Meet Our POWERFUL Women Speakers

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Isabelle Duvivier, FAIA
Principal, Duvivier Architects

  • When did you first realize you wanted to become an architect?
    I grew up in an early 60’s suburban development. It was a beautiful location, on the water, lots of green. But the development has a maximum of 3 different buildings- I found the homogeneity oppressive. I felt I could make a difference in quality of life by being a part of creating vibrant places for people to live.
  • Who has inspired you and/or influenced your career the most? And how?
    That’s tough. Thom Mayne comes to mind first- he was my teacher and mentor at SCI-Arc, and I worked with him closely at Morphosis managing projects for a couple of years after graduating. His focus and natural originality and creativity gave me more confidence in my abilities. Problem solving and good design could become a beautiful flow. Val Warke, my thesis advisor at Cornell guided me in similar ways. George Wagner, when teaching at Cornell, gave me the most memorable advice. Andrea Simitch, when teaching at Cornell, demonstrated that an intelligent articulate woman could gain respect in a position of responsibility. Ditto for Kate Diamond and Anne Zimmerman. I have been fortunate in my career to connect with amazing people, and to learn from them.
  • What are your recommendations for increasing diversity in the workplace and within the design process particularly?
    Women in positions of responsibility should actively focus on creating opportunities to mentor, support and to sponsor other talented women, while holding them to the highest standards. We must all keep in mind how difficult and intimidating the structure of the architecture profession can be, especially for other women, and make an effort every day to be generous and supportive to others. There are now more women in high levels in the profession. We should each be a visible example of competence to help elevate the opinion of women in architecture, to our colleagues in architecture and construction and to the general public.
  • As a woman, what are your thoughts on the Los Angeles region as a place to work?
    Los Angeles appears to hold more opportunities in general young people, and for new smaller firms. That’s the main reason I came from the East Coast. As a consequence there may be more opportunities for women as well. However, the large corporations (as clients and as architecture firms) still often retain a bias against women, and remain difficult to navigate for female architects. City and county governmental organizations have so far demonstrated a greater commitment to diversity and create more opportunities for women to succeed than the private sector.
Isabelle Duvivier, FAIA
Principal, Duvivier Architects

Isabelle Duvivier pioneered the integration of water resources and architecture. Her accomplishments in sustainable building design, mapping, watershed and wetland conservation, and graphic representation advance the professional/public conversation and understanding of environmental and water resources. As an advocate for the coordination of the built environment with watershed health, Duvivier’s architectural practice focuses on a holistic and rational approach to planning and design with water. Each project fosters understanding of architecture’s broader context and environmental impact. Her professional expertise shapes the study and integration of water resources into design in innovative, globally significant ways.

Last updated: 19-Feb-2015 05:09 PM
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