Premiere: Documentary “Women in Architecture”
A better built environment is also an inclusive one. That’s why diversity is key to our profession, as it expands our views of the world and connects us with the real needs of society. So we opened a window into the professional and personal lives of three women in architecture who bring something unique to the world, to inspire others.
The project has been initiated by Sky-Frame to shed more light on the role of women in architecture, by increasing their visibility and empowering them to realize their full potential.
“To make our world a better place. Everyone should have an idea of how architecture works and what it can have an impact on. We live in the era where humans are changing the planet, architecture is one of the most important tools”, stated film-maker Boris Noir about the idea behind the film.
We reached out to Toshiko Mori, Gabriela Carrillo and Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge, three architects in three different countries, in different contexts, at different stages of their life and career, but with a lot in common: recognized practitioners, with a passion for education, working with communities, and a sensibility towards the needs of society and the built environment.
From the intense streets of New York to the cultural richness of Mexico City, to the dynamism of Berlin, we also had the chance to visit their projects and share with the clients and users, witnessing the impact of their work.
Toshiko Mori, Japanese architect based in the United States, to whom context is everything that arouses curiosity about the people we design for. In almost four decades as the head of her office in New York, Mori has had the opportunity to exercise her interest in design practice and academia, managing to build her award winning buildings in contexts as diverse as China, U.S., and Senegal. Alongside the drawing board, Mori became the first female faculty member to receive tenure at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, in 1995, and in 2002 she became the first woman to be Chair of the Department of Architecture — still the only one two decades later (read more – follow Toshiko on Instagram).
Mexican architect Gabriela Carrillo has built an exemplary career and is passionate about the city, territory, and diversity. Her widely awarded works have become the reference image when discussing contemporary architecture in Mexico. Her projects translate the world’s needs, developing constant work to recognize the values of the territory in order to provide spaces that dignify its inhabitants. Situated between praxis, theory, and research, her interests are focused on the everyday, leading a flexible and dynamic practice that allows her to maintain a balance between working and living. Her work develops between practice, theory and research as well as between the local and the global, translating the needs of the world into diverse and inclusive architecture. (read more – follow Gabriela on Instagram).
Based in Berlin Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge has taught at several institutions, such as the Columbia GSAPP, the Northeastern University Boston, the Washington University St. Louis, and the DIA Dessau. Since 2021 she holds the role of Chair of Architecture and Spatial Design at TU Darmstadt. Understanding that freedom helps her develop professionally, Johanna started with a couple of projects affiliated with the art scene, such as art galleries, art fairs, collections, and exhibition designs. Knowing that her academic profession challenges her and allows her to look back at her projects in practice in a different way, the architect is trying to carve her own way, not wanting to follow the usual generic path of the field where you “build less and think more.” For Johanna, housing and work are a priority in terms of the questions of the future, as both of these typologies will never disappear, and should be more integrated into our lives (read more – follow Johanna on Instagram).
After our experience filming during summer 2022, Andrea Zürcher, executive producer of the documentary stated “In my role at Sky-Frame I meet fantastic architects all over the world and I always ask myself why there are so few women in leading positions. When the discussion sparked to start a documentary dedicated to this topic, it became a matter of the heart. With projects like “Women in Architecture“ and with the voices that speak through it to a wider audience, we can reach a more beautiful living with one another. Through this film, Sky-Frame aims to help increase the visibility of women in architecture and beyond, and empower them to reach their full potential.”
How can architecture be more open? Boris Noir stated that “ArchDaily is a perfect platform for this, a place where architecture of any kind, from all over the world is accessible to everyone, absolutely everyone. No more luxury, nothing for closed society – Architecture is pop culture. And concerning our task as filmmakers, is to make this matter more understandable, more digestible for the mainstream audience.”
Architecture and its stories has always been a challenge to represent through film. Noir thinks that “architecture is very emotional, very vibrant, both in the process of its creation and in its finished expression. The biggest challenge is to capture these emotions of something immobile in a motion picture, to let them have an effect on the viewer. The idea was to show the real life of architects. Who are the people behind the finished projects? How do they live? What drives them to make architecture, how do they inspire themselves? In our film “Women in Architecture,” the viewer is taken on a twenty-minute journey to three very different world metropolises and breathes in the lives of our protagonists. The architecture, which plays a secondary role in our film, has a completely different effect as a result”.
In this world, there are endless examples of women who are having an impact and we will continue to visualize their work and stories, and hopefully to expand the representation in future episodes of “Women in Architecture” so it can truly showcase the diversity of our world. We also maintain our commitment to highlight the work of all the underrepresented communities that are part of architecture.
We thank Sky-Frame for supporting our Monthly Topic “Women in Architecture”, and for making the documentary possible.
If you would like to organize a screening of the documentary in your architecture office or at school, let us know.
We also thank the whole team behind the scenes: Andrea, Boris, Daniel, Junus, Nikolaus, Julian, David, Anne, Sirius, Risa, Nayeli, Patrizia, Nadia, Neo, Dmitrii, Johanna, Paul, and Nancy.
Sky-Frame is characterized by its empathic ability to take on different perspectives and points of view. We are interested in people and their visions, whether in architecture or in a social context. We deeply care about creating living spaces and in doing so we also question the role of women in architecture. From the arts to the sciences, women shape our society. We want to shed more light on this role, increase the visibility of Women in Architecture and empower/encourage them to realize their full potential.