Petition the AIA to Award the Gold Medal to a Woman
When was the last time the American Institute of Architects (AIA) awarded their highest honor, the Gold Medal, to a woman? NEVER. With all the hype surrounding the Pritzker Prize, it is about time time we turn our focus home and ask the AIA why, unlike the Pritzker Prize, they have never given the honor to a single female architect?
Women are not minorities in America. Since 1871, 142 years ago, women have been getting educated and working in the profession of architecture making significant contributions that have influenced the theory and practice of architecture, yet their work has not been celebrated, promoted, nor rewarded properly. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has awarded the Gold Medal, the highest honor of the Institute, 69 times, always to a male architect. This is unacceptable. The AIA should immediately start recognizing and promoting the work of women architects. Female architects have made incredible contributions to the profession, over 1,000 joined the AIA before 1980, and many more in the 33 years since, yet the AIA has continued to award the Gold Medal only to male architects. A short list of American women architects deserving of greater recognition includes Louise Bethune, Marion Mahony Griffin, Natalie DeBlois, Marion Manley, Lutah Maria Riggs, Eleanor Raymond, Lois Howe, Mary Colter, Denise Scott Brown, and Julia Morgan. These women, and many more have changed how we see the world, and their work deserves the same kind of recognition as their peers. They all deserve to be recognized, not for their gender, but for the quality of their work. It is time to award the Gold Medal to some female Architects.