A triumph for women – or for stupidity?
We know that women still get a raw deal in architecture, as campaigns like that run by the AJ to improve their status and working conditions show. So what’s not to like about a headline that reads ‘The tallest tower in the US is being built by a woman’? Well quite a lot, actually.
The article, on Slicker City, profiles Nicole Dosso, a technical director at SOM, who is responsible for the delivery of the Freedom Tower. She describes her role as ‘the single senior technical coordinator representing SOM on the day-to-day execution of the job.’ Which is a pretty responsible one, and she should be congratulated. What she is not doing is ‘building the tower’ – and certainly not single-handedly. Actually this ridiculous headline may serve a purpose, to remind us that individuals do not design – or build – buildings. Practices do. There may just be a moment of design inspiration – sometimes – from one individual, but anything bigger than a house extension is certainly a joint effort, both within and beyond the architectural profession.
Still, it is good to see a powerful woman profiled, albeit in rather breathless prose. And did the author really need to tell us that ‘The day I met her at SOM’s offices on Wall Street, the 40-year-old Dosso, who runs marathons in her spare time, was effortlessly chic–more Paris than New York–in a brightly patterned Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, steeply pitched white patent leather heels, and a string of silvery pearls.’ What? You mean it is possible to be powerful and successful as a woman and still be attractive? Hold the front page.