12 episodes

Beverly Willis is adding her voice to a new podcast featuring discussions about the lives and careers of female pioneers of American Architecture. Going beyond the scholarship of the award-winning website Pioneering Women of American Architecture, our podcast New Angle: Voice details the struggles and triumphs of six leading women who have personified achievement in a primarily male dominated field.

New Angle: Voice Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 153 Ratings

Beverly Willis is adding her voice to a new podcast featuring discussions about the lives and careers of female pioneers of American Architecture. Going beyond the scholarship of the award-winning website Pioneering Women of American Architecture, our podcast New Angle: Voice details the struggles and triumphs of six leading women who have personified achievement in a primarily male dominated field.

    Laying the Groundwork: Women in American Architecture, Spring 1977

    Laying the Groundwork: Women in American Architecture, Spring 1977

    That was some party. Even though I didn’t make it to the splashy opening, I did attend the transformational exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, our subject in this episode. A rarely used sculpture gallery was filled with ranks and files of cheap drafting tables, their tops tilted to display what seemed to be pages out of the book, one spread to a table. It overwhelmed with information—but seemed void of the chatter of us working women.  
    Welcome to New Angle Voice, I’m your host, Cynthia Kracauer.  In this episode, we revisit the first significant effort to publicly tell the under-told stories of American women in architecture: “Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective.” On view at the Brooklyn Museum from February-April of 1977, the groundbreaking exhibition and simultaneous book, curated and edited by Susana Torre, clearly defined the state of play for women in the architecture profession. Alienated by the profound hostility expressed by the AIA, women architects found an accepting cohort at the Architectural League of New York. We organized. We canvassed. We raised our consciousnesses. The project team identified subjects so previously obscured as to be unknown, and then with the energy and drive of a furious mob, they broke through and laid the groundwork for scholarship, social change, and recognition of women architects for the next fifty years. Get your consciousness raised: listen to our voices. Here’s “Laying the Groundwork: Women in American Architecture, Spring 1977.”
     
    Special thanks in this episode to Susana Torre, Andrea Merrett, Suzanne Stephens, Cynthia Rock, Deborah Nevins, and Robert AM Stern.
    This podcast is produced by Brandi Howell, with editorial advising from Alexandra Lange. Thanks also to production assistants Virginia Eskridge and Aislinn McNamara.
    New Angle Voice is brought to you by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. Funding for this podcast comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Graham Foundation.
    We are beginning our third season, and hope that if you have followed our progress, that you will want to continue to support our ongoing efforts to tell women’s stories of challenge, struggle and success. Visit our website to make a contribution. www.bwaf.org.
     

    • 25 min
    Beyond Architecture: The Fantasy Worlds of Phyllis Birkby

    Beyond Architecture: The Fantasy Worlds of Phyllis Birkby

    We continue our throw-back to the seventies, and take a deeper dive into the many facets of the women’s movement that impacted the practice of architecture. 
    Pushed to the side and rarely credited for her architectural work at Davis Brody,  Phyllis Birkby became a significant figure in extending the lesbian women's movement to architecture during the 1970s. Her environmental fantasy workshops played a crucial role in galvanizing the community, providing a creative and empowering space within a male-dominated profession. 
    Growing out of other consciousness raising techniques, freed up in her classes, Phyllis released the rigor of her conventional training to get down on the floor,  and lead the group in sketching their fantasies however outlandish on giant rolls of butcher paper.  She encouraged the women to imagine architecture above, below, and beyond the norm. 
    Birkby's work not only contributed to architectural discourse but also fostered a sense of collective identity among lesbian architects, highlighting the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, and professional identity in the field. In her later years, she focused on architecture for people marginalized in other ways – by addiction, by age, and by disability, again imagining spaces of community and support.
    Welcome to Beyond Architecture: The Fantasy Worlds of Phyllis Birkby
     
    Special thanks in this episode to Stephen Vider, MC Overholt, Gabrielle Esperdy, Matthew Wagstaffe, Leslie Kanes Weisman and the Smith College Special Collections.  
    This podcast is produced by Brandi Howell, with editorial advising from Alexandra Lange. 
    New Angle Voice is brought to you by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.  Funding for this podcast comes from the New York State Council on the Arts.
     

