International Women’s Day 2019: Finnish Architects Discuss Mentorship in Design


On occasion of International Women’s Day, ARCHITECTA and VOW hosted Mentorship in Design, a panel discussion with Finnish Architects at Oodi Central Library in Helsinki, Finland.

Moderated by Architect Marco Steinberg and Caroline James, Associate AIA, participants included six women who are firm leaders, project managers, academics, and senior urban planners in both governmental agencies and private companies: Pirkko-Liisa Schulman, Chair of Architecta (2015-2017), Freja Ståhlberg-Aalto of JKMM Architects, Anu Pustinen of Avanto Architects, Ulla Kuitunen of Sitowise, Miia-Liina Tommila of Tommila Architects and Kaleidoscope and Kirsti Sivén of Sivén & Takala. The object of the panel was to discuss Mentorship in Design in the context of Finland: What… Mitä se tarkoittaa? How… Miten? Why…   Miksi? What’s Next…Mitä seuraavaksi? 

Some discoveries included that mentorship is often informal, casual,”lucky”. For some, it’s about “that first door opening.” For others, mentorship has been all about communication–the ability to give and receive feedback. Mentorship is often the essential topping up of skills rarely taught in the schools such as business development. One panelist noted needing to learn many things “by jumping in water and learning to swim.” As someone who has had a strong mentor since graduating from Harvard GSD, I have tapped into her expertise and wisdom for everything from running a business to how to interact with consultants and contractors. 

Screenshot 2019-03-13 09.41.04


An interesting thread discussed is how interrelated mentorship is to collaboration and teamwork. Many have noted students are rarely given opportunities to work in teams and develop these skills in Architecture school. Or if they’re in teams, often they are graded individually, which defeats the idea of teamwork as it becomes an issue of “who did what” “who did more” etc.

Architecture would be more effective, more profitable and more inclusive if mentorship were a more rigorously defined and implemented part of our training, profession and discipline. Steinberg briefly described the organizational consulting he is doing, and how forward-thinking companies and institutions are crafting psychologically “safe”  environments to learn and work in . Another Panelist noted that in their workplace, there are “no stupid questions.” These are all steps in the right direction. 

OOdi Mentorship in Design 7

Mentorship is critical, both at the schools, and in the profession. It’s the difference between knowledge sharing, development. As next steps, we will be learning more about organizations such as SAFA’s efforts to build out a mentorship program in Finland. It would be interesting to learn how different regions and professional bodies are developing these programs. 

Hosted by Architecta and VOW Architects. Thank you to Oodi Kirjasto for hosting us!

Recognize Doriana Fuksas as Equal Partner

It’s unfortunate that INARCH did not include Doriana Fuksas as equal partner in their Lifetime Achievement Award.


Architects Louise Braverman, Caroline James and Francesca Perani on behalf of Italian activists RebelArchitette and VOW Architects, are launching a petition to request the inclusion of Doriana Fuksas, a recognized partner and Director of the Studio Fuksas, as an equal recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award given to Massimiliano Fuksas by INARCH Istituto Nazionale di Architettura based in Rome, Italy.

More than 80 supporters have already signed the attached letter on the first day of its launch, including Massimiliano Fuksas, Denise Scott Brown, Rem Koolhaas, Paola Antonelli, Beatriz Colomina, Gisue Hariri, Toshiko Mori and Bjarke Ingels. This outpouring of support reflects the need for change in our profession. Women are a majority in the world and increasingly present in Architecture, however do not receive equal recognition.


DSCF9095foto martabrembilaWEB
Doriana Fuksas attends Voices of Women (VOW) Architects Flash Mob at the 2018 Architecture Venice Biennale. Massimiliano attends in support and solidarity.

Considering that the time is ripe for equal representation of male and female professionals for both seasoned professionals and those just entering the field, RebelArchitette recently launched the campaign #timefor50 (time for equality) with the aim to raise the level of awareness in both the public and private realm to consider inclusion in the promotion of events related to architecture.



The team’s self-published book Architette=Women Architects 1⁄2 Here We Are!”, freely available for online viewing, was offered as a tool for this purpose. Three-hundred and sixty-five exceptional women architects from all over the world are listed as potential participants for events. These women are role models for the new and not-so-new generations. Read by over 7000 international users worldwide, the book had especially high readership from Italy, United States, India, United Kingdom and Australia.

RebelArchitette and VOW Architects ask that everyone add their names to the letter, joining the other enlightened professionals who understand the need for this vital change.



