“… there is no need whatever of a woman architect. No one wants her, no one yearns for her and there is no special line in architecture to which she is better adapted than a man . [The woman architect] has exactly the same work to do as a man. When a woman enters the profession she will be met kindly and will be welcome but not as a woman, only as an architect.” ~ Louise Blanchard Bethune
In a predominantly masculine profession, Louise Blanchard Bethune proved that she could hold her own. It was also clear that Louise felt that there was no need to distinguish women and men architects from each other. She felt that they did the same job, and therefore required no special treatment.
“Good design is good business.” -Florence Knoll
Known in familiar circles simply as “Shu”, Florence Schust Knoll was a memorable figure in mid- century modern design. She has had a profound influence on more than 50 years of buildings’ interiors.
Knoll graduated from the Kingswood School before studying at the famous Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She also received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Armour Institute, which is now the Illinois Institute of Technology. Following this, Florence Knoll briefly worked with many leaders of the Bauhaus movement, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, and Wallace K. Harrison.
In the 1940’s, while working for Wallace K. Harrison in New York , Shu met a well known furniture company owner named Hans Knoll. She convinced Hans that, even in America’s wartime economy, she could help bring in business to his company by expanding into interior design and working with architects. He asked her to design an office for Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, along with many other jobs to follow. In 1946, Shu and Hans married and formed Knoll Associates, Inc.
Shu is famous for her “total design” philosophy. As the director of the Knoll Planning Unit, she revolutionized interior space planning. Her approach was to embrace everything about a space. This included: