At this year’s Hay Festival in Segovia, Spain, Francine Houben joined Martha Thorne, Executive Director of the Pritzker Prize and Dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design in a conversation with Christine Murray, editor of the Architectural Review, to discuss the position of women in architecture.
Asked how the profession should change, Martha responded: “I think [it] has a lot to do to transform itself. But I also think the education does. What I like to think about at IE is how do we break those traditional models that lead to the idea that the man is the master in an office and should be the person in charge… I always try to encourage women students to work in offices or to have the internship experience in an institution where they can see women as leaders, the same case as Francine: being a role model.”
Talking about the culture at Mecanoo, Francine said: “For me it’s important that atmosphere [within the office] is pleasant. We don’t make any difference between male or female, it’s not an issue… I don’t need people who work just day and night behind a computer… It’s not good [to work 24/7] because then you can’t think. And you need rethink things, to see what’s happening in the streets or how the society is changing. You should be part of the society otherwise you can’t serve the society.”