Design for Equality: A Voice for Justice in Architecture Design for Equality: A Voice for Justice in Architecture
Design

Design for Equality: A Voice for Justice in Architecture

by Mia Scharphie

July 28, 2013

Four months ago, Caroline James and Arielle Assouline-Lichten, both members of Harvard's student group Women in Design, launched an online petition that quickly went viral in the design world. 

The petition asked for Denise Scott Brown's equal recognition in the 1991 Pritzker Prize, architecture’s most prestigious award. It had been given solely to her husband Robert Venturi, despite their deeply collaborative working relationship. This was not the only time the Pritzker Prize Committee refused to recognize female collaborators: Just last year, the award given to Chinese architect Wang Shu omitted his wife and collaborator Lu Wenyu.

James and Assouline-Lichten were stunned by how quickly the petition galvanized the architecture world (since late March, 18,000 people have signed). Although the Pritzker Prize denied the petition on June 14, claiming decisions of previous juries were unalterable, Women in Design's rebuttal articulated the larger set of issues raised by the petition:

We are deeply concerned that there is a systemic bias in the awarding of the Pritzker Prize, which has led in particular to the exclusion of women, and the prolonging of a myth of the lone male hero in architecture.

Sign the petition to show your public support, even though it was denied.

Custom illustration by Kate Slovin

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Design for Equality: A Voice for Justice in Architecture