Memoirs about Place

A Women in Architecture program, presented by the Organization of Women Architects

Tuesday, February 12
6-8pmAIA East Bay
1.5 CES LUs

Free and open to all. Please click here to register; a reception follows the presentation.

Memoirs and biographies of women in the design professions are rare. Architect, Wendy Bertrand and Landscape Architect Clare Cooper Marcus will talk about, read from, and encourage discussion about their memoirs: Iona Dreaming: The Healing Power of Place (2010) and Enamored with Place: As Woman + As Architect (2012).

Over the last century, only 106 (out of 3717) biographies are of women architects per the WorldCAT of books in English.

Clare Cooper Marcus was drawn to the Scottish island of Iona for its palpable sense of place, and “traveled” there in her imagination through healing imagery while undergoing treatment for cancer. Subsequently she lived there alone on a six-month retreat reflecting on her life, the landscape of the island, her wartime childhood in England, and the healing power of the environment. This book  – with a very personal psychological and spiritual focus –  is in contrast to her five previous professional books which dealt with the human response to architecture and urban open space.

Wendy Bertrand gives us a prime example of “social history,” in Enamored With Place, chronicling the coming to architecture via travel, and the learning and working in architecture as a single mother on a mission to thrive—both personally and professionally. She often speaks out on social issues concerning women. In the epilogue, she shares with us her concerns about the profession’s long-standing conservative workplace culture and she points to a new direction for social justice concerns for workplace culture and design issues in place making. She calls it Placitecture.


About the Presenters:

Wendy Bertrand has been a mother since 1966, registered architect since 1978, and rug weaver since 1999. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, after study at the École des Beaux Arts, and worked as a government architect .She launched her memoir at the Redwood Coast Writers’ Conference where she taught a workshop on memoir.

Clare Cooper Marcus is Professor Emerita in the Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the Principal of Healing Landscapes, a consulting firm that specializes in researching the effectiveness of restorative landscapes in healthcare settings.

After completing this program, participants will:

  • Have an increased awareness of how social factors impact place
  • Be able to list three approaches to place making
  • Be able to express three ways environmental designers have roles in society
  • Be able to state two of three ways gender issues play a role in practice and how modern practitioners might address them.


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