Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA
Courtesy the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA

The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) has announced that Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is its new executive director. This news was delivered at the research and education nonprofit organization’s annual Industry Leaders Roundtable, which is being held today and tomorrow in San Francisco.

Kracauer was a principal at now-defunct architecture and design firm Swanke Hayden Connell, in New York, as well as the managing director for the Center for Architecture and the AIA New York Chapter. During her tenure at the Center for Architecture from 2006 to 2016, she initiated the city’s popular Archtober festival, which opens private and behind-the-scenes spaces to the public and, as its name suggests, is ongoing this month. Kracauer was also the managing director of Oculus magazine and an active volunteer with the association WX: New York Women Executives in Real Estate.

Kracauer replaces Carol Shapiro, an entrepreneur in the fields of criminal and social justice.

In BWAF’s press release, Kracauer said that “at no time in the past have the cultural barriers for women been so conspicuously on view in the media, and on the minds of the general population.” The executive director role at BWAF, she added, “culminates my personal narrative, which started with being one of the earliest women at Princeton [University] in the 1970s, when the only restroom facilities for women were labeled ‘staff.’ ”

BWAF, based in New York City and founded in 2002 by founding chair Beverly Willis, FAIA, supports the advancement and careers of women in the building industry—namely architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and construction. In the profession of architecture, women comprise 42 percent of graduates from accredited schools, but only 26 percent of licensed architects and 17 percent of firm leadership, according to BWAF. These findings are similar to those found in studies by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the American Institute of Architects, and AIA San Francisco committee Equity by Design.