Decades of Women Architects

International Women's Day 2019

Decades of Women Architects at LSA

The 7th of March saw the Liverpool School of Architecture community come together to hear from a panel of all-female LSA alumni who had graduated from LSA between 1949 to 2015, including one of our Directors – Sarah Harrison*.  In conjunction with International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, the panel sought to share stories of their experiences studying at Liverpool and working in the industry, with a focus on their career development and how they have approached any challenges that come with being a (female) architect.

LSA has had female architects since its early days, with one of the earliest being Frances Thelma Silcock who was awarded the prestigious RIBA Silver Medal in 1925. Since then, there have been many generations of female architects who have graduated from the school which today has a 50:50 student ratio, yet their achievements have arguably remained relatively invisible. This event allowed for these women to share their vast experience working in the architectural industry, which spanned decades, country borders, and specialisations.

Sarah spoke about her time at Liverpool, her career so far in the North West, and how she aims to combat the issues regarding gender inequality in the architectural industry through Harrison Stringfellow, a female-led practice recognised by the RIBA as a Role Model Practice.

Despite strong progress in the ratios of intake, taking career breaks for caring responsibilities still impacts on the goals of a 50:50 representation in practice and at leadership level. Tackling gender balance and minority representation both in architecture, but also across the construction industry, is one of our key principles of practice. We look forward to expanding on this, and discussing a feminist approach to design next month at the Manchester School of Architecture where Su and Sarah will be guest tutoring 6th year students in the Praxxis studio atelier.

*The panel also included the following alumni: Joy Hockey (BArch Hons 1949), Louise Sheridan (BA 1992-1994, BArch 1996-1998), Charlotte Wilson (BArch 1995), Mona Devereau (MBA 2008), Jade Meeks (BA Hons 2015 and MArch 2015).

Drawing by Frances Thelma Silcock, Liverpool alumni and recipient of the RIBA Silver Medal