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5 Women at the Forefront of Shifts in Architecture Education – Interior Design

As the A&D community continues to evaluate roadblocks to equity, the limited number of women in powerful positions, particularly in architecture and design schools, also is under examination.

Maria Perbellini. Photography by New York Tech.
Maria Perbellini. Photography by New York Tech.

By Meghan Edwards

Numbers from the National Council of Architectural Records show that the ranks of women architecture graduates decline steadily throughout each stage of schooling and licensure. What’s more, people of color are 31 percent more likely than white people to stop pursuing licensure. How can you excel at the top, if you’re more likely to drop out at the beginning? Monica Ponce de Leon, dean at Princeton University School of Architecture, questions the validity of the path to licensure, which she has called “a series of roadblocks,” particularly for women and people of color.

Our cohort identifies architecture and design as having the potential to lead the zeitgeist, representing philosophies that go beyond any building or product. “The future is about flexibility, accommodation, open mindset, and interdisciplinary teamwork,” says Maria Perbellini, dean at the New York Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Design. She adds, “The scale and the resonance of issues… we are facing today demand the expansion of research skills; an emphasis on innovative interdisciplinary, cross-college research initiatives; and degree plans propelling entrepreneurial collaborations with the profession and the industry.” As Denise Rush, dean at the Boston Architectural College School of Interior Architecture, explains it, “I have been entrusted with the responsibility of educating and shaping future interior designers whose designs will impact the lives of the people who live and work in their designed interior environments.”

In the second installment of a two-part series honoring Women’s History Month, Interior Design speaks with five women leading shifts in architecture education in the northeast about the future of built environments, increasing inclusivity, and mentoring the next generation.

Maria Perbellini, Dean and Professor, School of Architecture and Design, New York Institute of Technology

At the School of Architecture and Design at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), where Maria Perbellini is also a tenured professor of architecture, the focus is on immersive learning with a variety of fluid degrees, cross-fertilization opportunities, competency-based skills, and shorter specializations that can facilitate new, unforeseen career paths and interests. “This difficult time has brought us the momentum to critically rethink how we teach and learn,” says Perbellini. 

Read on >>> Source: Interior Design 5 Women at the Forefront of Shifts in Architecture Education

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