Architecture is demanding for anyone, but women face added challenges

Female architects at the top of their game on the challenges and future of the profession
From left, architects Heather Dubbeldam, Camille Mitchell, Brigitte Shim and Megan Torza / © RAINA+WILSON

Alex Bozikovic asks designers at the top of their game about opportunities for growth in the profession

The site supervisor wasn’t sure if he should invite the lady to the Christmas party. This was the late 1970s, during the construction of a federal building outside Edmonton. The lady was Vivian Manasc, then a twentysomething architect and often the only woman working on the project.

The party had “girls serving drinks who were not heavily dressed,” Manasc says. “There was definitely a Playboy feel to it.” In the end, the builders threw a second party, “to which wives and daughters and ladies were invited,” Manasc, now a principal at her own firm, Manasc Isaac, says. But the bunnies kept hopping.

That was nearly 40 years ago; such institutional sexism wouldn’t be tolerated on a building site today. Yet other things haven’t changed much in that time. While Canadian architecture has some women among its leading lights, including Patricia Patkau of Patkau Architects and Brigitte Shim of Shim-Sutcliffe, the profession remains overwhelmingly male.

According to Annmarie Adams, a McGill professor and co-author of the study Designing Women: Gender and the Architectural Profession, approximately 20 per cent of Canada’s registered architects are women. At the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, a national organization, just 1,138 of its 4,860 members, about 23 per cent, are women.[…]

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
TITLE | Founder of Architecture Lab
About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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