    • 45 min
    Ray Eames: Beauty in the Everyday

    Ray Eames: Beauty in the Everyday

    New Angle: Voice is back! We kick off Season Two with Ray Kaiser Eames. Many know Ray Eames as the small, dirndled woman behind her more famous husband. In this episode, we uncover the talented artist who saw the world full of color, the industrial designer bending plywood in the spare bedroom, and the visionary who treated folk art, cigarette wrappers, flowers, and toys as equally valuable and inspiring. Ray brought the sparkle to the legendary Eames Office, as you’ll discover in this episode “Beauty in the Everyday: The Life and Work of Ray Eames.”
    Special thanks in this episode to Pat Kirkham, Lucia Dewey Atwood, Llisa Demetrios, Jeannine Oppewall, Donald Albrecht, Meg McAleer and Tracey Barton at the Library of Congress, and Alexandra Lange. 
    This podcast is produced by Brandi Howell, with editorial advising from Alexandra Lange.   Thanks also to Virginia Eskridge, and Amy Auscherman, Director of Archives and Brand Heritage for MillerKnoll.  The archival audio heard in this episode comes from the MillerKnoll archives and the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.  Intro music composed by Emma Jackson.  
    New Angle Voice is brought to you by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.  Funding for this podcast comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation, and MillerKnoll.
     

    • 39 min
    The Art We Must Live With: Ada Louise Huxtable and Architecture Criticism

    The Art We Must Live With: Ada Louise Huxtable and Architecture Criticism

    Anyone who writes about American architecture of the mid twentieth
    and early 21 st century measures their critical achievement with the
    yardstick drawn by Ada Louise Huxtable. With countless articles for
    two great daily newspapers, this petite New Yorker had a gigantic
    influence on our understanding of the work of architects, real estate
    developers, city bureaucrats, and the city itself, over the course of six
    decades in print.

    General readers are quite accustomed to having their choices in books,
    films, dance, opera, drama, TV, and music directed and influenced by
    critics opinions. We find our favorite interpreters, trust their
    judgements, buy books or tickets. But in the concrete jungle of the city,
    we are captives, we have no choice to ignore what is built by others to
    house us, for our work places, our transit systems, our public realm. The
    ubiquity of mediocre architecture dulls the senses, and yet, when
    architecture achieves greatness it can exalt the human spirit. Ada Louise
    Huxtable set out to separate the dull from the great. A few architects
    tried to argue with her. They never won.

    With her impeccable civic values, cultivated aesthetic sensibility and
    lacerating accuracy she praised and razed. Listen now to The Art We Must Live With: Ada Louise Huxtable and Architecture Criticism.
     
    Special thanks in this episode to the generous architectural critics:  Alexandra Lange, Cathleen McGuigan, Christopher Hawthorne, Julie Iovine, Karrie Jacobs, Christine Cipriani and Paul Goldberger–all achieved their craft following the inimitable example set by Ada Louise.  Historian Meredith Clausen, Wall Street Journal editor Eric Gibson, and the Huxtable archive team of Stuart and Beverly Denenburg, and from the Getty Center:  Maristella Casciato everyone was exceedingly helpful.  
    This podcast is produced by Brandi Howell, with editorial advising from Alexandra Lange.   Thanks also production assistant Virginia Eskridge. 
    New Angle Voice is brought to you by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.  Funding for this podcast comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation. 
     

