The architectural world has mixed feelings following the American Institute of Architects' decision to give Julia Morgan their highest honor, the AIA Gold Medal. While everyone acknowledges that giving the medal to a woman is a good thing, some of questioning the timing. Morgan passed away in 1957 with around 700 designs under her belt, an impressive resumé by any standards. So the question that people are asking is: why did it take so long?
Can't say Julia Morgan doesn't deserve AIA Gold Medal. But hard not to feel it's a little odd that the first woman they give it to is dead.— Paul Goldberger (@paulgoldberger) December 14, 2013
First AIA gold medal to a female architect! Okay, so she's been dead for 50 yrs, but nobody's perfect.— Justin Davidson (@JDavidsonNYC) December 12, 2013
We think it's a little more complicated than alive versus deceased. On one hand, there are prominent female architects alive and working today including Zaha Hadid, Denise Scott Brown, and Kazuyo Sejima. But on the other hand, just because Morgan and others like her are dead and have been overlooked for many years, does that mean that American Institute of Architects should continue to overlook them in favor of the living? And if they had, would people mention Julia Morgan as a more deserving female architect? There really is no easy answer.
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