Revealing Presence: Women in Architecture at the University of Illinois, 1874–2019

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Collage of architectural renderings by women architectural graduates from the University of Illinois
Collage of architectural renderings by women architectural graduates from the University of Illinois. Image provided by the Illinois School of Architecture, 2019.

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Mary Louisa Page,  ca. 1878. RS 26/4/1, fldr. 78. Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives.
Mary Louisa Page, ca. 1878. RS 26/4/1, fldr. 78. Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives.

Exhibition

On view
Sep 26, 2019 to Oct 12, 2019
Main Level, East Gallery

Revealing Presence illuminates the scale and breadth of architectural work by women and its enduring contribution to the built environment.

Mary Louisa Page became the first woman to earn an architecture degree in the United States in 1878, a decade after the University of Illinois offered its first architecture course in 1868. Page’s pioneering achievement began the long history of women in architecture in Illinois. This exhibition reveals both a growing and a significant presence of women in the profession, despite persistent challenges, and celebrates their remarkable accomplishments.

Revealing Presence illuminates the scale and breadth of architectural work by women and its enduring contribution to the built environment. Historical data and architectural images—presented chronologically—bring to light how Illinois has been a trailblazer while also mirroring the imbalanced growth between women and men in education and practice.

Inclusive and declarative, this exhibition visualizes the diversity and depth of alumnae work in a collective display. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides a valuable and representative case study of the history of architectural education at a public, land-grant institution. Since Page’s enrollment in 1874, the School of Architecture has become one of the nation’s largest, and women currently comprise over 40% of architecture graduates. The exhibition seeks to reveal, through its design and content, the incremental progress toward gender equity and simultaneously, the impact of the growing presence of women in the profession.

Organized by Sara Bartumeus and Marci Uihlein, Associate Professors in the School of Architecture, with design assistance by Andrea Melgarejo De Berry and David Emmons and research assistance by Hannah Brostoff, Zebao Chen, Lauren Garriott, and Anthony LoCasio

Exhibition and events supported in part by the Office of the Chancellor, College of Fine and Applied Arts, Illinois School of Architecture, Gensler, RATIO, and Krannert Art Museum. Paid for by the Student Cultural Programming Fee.

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