    • 45 min
    Amaza Lee Meredith: Love and Home

    Amaza Lee Meredith: Love and Home

    I picked up a free glossy real estate magazine with an enticing photograph of summer leisure pursuits under the title Sag Harbor: A Whale of a Good Time. We traveled out there in early spring, collecting voices of preservation, community, celebrity, and long tenured summer families as we searched for Amaza Lee Meredith’s modern architecture. A short bike ride away from the summer haunts of Melville, Steinbeck, Betty Friedan, Spaulding Gray, lived the creator of Azurest North, the Black summer real estate enclave syndicated by Amaza Lee Meredith with her sister Maude Terry. But on the beach we found only Maude’s name enshrined on the commemorative plaque.  
    For decades, Amaza and her life-long partner Edna Meade Colson, made an annual migration to enjoy the respite and comfort of their shared northern home.  Hundreds of miles south is their other Azurest—a tidy white International Style house on the edge of the Virginia State University Campus where Meredith and Colson both maintained significant teaching positions, living openly queer lives.  
    Together, the homes and communities that Meredith helped establish provided a sense of joy and pleasure to those at a time when this wasn’t always possible.  And her story, as it continues to unfold with time, is a point of inspiration for those who have been lucky enough to discover it.  
    In this episode, we explore the intersections of sexuality, modernity, art, architecture, and the faith community that nurtured this pair of lovers.  Amaza and Edna found their home in each other and shared it openly with their church, their colleagues and their students.   Listen to Amaza Lee Meredith:  Love and Home.
    Special thanks to writers Jacqueline Taylor and Jessica Lynne, and to Brooke Williams who graciously provided Sag Harbor resident insights, as did advocates and preservationists Georgette Grier-Key, Michael Butler, and Renee Simons.  And to Reverend Grady Powell and Reverend Dr.  George WC Lyons from Gillfield Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia. Franklin Johnson-Norwood is the Director of Alumni Relations at Virginia State University, and our excellent tour guide for Azurest South, and to Christina Morris of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 
    New Angle Voice is a presentation of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.  This podcast is produced by Brandi Howell, with editorial advising from Alexandra Lange.  Virginia Eskridge provides daily assistance.  
    Generous funding for this season has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Graham Foundation. 
    Take a look at the illustrated Amaza Lee Meredith profile on the Pioneering Women of Architecture website. 

    • 43 min
    Anna Wagner Keichline: The Legacy of Invention

    Anna Wagner Keichline: The Legacy of Invention

    1913 was the year of the grand march for suffrage in Washington DC, the 250,000 marchers and attendees eclipsed the coverage the following day of the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson.  Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, population 4216, had its own march, on the fourth of July. Costumes were di rigeur, with a goodly number of  stately toga clad ladies and a few wild harridans on horseback, along with our intrepid girl in her Cornell cap and gown:  Anna Wagner Keichline… a native Bellefutian. We had to see this for ourselves. 
    So I saddled up my 2002 Honda Minivan, and made the five hour drive from New York City west on Route 80 through gently rolling Allegheny mountains to find Bellefonte and interview Nancy Perkins, her grand niece.  Nancy, a designer herself, has become the engine of Anna’s transformation from a local talent to a polymath of invention.  Nancy is dedicated to preserving the work of her aunt.   She has gathered photos, patents, plans and drawings, and even has a “k-brick”, perhaps Anna’s best known invention - a composite form of brick that foreshadows our modern and ubiquitous concrete block.    
    Not every architect has the opportunity to build skyscrapers. In Bellefonte, Anna used her talents to improve the lives of her neighbors, by designing their houses and gathering places.  She adopted a gently accommodating architectural style in the shadow of all that high Victorian lacery, and designed sturdy churches, theaters, homes, schools, and recreation facilities in her hometown that still stand well and firmly in their context.
    Today, we present her story:  Anna Wagner Keichline: The Legacy of Invention.
     
    Special thanks in this episode to Nancy Perkins, Sarah Lichtman, and Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler.
    This podcast is produced by Brandi Howell, with editorial advising from Alexandra Lange.   Thanks also to production assistant Virginia Eskridge.
    New Angle Voice is brought to you by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.  Funding for this podcast comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation. 
     
     
     

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
153 Ratings

153 Ratings

Artandmuseumlover ,

Excellent!

Love this podcast about women in design and architecture. Well researched and presented. Would appreciate if there were links to books and articles mentioned in the episodes.

Well done and thank you!

sIsTuff ,

Makes me feel good

Love this podcast, it’s soothing & interesting. I have had zero interest in architecture & enjoy every episode thoroughly. Glad The Kitchen Sisters Presents Podcast (which I highly recommend!) put New Angle eps in their feed for me to fall in love with

Learner A. ,

Beyond Outstanding Series

These are podcasts to treasure and listen to more than once. I learn each time I hear them. Thank you to the creators!

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