Women in Architecture Committee Founder Speaks to New Generation

Event: Women in Architecture Breakfast with Laurie Maurer
Location: Center for Architecture; 04.08.09
Speakers: Laurie Maurer, FAIA — Principal, Maurer and Maurer Architects
Organizers: AIANY Women in Architecture Committee

Laurie Maurer, FAIA, speaking to the Women in Architecture Committee.

Kimberly Chin

Trained by Philip Johnson and Marcel Breuer, Laurie Maurer, FAIA, works passionately to preserve classic ideals of architectural practice with her partner-in-life-and-business, Stanley Maurer, AIA. They keep their firm small, and design and draft by hand — with pencils. Because of shared values and goals, the Maurers agreed early on in their practice to be home for dinner every night and impressed upon employees to maintain private interests beyond work. Recently, Laurie Maurer presented her perspectives to the current generation of women architects at a Women in Architecture Committee breakfast.

Maurer’s years working under Johnson and Breuer were invaluable apprenticeships that are now less accessible in contemporary firms. Hand drawing warrants a design process not possible with computer software, she believes. She described sitting back in her chair, cigarette in hand, contemplating a design problem. The process of drawing and having to erase by hand permits time to deliberate, which is a very different process than the expedient digital drafting.

Maurer sees the architectural profession morphing. She shared a story about a young architect who complained about having to draft because she is still a junior at her firm. Since senior level staff members in modern firms handle marketing and business development much of the time, Maurer questioned whether the profession will soon be divided in two: architects who design and draw in smaller firms, and something more descriptive of managerial duties imposed upon principals in larger firms.