Flash Mob

AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 NYC

Friday June 22, 12:30 PM

Javits Center-Crystal Palace at corner of 34th St and 11th Ave

Assemble by the AIANY Member’s Lounge under the New York Design banner.

Bring a fan to show solidarity and because it’s hot.

Free and open to the general public. 

Speakers include:

Beverly Willis, FAIA, A.L. Hu, Caroline James, Pascale Sablan, AIA, Rosa Sheng, FAIA (2018)






on the press



MANIFESTO VOW Voices of Women

video courtesy by Melissa Bright – MAKE architecture



We as Voices of Women are building conversations and taking actions to raise awareness to combat pervasive prejudices and disrespectful behavior that appears to be systemic in our culture and discipline. We are united in denouncing discrimination, harassment and agressions against any member of our community. We will not tolerate it. We will not stand silent.

Women are not a minority in the world but women are still a minority in the architecture’s field and we want that it could reflect better the world in which we live.

The Venice Biennale 2018 FREE SPACE is a crucial moment of awakening to promote equitable and respectful treatment of all members of the architectural community irrespective of gender, race, nationality, sexuality and religion. We will join hands with co-workers, students, clients, collaborators, and our male colleagues to create a new path forward toward equitable work and educational environments that promote respectful discourse and open exchange of ideas.

Be a fan of Voices of Women. Make a Vow to uphold fairness, transparency, and collaboration in Architecture NOW.


Nous, Voices of Women, engageons un débat et des actions afin de faire prendre conscience de la nécessité de combattre les préjugés et les comportements non respectueux qui envahissent systématiquement notre culture et notre discipline. Nous sommes unies pour dénoncer la discrimination, le harcèlement et les agressions contre les membres de notre communauté. Nous ne le tolèrerons plus. Nous ne resterons pas silencieuses.

Les femmes ne sont pas une minorité dans le monde mais les femmes dans l’architecture sont toujours une minorité et nous voulons que le monde de l’architecture soit un meilleur reflet du monde dans lequel nous vivons.

La Biennale de Venise 2018 FREE SPACE est un moment opportun pour nous réveiller afin de promouvoir un traitement équitable et respectueux pour tous dans l’architecture indépendamment du genre, de la race, de la nationalité, de la sexualité et de la religion. Nous nous joignons avec nos partenaires, les étudiants, les clients, les collaborateurs et nos collègues masculins afin de créer une voie nouvelle vers un environnement équitable de travail et d’enseignement afin de promouvoir des discours respectueux et des échanges d’idées ouverts.

Supportez Voices for women. Faites un voeu afin de défendre la justice, la transparence et la collaboration en Architecture MAINTENANT.


Noi Voices of Women costruiamo dialoghi e promuoviamo azioni per sviluppare la consapevolezza necessaria a combattere i pregiudizi diffusi e il comportamento irrispettoso che sembra essere sistemico

nella nostra cultura e disciplina. Siamo unite nel denunciare discriminazioni, molestie e aggressioni contro qualsiasi membro della nostra comunità. Non lo tollereremo. Non rimarremo in silenzio.

Le donne non sono una minoranza nel mondo, ma le donne sono ancora una minoranza nel campo dell’architettura e vogliamo che il mondo in cui viviamo venga riflesso meglio in questa professione.

La Biennale di Venezia 2018 FREE SPACE è un momento cruciale per prendere coscienza e promuovere un trattamento equo e rispettoso di tutti i membri del mondo dell’architettura, indipendentemente dal genere, dalla razza, dalla nazionalità, dall’orientamento sessuale e dalla religione.

Ci uniremo a colleghe, colleghi, studentesse, studenti, clienti, collaboratrici, collaboratori, per creare un nuovo percorso verso ambienti professionali ed educativi che promuovano un confronto rispettoso e uno scambio aperto di idee.

Diventa un fan di Voices of Women. Fai una promessa per sostenere l’equità, la trasparenza e la collaborazione nell’Architettura OGGI.


Flash Mob Call


in English / 

Dear all friends,
We are a group of international women (diverse in terms of age, background and professional roles) who have decided to gather on Friday May 25th 2018 at 11:00 am on the stairs of the Central Pavilion in the Giardini for a FLASH MOB to stand, read a statement about Women in Architecture as women in other fields have already done, because it is important to raise consciousness in our field…

You will be in Venice as you are exhibited or because you are coming to visit. We propose that you come on Friday and join us. We need to be as maximum a number as possible. Please take a FAN with you as a sign, and also because of the hot weather.

We would appreciate for those who agree to come if you could confirm so we can keep count.

Hope to see you soon.


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