AAP Faculty and Alumni Honored by Women in Architecture Forum and Awards

Work by Susan Rodriguez
Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Design and Media Center, designed by Susan Rodriguez for Ennead. photo / ennead
PolyThread by Jenny Sabin
A recent project by Sabin, titled PolyThread, was commissioned for the recent Beauty exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. William Staffeld / AAP
Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Design and Media Center, designed by Susan Rodriguez for Ennead. photo / ennead A recent project by Sabin, titled PolyThread, was commissioned for the recent Beauty exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. William Staffeld / AAP
News
September 22, 2016

Announced on September 20, two of the five winners of Architectural Record's 2016 Women in Architecture Awards are AAP's own — Jenny Sabin, the Arthur L. and Isabel B. Wiesenberger Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture, and Susan T. Rodriguez (B.Arch. '81), member of the AAP Advisory Council and the university's Board of Trustees.

Since 2014, the magazine's Women in Architecture Forum and Awards program has recognized and promoted women's design leadership with annual awards aimed at balancing gender disparity among top professional architects.

The awards have honored the achievements of female candidates in five categories, including design leader, new generation leader, activist, educator or mentor, and innovator.

Rodriguez, who is a founding partner and design principal of New York City-based Ennead Architects, was honored with the Design Leader award, which is given for significant built work and influence. Rodriguez's design work explores a wide variety of scales and typologies, from large-scale institutional and cultural buildings to interiors. Through her work, she seeks to create an architecture fused with its surroundings. Rodriguez also serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York and Art Works Projects: for Human Rights.

"It's truly an honor to be recognized amongst this accomplished group at a time when the collective leadership of women is so critical to opening up new possibilities for future generations of architects," Rodiguez said.

The Innovator award, which is "for an architect who has made a mark in innovative design, materials, or building type," was given to Sabin.

"I'm extremely honored to receive the 2016 Innovator honor award and thrilled to be included among women in the top tier of architecture and design," said Sabin. In conjunction with her teaching, she directs the Sabin Design Lab at Cornell AAP, a hybrid research and design unit with specialization in computational design, data visualization, and digital fabrication. Her practice, Jenny Sabin Studio, is an experimental architectural design studio based in Philadelphia. Sabin's research, projects, and teaching investigate the intersections of architecture and science, applying insights and theories from biology and mathematics to the design of material structures.

"These are also areas that have historically been underrepresented by women," Sabin notes. "Awards such as this Innovator honor are so important as they not only mark and celebrate how far we have come, but they also send a strong positive message to our students and future leaders."

In addition to Sabin's and Rodriguez's awards this year, Meejin Yoon (B.Arch. '95) received the 2015 Leadership in Architectural Practice award. Yoon is head of the department of architecture at M.I.T. and cofounder of Höweler + Yoon Architecture.

In 2014, women made up 43 percent of the architecture students in the U.S., yet only 21 percent of licensed architects in firms, and just 17 percent of partners and principals of firms. Currently, even though nearly half of architecture school graduates are women, they make up only 18 percent of licensed practitioners, according to the Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed, April 21, 2016).

Sabin, Rodriguez, and this year's other award winners — who include Amale Andraos, Donna Robertson, and Roberta Feldman — will be honored at a symposium and reception on November 1, immediately before Architectural Record's Innovation Conference in New York City.

By Patti Witten