Genders of Architecture/Architectures of Gender Programs


The Gender Institute has a long-standing investment in research related to how gender is built; how architecture shapes and expresses human experiences of gender, sexuality, and identity; and the history of women architects.

Our "Gender and Architecture" programs are highlighted below.

A short, informative overview of the history of women in architecture by UB Professor Despina Stratigakos can be read here.

Two of our Executive Committee members, Despina Stratigakos and Kelly Hayes McAlonie, worked with Mattel to create Architect Barbie, stirring a lot of debate about gender issues in architecture and the best way to increase women's presence. Click here to read "Architect Barbie: The Debate and Discussion, Three Years Later."

Spring 2014

The Gender Institute held our spring conference on April 4, 2014. "Suiting Up: Disciplining the Aesthetics of Difference" addressed the architectures of gender from many disciplinary vantage points. For full details, visit our Gender Across Borders webpage.


Fall 2013

Gender Institute Fall Symposium
Building Talent: Women, Patronage and Mentoring

At the Greatbatch Pavilion
Darwin Martin House
125 Jewett Pkwy Buffalo
Tuesday, October 22, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Susan Chin, President of AIA

The intellectual energies and synergies generated by the Gender Institute’s fall 2013 symposium testify to the dynamic nature of the new knowledge that can spring from heterogeneous conversations across borders of culture, age, practice, and approach.  The symposium brought together seventy practicing architects, architectural historians, feminist scholars, writers, and community activists.  In addition to screening her short documentary film about 100 women architects who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, Beverly Willis reflected on seventy years of her own pioneering achievements in architecture and social innovation while Marika Shiori-Clark, a recent Harvard graduate, electrified the audience with her description of practicing “empathic architecture” through such projects as a hospital in rural Rwanda and an art colony that is rejuvenating a 40-block section of Cleveland.  The other participants (Lori Brown, Assoc. Professor of Architecture, Syracuse University; Wanda Bubriski,  Past Executive Director, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation; Susan Chin, Vice President of American Institute of Architects (AIA); Kelly Hayes McAlonie, Interim Director, UB Capital Planning Group; Joyce Hwang, Associate Professor of Architecture, UB; Jack Quinan, Professor Emeritus of Visual Studies, UB) each contributed keen insights into the histories of women in the architectural past and the ongoing struggles for inclusion and equity within diverse architectural practices today.  Their work collectively confirms the urgency of what Robert Shibley, Dean of UB’s School of Architecture & Planning, described as the central mission of architecture: achieving environmental justice for human beings as part of our quest to sustain our true home, the earth.

For speakers' biographies, click here. For a the poster and program, click here.



Louise Bethune Commemoration Event

Kelly Hayes McAlonie, AIA, Interim Associate Vice Provost for the UB Capital Planning Group, at the Bethune commemoration event on December 18, 2013 in Forest Lawn Cemetery, in honor of Louise Bethune, America's first woman architect and first woman member of the AIA

Photo Credit: Doug Levere


Spring 2013

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) held their 66th annual conference in Buffalo in Spring 2013. Some of the conference events will be related to gender and architecture. Click the link below for details on the SAH Annual Conference, April 10-14, 2013. 



Fall 2012

Louise Bethune Exhibit


The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society presents “Buffalo's Bethune: America's First Professional Woman Architect,” focusing on the life of Louise Blanchard Bethune. Bethune's most famous building is the Lafayette Hotel, which now undergoing restoration.

The exhibit was created with the assistance of guest curator Kelly Hayes McAlonie, American Institute of Architects (AIA), LEED® AP, interim assistant vice president of the Capital Planning Group at UB, and president-elect of AIANYS; her husband, Brian McAlonie, vice president of account services at Thinking Outside The Square, a design firm; and illustrator/designer Michael Gelen, of Inkwell Studios.

Along with the museum’s staff, this team has created a series of wall-mounted panels, including ephemera and artifacts. Each panel addresses a major theme from Bethune’s life and career: apprenticeship, design work, professional recognition, masterpiece, hobbies, and legacy.


In 1881, Bethune, 25, a drafting apprentice for Buffalo architect Richard Waite, opened her own office; the first woman in the United States to do so. Shortly thereafter, she married fellow architect Robert Bethune, who joined the firm. Two years later, the Bethunes added William Fuchs (rhymes with “books”) to the practice; it became known as Bethune, Bethune & Fuchs.

Bethune’s additional distinctions include:

First woman to be admitted to the American Institute of Architects(AIA;

First woman to be named a Fellow of the AIA, its highest honor;

She founded the Buffalo Society of Architects, which eventually became the AIA Buffalo/WNY chapter.

Click on picture to enlarge



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