M. Rosaria Piomelli (born Agrisano) was born in Naples,
Italy, on October 24, 1937. She was educated at the Instituto d'Arte
(1954, Bachelor of Arts) and Accedemia d'Arte (Master of Arts, 1955) of
Naples, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1960, Bachelor of
Architecture). Through the 1960s and 1970s she worked at various architects offices in Italy, New York, and the Netherlands, including I. M. Pei and Partners from 1971 to 1974 as a project architect. In 1974 she opened her own office in New York City.
From 1971 to 1976 Piomelli taught at the City College of New
York School of Architecture as Adjunct Associate Professor, and from
1974 to 1979 taught at the Pratt Institute, where she served as Chair of
the Faculty from 1976 to 1979. In 1979 she returned to CCNY as a
Distinguished Professor, and was appointed Dean of the CCNY School of Architecture in 1980, becoming the first woman to hold a deanship of any school of architecture in the United States. She served in this position until 1983. In 1984 she was Visiting Distinguished Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and from 1985 to the present she has had the position of full Professor at CCNY.
Piomelli has spent much of her career promoting the work of
women in architecture. In 1974, as director the Equal Opportunity
Committee for the American Institute of Architects, she organized an
exhibit of women architects' work. This exhibit generated a great
amount of interest in the standing of women in the profession. She served as a member of the Board of Advisors for the International Archive of Women in Architecture from 1985 to 1995.
Piomelli earned her professional licensure when she became a
registered architect of New York State in 1969. She became a member of
the American Institute of Architects in 1970 and served on various AIA
committees throughout the 1970s, including Commisioner of the Schools of
Architecture Committee of the New York City chapter from 1977 to 1979, and Director of the New York City Executive Committee from 1977 to 1979.
Publications by Piomelli include "Canary Wharf: London in the
Third Millenium" in the March 1991 issue of Zodiac and as
translator (from English to Italian) for Jan Gehl's Vitta in
Citta (1992). Publications about Piomelli include information
about her work in Susana Torre's Women in American Architecture (1977)
and Insegnare L'Architettura, by M. Vegeto (1994).
Scope and Content:
The papers consist of architectural drawings, correspondence,
photographs, newspaper clippings, and files that chonicle the life and
career of architect M. Rosaria Piomelli. The materials particularly
focus on her architectural projects, mostly in the New York City area,
and her tenure as head of the School of Architecture at the City College of New York from 1980 to 1983. Some of the literature and correspondence is in Italian.
The papers were donated to the International Archive of Women
in Architecture in April 1995 by Ms. Piomelli.