The School of Architecture + Design's International Archive of Women in Architecture Center (IAWA) announces two winners of the 2009 Milka Bliznakov Prize.

The monograph "Odilia Suarez: The Exemplary Trajectory of an Architect and Urbanist in Latin America," by Martha Alonso, Sonia Bevilacqua, and Graciela Brandariz, and the book, A Women’s Berlin, Building the Modern City, by Despina Stratigakos each receive the Milka Bliznakov Prize this year. Each winning submission receives $1,000. The jury also recognized the traveling exhibition feminist practices by Lori Brown with a commendation.

“Odilia Suárez: The Exemplary Trajectory of an Architect and Urbanist in Latin America”
By Martha Alonso, Sonia Bevilacqua, and Graciela Brandariz

“There is no question that the publication and wide distribution of this monograph on the Argentine-born architect and urban designer Odilia Suárez, a pioneer woman in the field of urban design in Latin America, opens a world of possibilities for women architects, designers, and planners in Latin America,” said Donna Dunay, the G. T. Ward Professor of Architecture and IAWA director. This monograph, which is one of the first attempts to document the contributions of a pioneering woman architect in Latin America, brings information about Suárez’s work to the IAWA and to the world at large.

With research and publications on the work of Latin American women in the design professions extremely rare, the jury found this work makes an important contribution to the large number of women who graduate from architecture schools in the region. “This work provides women in the architecture and design fields, which continue to have a very high professional ‘mortality’ rate as women become wives and mothers, an understanding of how their predecessors juggled professional roles and domesticity,” said Dunay.

Martha Alonso and Graciela Brandariz are architects and Sonia Bevilacqua is an engineer in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A Woman’s Berlin, Building the Modern City
By Despina Stratigakos

“A Woman’s Berlin, Building the Modern City is a major contribution to the history of women’s shaping of urban contexts — an important history for women architect,” said Dunay. The book explores movement in the history of architecture and the first female architects by opening a new window to practice and life. The book features women situated in Berlin at the forefront of a changing urban context and worldview.

“Through the use of materials from the IAWA and many German archives, a completely hidden history is uncovered to expand and deepen understanding of the contributions women architects made to the city and to the profession. The research is framed by social history that finds its expression in built form, and identifies largely unknown patrons and practitioners. It is illuminating, thorough, original, and an important contribution to the field,” said Dunay.

Despina Stratigakos is an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Buffalo, SUNY, in Buffalo, N.Y.

feminist practices
By Lori Brown

The exhibition feminist practices pulls together a group of 15 women in architecture to present the diversity of their practices through a website and an exhibition mounted in schools of architecture across the United States. While the exhibition celebrates the range and origins of these practices, the threads that continue through their efforts situate the possibilities of practice for students, and open these directions for all in architecture and related design disciplines.

Lori Brown is an associate professor of architecture at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y.

The IAWA is a center of the School of Architecture + Design, in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and the Virginia Tech University Libraries. The center is directed by Donna Dunay, the G. T. Ward Professor of Architecture. The Milka Bliznakov Prize honors founding director of the IAWA Milka Bliznakov, emeritus professor of architecture.