graphics by Ursina Voellm and Martina Walthert / Voellm Walthert

Voices of Women (V( )W) is to take a vow that we will not tolerate disrespect of women, people of color, and any other protected class in Architecture.


Coincident with Harvey Weinstein’s #TimesUp arrest, women architects gathered in solidarity at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture to make a collective vow to pursue equity, recognition, fairness and inclusion of  women, people of color, and other marginalized voices in architecture and design. Voices of Women — VOW for short, refers to a series of events and discussions under an umbrella of the pursuit of justness and respect.

 2018 is significant for Architecture and for women in the world: It’s the first time that women are curating a Biennale without a male partner. Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, founding Principals of Grafton Architects have crafted FREE SPACE to include broad participation from diverse practitioners.

VOW 2018 is conceptual extension of Voices from Venice: Global Dialogues with Women who Practice Architecture – video interviews with Caroline Bos, Louise Braverman, Odile Decq, Yasmin Shariff and Bennedetta Tagliabue, moderated by Caroline James at the 2014 Architecture Biennale.


VOW draws strength from different contexts to join an international wave of coordinated efforts will continue to host structured conversations to foster collaborative dialogue between diverse institutions and experience levels, starting with:



Friday May 25, 2018, 11:00 am
Place: Giardini, Main Promenade
Description: March: Women in Architecture

VOW 2018 kicked off with a FLASH MOB on the morning of Friday May 25th. A crowd of 200+ supporters congregated at the entrance to the Giardini with fans to demonstrate support. Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize Martha Thorne read the VOW Manifesto, with Odile Decq and Farshid Moussavi standing shoulder-to-shoulder in unity. Participants include: Atxu Amman, Caroline Bos, Louise Braverman, Caroline James, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, Toshiko Mori, Benedetta Tagliabue, Francesca Perani.

Supporters include: Francine Houben, Alya Bengana, Melissa Bright, Alison Brooks, Clare Cousins, Doriana Fuksas, Gabu Heindl, Anna Heringer , Anna Torriani, and Marion Weiss. The mixing and mingling during FLASH MOB captures the essence of the Biennale as a space to be at the intersection of various trade winds of Global Architecture

flash mob ph rebelarchitette palumbo
Venice Biennale VOW flash mob – photo rebelarchitette palumbo


VOW Collateral Events
Friday May 25, 2018, 3:00-4:30 pm
Place: Arsenale Exhibition Hall
Description: Panel Discussion

= #TimesUp Gender and Equity Discussion between multi-generational professionals at Benedetta Tagliabue/EMBT Architects exhibition space, Arsenale.

= VOW Activism in the Academy

Students discussed the culture and experience in Architecture School. They spoke about the challenges faced and the vitality of advocacy and activism. Students shared approaches on how institutions are moving forward in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Panel Participants

Dorothee Hahn, Master Studies in Architecture, ETH Zurich

Khensani de Klerk, B.Arch, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Post-graduate at ETH Zurich

Caroline James, MArch I, Harvard GSD 2014 (coordinator)

Lindsey Krug, MArch I candidate, Harvard GSD 2019

Sol Perez-Martínez, Architect, MArch, MAah, PhD candidate, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

Mena Wasti, MArch I and MLA candidate, Harvard GSD 2019

Patricia Semmler, MArch I, Harvard GSD 2015 (moderator)

3/VOW Projects

= “The Only One”: Interviews with Women Architects.

Swiss architect and EPFL/Harvard GSD graduate Patricia Semmler is Executive Producer of “The Only One”. Caroline James and Marcus Mello (Harvard GSD MUP/MArch ’18) are assisting in post-production and interviews.

=ZAHA Silent Auction

We wish that Zaha were with us during this historic moment of #TimesUp, #MeToo, #WeToo. We have asked artists, architects and others to give something that is precious and easy to give, accompanied by a love letter, and objects will be auctioned off to benefit a VOW Fund to support Businesses of women, people of color, and other marginalized voices in architecture and design.


Objects include:

  • Iwan Baan photo of Zaha’s Dress
  • Petra Blaisse/INSIDE OUTSIDE “Zaha Kussen”
  • Vijay Iyer concert tickets
  • Film screening and DVD of UNFINISHED SPACES by Director Alysa Nahmias 

To make a bid on an object, visit the Auction Site

To donate an object or ask a question, please email vowarchitects@gmail.com


Steering Committee: 

Atxu Amann, Founding Principal at Amann Canovas Maruri, Spanish Pavilion Venice Biennale 2018 Curator
Caroline Bos, Founding Principal at UN Studio, Amsterdam
Louise Braverman, Founding Principal at Louise Braverman Architect, NYC
Odile Decq, Founding Principle, Studio Odile Decq, Paris. Founder of Confluence Institute, Lyon, France
Caroline James, M.Arch Harvard GSD 2014, Women in Design Chair 2013-2014, Architectural Designer, Schwartz/Silver Architects, Boston, MA
Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, ETH Zurich Professor in Architecture, Organizer of ETH Parity Talks.
Toshiko Mori, Founding Principal, Toshiko Mori Architect, Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Member of World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Design
Farshid Moussavi, Founding Principal at Farshid Moussavi Architecture, London
Francesca Perani, Founding Principal, FP Enterprise, and Co-organizer RebelArchitette, Bergamo, Italy
Benedetta Tagliabue, Founding Principal at EMBT Architects, Barcelona
Martha Thorne, Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize, Dean at IE School of Architecture and Design in Madrid

photo rebelarchitette palumbo web
top left Martha Thorne Odile Decq Caroline Bos, Benedetta Tagliabue, Louise Braverman, Alysa Nahmias, Sol Perez-Martínez down left Farshid Moussavi , Toshiko Mori, Atxu Amann, Caroline James , Francesca Perani , Patricia Semmler Charlotte Malterre-Barthes



Website: www.vowarchitects.com
Caroline James
caroline.amory@gmail.com, +1 617 595-0974 (Boston, US—EDT)

Francesca Peranime@francescaperani.com, +39 339 468 4956 (Bergamo, IT—GMT+2)

General email: vowarchitects@gmail.com


Arielle Assouline-Lichten/Slash Projects for digital, graphic, and moral support.

-Bartlett School of Architecture for support of one (1) student to attend the Venice Biennale.

Harvard Graduate School of Design for support of three (3) students to attend the Venice Biennale.

Charlotte Malterre-Barthe for connecting VOW to graphic design support and student activists.

Alysa Nahmias, Anja Films, for Communications and Film Industry cross-referencing.

Amaechi Ndili, Lionstone Group, for support of two (2) students from ETH Zurich.

RebelArchitette, Italian Digital Activists, for the Photo and Video documentation.

Ursina Voellm and Martina Walthert of Voellm Walthert for graphic design and VOW’s “fan” logo.

Image credits: RebelArchitette / Palumbo / Brambilla


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