On June 15, 2022, the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee invited four distinct architects from Israel/Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Colombia to share their experiences of working and/or starting a practice in the US. New York is a melting pot of foreign architects who come to this international city to find new opportunities away from their home countries. After brief announcements of the WIA Upcoming Events & Programs, Around Town & Related Events, and Topics & Good Reads, we had an engaging conversation with Inessa Binenbaum (Inessa Architect of Photography), Mary Kohilam Chandrahason (Founding Partner at NDNY), Silke Rapelius, AIA (Principal at GKV Architects), and Isabel Saffon Sanin (Associate Director of Design – Neighborhood Equity at Center for Court Innovation).

We learned about their personal backgrounds and what led them to build their careers and practices in New York. Each of them comes from a different part of the world, but they all embody the true New Yorker spirit, pursuing their paths with passion, grit, and perseverance. A unifying theme was the “immigrant optimism” each embodied, to always find value in your current conditions, and to make the most from very little.

This city is fortunate to attract talented foreign architects, with unique perspectives, skills, and design sensibilities. Their accomplishments and successes contribute to our built environment. The attendees included many foreign architects who also shared their insights, challenges, and successes while navigating a new country, language, and culture. Once again, the spirit of optimism and determination prevailed. We are grateful for all who attended, asked questions, and shared their experiences. We believe that we are stronger and richer the more diverse we are.

For the WIA June Committee Meeting Agenda, including the speakers’ bios, please download it here. We have exciting Upcoming Events & Programs for the summer, and we look forward to seeing you soon!