipl.-Ing. Helga Schmidt-Thomsen
Berlin, Germany

Charles W. Steger, FAIA
Vice President for Development and University
Burruss Hall, Virginia Tech

Susan Torre
Dept. of Architecture and Environmental Design
Parsons School of Design
New York, New York, U.S.A.

Tony P. Wrenn
American Institute of Architects
Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Chair, Board of Advisors
Donna Dunay

Copy and Layout Editor
Julie Kane

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IAWA Newsletter is published by the International Archive of Women in Architecture. Requests to reproduce material in the newsletter, reader comments, and contributions should be addressed to IAWA Newsletter, University Libraries Special Collections Department, P.O. Box 90001, Blacksburg, Virginia 24062-9001, U.S.A. © 1994

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Last modified on: Wednesday, 17-Oct-2007 14:41:40 EDT by Mark B. Gerus