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Robert A.M. Stern on Women in Architecture
Robert Stern, the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, is an American author, architect, and preservationist. Stern's buildings have something of a throwback style, and he draws inspiration from early American to late Deco.
Stern received degrees from both Columbia University and Yale University, where he graduated from the School of Architecture in 1965. After finishing Yale, Stern worked for Richard Meier before founding his own firm, Robert A. M. Stern Architects, in 1977. His firm, now 300 strong, is responsible for projects around the world, including the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the Disney Feature Animation Building, in Burbank, California, and the future George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Stern, who has taught at Yale and Columbia, was appointed Dean of the Yale School of Architecture in 1998. Among other books, he is the author of New York 1880, New York 1960, and New York 2000, a series that documents the history and evolution of New York City's architecture.
Question: Why are there so few women architects?
Stern: Oh my god I’m gonna. . This is a complicated . . . Architecture schools are . . . like Yale have basically 50/50. Maybe fewer women than men, but not many. And that’s been true of architecture school since I began to teach pretty much. It was definitely not true when I went to architecture school, which was a boy’s club for sure. But women come to the critical points in their career when they embark upon motherhood. And architecture is a totally time consuming – disproportionate to any amount of any amount of money any architect is paid – business. Plus the global reach of architecture today demanding unbelievable amounts of travel – national and international travel – has added to the complication. And so women find it harder. They get torn between their desire to have a family and be with their family and pursue their profession. And I think that’s really the reason that, in the long run, women are not seen where they should be at the top of the profession. Because certainly in terms of their talents and their professional skills, there’s no difference between men and women.
Recorded on: 12/5/07
Women, Stern says, are often pulled away by the desire to have a family.
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