Built by Women LA 2020 Accepting Submissions for Women-Led Building Projects

09/30/2019 By Adrian Thompson

The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) has just closed submissions for Built by Women Los Angeles 2020. The biennial competition recognizes the work of women architects, landscape architects, urban designers, engineers, contractors and developers in metropolitan areas.

Built by Women Accepting SubmissionsBeginning in 2014, Built by Women has helped showcase the achievements of women in the building industry who have often been overlooked. The organization’s main goal is to increase the number of women in the building professions. 

“Women architects and builders have been contributing to the built environment for decades, but very few have been recognized for their accomplishments,” says Cynthia Kracauer, AIA, executive director of the foundation. “With this competition, our goal is to not only showcase the work of these innovative women, but also to inspire more young women to enter these professions.” 

Previously, the Built for Women competition was held in New York and Washington, D.C. Kracauer says the competition has expanded geographically over the years and now sees hundreds of entries submitted from women across the country.

“One of the most important parts of our mission at BWAF is to include women in the historical record,” she notes. “We have done that through the website Dynamic National Archive of Women in Architecture; with a Webby award-winning scholarly website, Pioneering Women of American Architecture; and with the Built by Women program over the years. Each time a woman receives the recognition she deserves, she is empowered, she is seen. The programs also provide opportunities for community-building among the women with the exhibition events and sharing the experience of being part of a new canon of women in architecture.’”

The Built by Women competition recognizes women in the buildings industry for their outstanding work in design, technology, sustainability, social import, execution and projects with historical significance, in addition to other categories.
(Photo: The Built by Women competition recognizes women in the buildings industry for their outstanding work in design, technology, sustainability, social import, execution and projects with historical significance, in addition to other categories. Credit: BWAF)

Buildings submitted for the competition are selected through a juried entry process, which includes eight award-winning women architects and engineers.

Projects led by women will be recognized for exemplary achievement in design, technology, sustainability, social import, execution and projects with historical significance, in addition to other categories.

During last year’s competition, held at the 2018 AIA Conference in New York, 15,000 copies of the Built by Women Manhattan Map—a document highlighting all the winning projects—was distributed for free to all attendees.

[Related: Designer Jhane Barnes Weaves Math and Sustainability Throughout a Successful Career]

“By publicizing the work of these women, younger women see that there is a career path for them,” says Kracauer. “And by getting to know these women, younger women can seek out role models and mentors.”

For Built by Women Los Angeles, a map, exhibition and tours will be organized to feature the selected projects, which will be announced on Dec. 2 at the BWAF Industry Leaders Retreat Roundtable in Los Angles.

BWAF’s independent effort will enhance the architectural programming around the AIA National Conference in Los Angeles, May 14–16, 2020, and extend through the summer with an exhibition at the Architecture + Design Museum opening on May 14.

Read next: Beverly Willis' Legacy Rewrites Architectural History

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