THE HISTORY OF THE IAWA
The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) was established in 1985 as a joint program of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. The purpose of the Archive is to document the history of women’s contributions to the built environment by collecting, preserving, and providing access to the records of women’s architectural organizations and the professional papers of women architects, landscape architects, designers, architectural historians and critics, and urban planners.
The IAWA collections have always been open to scholars, students, and public researchers around the world. Historically, this meant traveling to Virginia Tech and visiting the University Libraries’ Special Collections Department to see materials in person. Through this website, today’s researchers also have access to a growing library of digitized documents and visual materials from the IAWA collections.
WHAT WE COLLECT
Today, the IAWA documents the legacies of more than 435 individuals, firms, organizations, and exhibits from the 1890s through the present day. The permanent collections include approximately 2000 cubic feet of documents, photographs and negatives, architectural drawings, sketches, scrapbooks, building models, presentation boards, and other materials that capture the creative process. The IAWA also collects books, biographical information, and other published materials as part of its mission to act as a clearinghouse of information about the global history of women in architecture.
Women who are interested in enhancing the historic record of architecture and related design professions should visit the Special Collections donations page or contact the IAWA Archivist for more information about donating materials to the IAWA.
Donna Dunay, FAIA, is an ACSA Distinguished Professor and the G.T. Ward Professor of Architecture. Her work explores and illuminates women’s contributions in architecture and a cultural and civic understanding in education and practice through design research. Presently serving on the AIA Strategic Council, she also served on the Canberra Accord team to review the National Board of Architectural Accreditation of China. Chair of numerous NAAB accrediting teams, she is involved with architectural education from a national perspective. One of her many achievements as IAWA chair is the organization of the 18th Congress of the International Union of Femmes Architectes in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the IAWA in 2015. Her book, Town Architecture: Understanding a Virginia Town and the Center for Civic Activity National Design Competition along with articles, exhibitions, and presentations at national and international events have contributed to multiple communities.
DIRECTOR / TREASURER
PAOLA ZELLNER BASSETT
Paola Zellner graduated from Universidad de Buenos Aires and practiced architecture in Argentina and Uruguay. She obtained a Masters Degree from SCI-Arc, practiced in Los Angeles with Norman R. Millar Architects, and together with Jim Bassett started the practice Zellner + Bassett. She taught at Woodbury University, the University of Michigan, and is currently an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech. Her creative work with the IAWA includes the installation “30 x 30,” shown internationally, and for which she received the 2018-2019 ACSA Creative Achievement Award. Her scholarship has been published in Museum making: Narratives, Architectures, Exhibitions (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012), in ACSA, and in the journal Bitácora Arquitectura #33 (2017).
Sharóne L. Tomer, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech, where she teaches design studios and urbanism courses. She is also a 2019/2020 Fellow at the Israel Institute of Advanced Studies, participating in the research group “Re-theorizing the Architecture of Housing as Grounds for Research and Practice.” Her research explores how architectural practices operate within and address conditions of urbanized inequality, attending to issues of race, gender, class and climate change, and addressing topics including modernism, housing, public space, and architectural activism. Her current book project is based upon her doctoral research, which examined architects’ aspirations for political and
spatial change in late-apartheid Cape Town. Her latest research project investigates relationships between race, contested histories, and transforming space and political-economies in Appalachia.
Dr. Morshedzadeh is an industrial designer, usability researcher, and educator who has taught undergraduate design courses internationally and in the U.S. Her research focuses on healthcare and telehealth design, community-centered design, and usability research. Currently, she is PI and Co-PI on several transdisciplinary, healthcare-related research and design projects, two of which are funded by the NIH. Prior to teaching, she spent 10 years as an industrial designer in her home country of Iran, where she was lead designer on a range of high-profile projects working with teams of engineers, anthropologists, and architects. She brings this industry experience into the classroom by emphasizing the importance of experiential, evidence-based decision-making in participatory design and research.
Adjunct Instructor at Virginia Tech
BOARD OF ADVISORS
SOLANGE D’HERBEZ DE LA TOUR
ALICE FINNERUP MOLLER
ANA MARĺA PINZÓN
The IAWA Student Organization is a collaboration between Virginia Tech student liaisons and Paola Zellner-Bassett. The student liaisons share the IAWA’s mission of acknowledging women’s dedication and the underrepresented value of their legacy. Students volunteer time to meet with each other, so they may invent and advance chosen initiatives. They directly engage with archival materials, making them visible to the public via Instagram and exhibits. They are also involved with planning and hosting the annual IAWA Symposium, which typically happens in Blacksburg, VA, during the spring semester.
The IAWA encourages its members to play an active role in research through archiving and advocates for them to disseminate their knowledge to the public by creating open conversations. We hope to inspire our liaisons to cultivate their own leadership and continue to raise awareness beyond student life.