Our Story

Naomi, an Organization of Women Architects & Design Professionals (OWA+DP) member, and former OWA+DP Steering Committee (SC) member met Bridget at the OWA+DP Holiday Party in 2017.  It was on that occasion that the subsequent OWA+DP program #Me Too & You can trace its origins.  

In 2018/19 Maryam and Bridget both served on the OWA+DP SC.  An idea of an exhibit hatched during this time. In mid-2019, Naomi and Bridget began chatting and thinking about a potential exhibit focusing on Women Architects.  Maryam quickly joined the Exhibit SC. As did Lauren, a then colleague of Bridgets’. Carol, another OWA+DP member also joined the team in 2019, lending their expertise as Jury Chair.  Ivea, also a member of and liaison to the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) similarly joined Exhibit SC in 2019.  (Thanks June!)  

This effort relies on collaboration which is inherent within the Architecture/ Engineering & Construction (AEC) Industry.  Owing to this, rather than spotlighting the accomplishments of prominent individuals, WOMENWHODESIGN.ORG examines through storytelling the lived experience and contributions of the many.  During our journey, we have collaborated and talked with peers, colleagues, and friends.  We acknowledge and are grateful for these and future contributions.

Mission Statement

Leveraging this moment’s elevated awareness of the experiences of women in the workplace, and building on the collective action of multiple waves of women’s activism before us, we aim to create a space for dialogue. This initiative acknowledges and is motivated by the historical exclusion of women from the shaping of our environments and the minimizing of their contributions. The main objective is to provide a platform to ask what it means to be a woman in architecture, and through collaboration and exploration propose how it can be different. 

Women Who Designs’ Key Objectives:

  • Amplify women’s voices to give a fresh perspective on the status quo 
  • Situate exhibitors’ contributions within the larger contemporary discourse about women in society
  • Inspire ongoing reflection and change through honesty, specificity, and diversity of content
  • Empower current and future generations.

Women Who Designs’ Audience:

  • General public with an acute focus on young and future generations of women.

Steering Committee

Bridget Basham

Founder

  • Senior Designer, MWA Architects
  • B.Arch. RMIT, Australia

Bridget proudly achieved her B.Arch. with Honors from RMIT University in Australia, and thought, and thinks that was enough formal education for her.
Initially, her career was centered around thinking about environments for the public, and now, that is unchanged.  Following a family tradition of serving the broader community through vocation, Bridget is fortunate to collaborate with other passionate individuals around the Bay Area in an effort to address issues surrounding housing attainability and what the heck is going on with our natural environment!  
“My Mum is likely one of the Greatest Architects of this time; yet like many women of her generation, remains undercover as a retired nurse or teacher.”

Naomi Horowitz

Curator

  • Senior Project Manager, SVA Architects
  • AIA, LEED AP
  • M.Arch., M.I.T., 2005

Naomi was fortunate to spend her undergraduate years at Bryn Mawr College, a women’s college, where it was unsurprising to see women leading student government and classroom conversations. After forays into archaeology and non-profit administration, she returned to school for architecture and is now a licensed architect. Through all this, a couple of themes keep popping up: what are ordinary people going through, and how do their physical and social worlds relate to each other? Naomi has devoted most of her architectural career to affordable housing and community-serving projects.

“I believe in the power of stories to teach, to reveal submerged truths, and to connect us with each other.”

Maryam Moayery Nia

Curator

  • Project Manager, Studio 9 Architecture
  • Ph.D. of Architecture, Polimi, Italy, 2014
  • Research Scholar, UC Berkeley, 2012-2014

A true traveler who lived, studied, taught, and worked in three different countries (some say continents) and just started a new life in a new place (country). 

A workaholic who dedicates most of her time to architecture, even while she is playing with her toddler boy with the legos, she is making study models for her projects. She is so happy to be part of this amazing project and work with this great group. 

“I am inspired by nature, religion, and society, and my least favorite design trend is when traditions are forgotten and cultures vanish. To unwind, I immerse myself in reading and writing, while listening to music.”

Lauren Prentice

Marketing Lead

  • Administrative and Marketing Assistant, HKIT Architects
  • B.A. Art History, Arizona State University, 2015

Lauren is an emerging voice in marketing in the AEC field but has been working in the art and design field for over ten years as a ceramic artist and framer.

As an active member of the East Bay community, on weekends she can often be found walking through the streets of Oakland on First Friday, enjoying a beer at Fieldwork, or shopping in one of her favorite Uptown shops like Oaklandish.  She is passionate about connecting with people through social media, whether that be on HKIT Architects’ Instagram or on her personal account with plant and cat-related content.

Yolanda Lettieri

Sponsorship Lead

  • Principal, YSL Architecture
  • M.Arch., Penn State University

Yolanda Santiago Lettieri is an architect based in Los Angeles, CA.  She is the principal of YSL Architecture, a small office dedicated to its clients in custom residential and small commercial projects. 

Yolanda graduated from Penn State University and has been in the profession for 22 years, working in a variety of typologies.  Born in Puerto Rico and raised in California in the San Francisco Bay Area and the island, she brings a diverse cultural background, a love for travel, and a passion for people and placemaking.

Audrey Hoang

Assistant

  • Student, Architectural Engineering, California Polytechnic State University

Audrey is studying architectural engineering at Cal Poly SLO and grew up in the Bay Area. At school she’s involved in a few cultural clubs and holds board positions in a co-ed engineering fraternity, as well as a professional structural engineering organization, and also volunteered to phone banks and encourage people to vote in November 2020’s election. As someone who experienced a huge culture shock when going to a predominantly white institution, supporting and helping to build a community for underrepresented students is important to her. Outside of school, she enjoys graphic design, fashion, makeup, swimming, and going to the gym. She is very excited to be able to contribute to this project and hopefully be able to recognize other talented women in design!

TELL US YOUR STORIES AND EXPERIENCES!