BFM Podcast 22 Nov 2011 Lynda Simmons InterviewBack
When Architecture+Women•NZ was initially launched in 2011, BFM's Ready Steady Learn interviewed co-founder and Co-Chair Lynda Simmons.
The interview can be heard on this podcast: 22 Nov 2011
'Lynda Simmons is a practicing architect and Masters student in the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture and Planning. She speaks to Charlotte about her role as one of the co-founders of a new website, Architecture + Women (www.architecturewomen.org.nz).
What happens to New Zealand’s women architects after they graduate? This is the central question behind the launch of a new website, Architecture + Women (www.architecturewomen.org.nz).
The website seeks to capture the Who, When, Where and How of this country’s women architecture graduates. It has been founded by University of Auckland architecture alumna Sarah Treadwell, who heads the School of Architecture and Planning; along with Lynda Simmons, a registered architect earning her Masters of Architecture at the University; registered architect Megan Rule and Julie Wilson, a practising graduate of architecture.
The information gathered will become part of an “Architecture + Women” exhibition in 2013, a show that will mark the 80th anniversary of NZ’s first female architecture graduate, as well as 120 years of this country’s suffrage movement.
Perhaps even more importantly, the website will serve as a database for female architecture graduates in New Zealand and abroad, increasing opportunities for professional networking, mentoring and publication opportunities.
The idea for the website was born in early 2011, from a conversation between Lynda Simmons and Julie Wilson- who at the time was a mother of three children under five-years and who was concerned that she would never be able to get registered.
“It occurred to me that this is how women architects get lost—the registration process just didn’t account for women trying to juggle running a practice, having babies, paying annual fees and keeping up with registration requirements,” says Lynda, who notes that voluntary suspension is now an option for registered architects. “We needed a way to find each other and increase our visibility as female architects and graduates of architecture.”
The website has been developed thanks to support from The University of Auckland, the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) and the Block Foundation. While the immediate goal is to build a database from which to create the Architecture + Women exhibition (which will be mounted during Auckland Architecture Week 2013), the longer-term objective is to create what Lynda describes as an “umbrella structure” that is owned by all the contributors and works “organically” to promote employment, publication and research.
Dr Sarah Treadwell says there is a general sense of “invisibility” around female architecture graduates— despite their prominence in tertiary education.'