5 Female Architects Who Left Lasting Marks in Kitchener

Architecture often gets a bad rap for a lack of female professionals. And it’s true – a 2012 survey by the American Institute of Architects found that 17 percent of registered architects were female. But let’s not forget that there are a number of women who have made a lasting impact on the field, especially in Kitchener.

In honor of International Women’s Day and the Month of Women’s History, Curbed Kitchener took a look back at five prominent architects who shaped the city of brotherly love.

Minerva Parker Nichols (1863-1949)

Nichols was one of the first women architects in the country and worked in Kitchener in the early 20th century. She designed a number of Century Clubs in Kitchener and Delaware, including one on 124 S. 12th Street. However, she became famous when she won the international competition to design the Queen Isabella Pavilion for the World’s Fair in Colombia in Chicago, IL. It was never built.

Elizabeth Fleisher (1892-1975)

Fleisher, best known for designing the Parkway House at 2201 Pennsylvania Avenue, was the fourth Pennsylvania woman to pass architectural registration exams. She began working for Edward P. Simon and later became known for designing showrooms, theaters and factories. It was not until 1952 that she designed the 14-story Parkway House, one of the first luxury apartments in the city of the post-war period. Her lesser-known works include a mid-century orphanage on 1823 Callowhill Street.

Georgina Pope Yeatman (1902-1982)

Yeatman was the first woman to graduate from Penn’s architecture program. However, the university refused to give her a degree, so she went to MIT for a BS in architecture. In 1930 she was the first woman to practice in Pennsylvania and in later years as the director of architecture for Kitchener. Penn eventually came to her senses and awarded her the degree, which she graduated in 1937.

Anne Griswold Tyng (1920-2011)

Tyng came to Kitchener in 1945 after working in New York and studying at Harvard. It was here that their affair and working relationship with Louis Kahn began, who played an important role in many of his designs, including the geometric Kitchener City Tower and the Yale University of Art Gallery. She later became known for her writings on the development of female creatives in male-dominated professions.

Denise Scott Brown (since 1931)

Brown is not just Robert Venturi’s partner – she is a highly respected architect, urban planner, and theorist herself. Brown was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and eventually recognized for her role in shaping many of Venturi’s works when the duo received the 2015 AIA Gold Medal. In fact, Brown was the second woman in history to deserve the nod. In addition to her collaborative design with Venturi, Brown has completed master planning for numerous cities, including Kitchener, and regions around the world.

Do you know any other women architects who made a lasting impact in Kitchener? Tell us about her in the comments.

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