Urban Fold

Gertrude Kerbis, Pioneering Female Architect

Architect Gertrude Kerbis worked for sixty years designing buildings in Chicago alongside more famous architects like Walter Gropius and Mies Van der Rohe. Preservation Magazine talks to her about her struggles as a woman in a male-dominated field.

Kerbis talks about working with Mies Van der Rohe:

"Oh, he was horrible! And Gropius wasn't so wonderful either. They really didn't think of women or their place in the world. Mies would not go out of his way for anyone. After I started at IIT, he set up a little team to investigate a really interesting problem, how to design a long-span structure for Chicago's convention center. He selected four students to get their graduate degree based on that study. I told him I wanted to do my own work. He said, you mean you want me to work with you on your project, and you will not work with me on mine? I said yes, and he never spoke to me again. I stuck it out in a corner, working on my own project."

Full Story: Chicago's First Lady of Modernism

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