On Monday, the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, awarded School of Architecture professor Deborah Berke with the first-ever Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship and Prize.
The jury for the $100,000 prize selected Berke for her commitment to the advancement of women in architecture, as well as her focus on sustainability in building design. Berke, the founder of Deborah Berke and Partners, will teach a class at Berkeley this spring before returning to Yale in spring 2014, where she has taught for the past 25 years.
She commented on the difficulty of being a woman in the architectural sphere, “I think the issue for me is less about the specific challenges that women architects face ¬— although there certainly are those challenges — and more about making sure that both women and others whose backgrounds are underrepresented in the current practice of architecture have the opportunity feel like being an architect is possible if that is what they want.”
“There must be challenges, because 50% of architecture students are women, but only about 20% of licensed architects are women. Women disappear somewhere along the way. I think there are a host of reasons — having a family is one, but there are a host of other small reasons that accumulate to have an impact. My hope is that the field of architecture is open to all communities.”
Berke Deborah is Professor (Adjunct) of Architectural Design at Yale University, a post she has held since 1987. Over the past two decades, she has served as Chair of the Board of Advisors, Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University, Trustee of the Brearley School, Vice President of the AIA New York Chapter, and a Trustee of the National Building Museum.