By Guest Blogger Kristin Potterton
Hello Docomomo US/WEWA community – my name is Kristin Potterton and I have just completed my first year as a Ph.D. student in the Built Environment at the University of Washington. After more than a decade working as a structural engineer, I decided to return to school to more deeply explore my longtime interests in historic and existing structures, looking at the history and preservation of the built environment within a range of contexts. I am particularly interested in helping tell new stories, including those related to the modern era.
I am excited to be working with Docomomo US/WEWA this summer to explore women working regionally in the design fields during the modern period. As a woman working in professional practice, I know that there is an ongoing struggle to increase the diversity of the building industry and believe that being able to tell stories of female pioneers working in architecture and allied fields is an important tool to inspire both future and current designers. In looking specifically at the Pacific Northwest region, the women working in architecture and other design fields in the modern era are not only some of the first female practitioners regionally, but they also entered the field at a time of regional population growth and development alongside design changes and technological innovations of modernism in the building industries. In short, these women participated in the transitions of the design and construction fields over the twentieth century and their work stands alongside that of their male colleagues in telling the story of modern architecture of the region. I am looking forward to learning more about women practitioners – their stories, their work, and their legacies – to better understand the development of the design fields in this region and the story of Pacific Northwest regional modernism. I am happy to have this chance to help bring the stories of these women to the Docomomo US/WEWA membership and the broader community over the coming months.
Image credit: Kristin Potterton