The Pritzker Architecture Award is the top recognition award for the outstanding contributions to the field of architecture. Despite the noble intentions of the award, there are several challenges it faces. The major one is the issue of gender balance when it comes to giving the prize. This paper will analyze the New York Times article “Partner without the Prize”. Additionally, it will give varied opinions in response to the pertinent questions in the article.
Robin Pogrebin’s article “Partner without the Prize” gives the views of Denise Scott Brown on the Pritzker Architecture Award. According to Denise Scott, the 1991 award should have been given to both her and her husband, rather than to her husband alone. Because of the fact that she was not recognized during the event, she seeks recognition and wants an award ceremony to be held in her honor. In this light, the students of Harvard’s Graduate School began a petition for her inclusion in the award. According to Pritzker awarding panel, the main reason why she was not recognized was not discrimination but the fact that at that time, only individuals could be recognized and not groups (Pogrebin).
Denise’s plight has brought to the fore the issue of women’s recognition in the fields that are thought to be male dominated. Since the inception of the prize in 1979, only one woman, Zaha Hadid, has ever been awarded it. According to the article, one quarter of all architecture employees are women and only 17% are directors and partners of architecture firms. The article further notes that the Pritzker prize could as well be a part of the problem, according to Beverly Willis, the founder of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (Pogrebin).
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There are several questions that can be raised after reading the article. The first question is whether women are truly sidelined in the industry. This is a pertinent question since the industry is highly dominated by men. Despite the fact that there is a significant number of female students who study architecture, the number is not reflected in the industry. A small percentage of employed female architects and of those who hold higher office in firms is a worrying trend.
There is also a question of recognition of outstanding performance by women in the industry. According to the Pritzker Architecture Award statistics, only one woman has ever been recognized. Denise could be the first woman to get this award, but she was sidelined despite her significant contributions to the industry. Even after the jury acknowledged her role in the firm, which she shares with her husband, she was not recognized. Furthermore, she is acknowledged alongside her husband to make substantial academic contributions to the industry (“Jury Citation”).
From my point of view, the issue of sexual discrimination in the industry is evident. It needs to be addressed promptly to avoid future problems. Women make highly significant contributions to the industry and, therefore, their input should be respected just as much as that one of men. Those people who are responsible for making judgments and issuing awards need to be fair when coming to a decision. By acknowledging Denise as a qualified candidate and including her in the 1991 award, the Pritzker awarding panel will make a step in the right direction. It will strengthen the credibility of the panel and have a positive impact on the industry.