America's First Female Architect Finally Receives Recognition

Louise Bethune was a trailblazer in architecture, yet her burial place didn't even bear her name for over a century. Buffalo's industry heavyweights honored her with a memorial marker last month.

Louise Bethune was the first woman elected to the American Institute of Architects and was the first female AIA fellow, in addition to founding her own firm in 1885. When she applied for membership in the Western Association of Architects, which would later merge with the AIA, Daniel Burnham and Louis Sullivan supported her application.   

"While Bethune handled most of the design and construction work for her firm, as with any woman trying to carve a place for herself in a previously male-only field, she faced some pushback. 'Both she and Julia Morgan were told by members of the media that they could not be architects,' Bethune biographer Kelly Hayes McAlonie tells Co.Design. 'It was thought that a woman couldn’t be an architect and supervise construction and wear a dress at the same time,'" explains Shaunacy Ferro of Bethune's challenges in the field. 

In addition to overcoming barriers to building a career in architecture, Bethune advocated for equal pay for equal work, co-ed architectural education, and professional licensing for architects. Despite the progress made in the century since her death, women remain underrepresented in the field: just one in five architects today is female. 

Full Story: A Century After Her Death, America's First Female Architect Gets Her Due

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00
Book cover of Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Contemporary Debates in Urban Planning

Featuring thought-provoking commentary and insights from some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the field.
$18.95