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The changing face of architecture: Value difference

SofiePelsmakers8 March 2016

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The built environment is still not equated with a diverse work force unlike the stakeholders with whom we work with and for. The annual survey of women in architecture released last month, makes for uneasy reading: deep-rooted inequalities and perceptions of gender differences that seem to affect women architects particularly badly. So on international women’s day I’d briefly like to share my journey as a woman in architecture practice, research and academia. In June 2015, I was shortlisted among 11 others by the RIBA as one of its ‘Role Models’, hopefully inspiring others that they too can forge a successful career in architecture. Since I shared my story as part of the Role Model Project, I noticed a positive change within myself and how I view myself. It is hard to explain, but I am more at ease with myself and more accepting of myself. I no longer fear of speaking out about my background (read about it here) or being a woman in a still mostly male dominated profession (more about that here). On reflection, this makes sense: sharing our stories so publicly received positive responses and made me realise that I was wrong to be afraid to speak out. I no longer feel as vulnerable sharing my personal journey: I have a voice and I want to use my voice on issues that matter to me in the hope that it inspires others and to draw out the value of differences. I also realised I should no longer be embarrassed about my background, but celebrate how far I have come despite the challenges along the way and to see and use this as a strength. (more…)

The case for diversity in architecture

SofiePelsmakers9 July 2015

wordle 2by Sofie Pelsmakers and Stephen Ware

On June 2nd, the Royal Institute of British architects (RIBA) launched its Role Models project. Stephen and I are two of its 12 ‘Role Models’ and all our stories highlight the increasing diversity within the architecture profession, hopefully inspiring those like us to join us in the profession. Diversity is after all a good thing: not only does it make sense for a profession to reflect the society it operates within (and designs for), furthermore research has shown that diversity is a good thing: organisational diversity “enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, leading to better decision making and problem solving.” (more…)