AIA NJ Celebrates International Womens Day with Architect Milka Bliznakov and the International Archive of Women in Architecutre

March 8, 2018

Milka Bliznakov (1927-2010) was a Bulgarian architect, who dedicated extensive efforts to improve the visibility of women in the field of architecture. Female contribution was often overlooked, which led her to establish the International Archive of Women in Architecture in 1985.

She emigrated to the United States for her studies and founded the Institute of Modern Russian Culture in Texas in 1972. In 1998, a prize in her name was created, to annually reward research that furthers knowledge of women’s contributions to architecture.

From UVA:

The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) was established in 1985 as a joint program of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. The purpose of the Archive is to document the history of women’s contributions to the built environment by collecting, preserving, and providing access to the records of women’s architectural organizations and the professional papers of women architects, landscape architects, designers, architectural historians and critics, and urban planners.

The IAWA began with a collecting focus on the papers of pioneering women in architecture, individuals who practiced at a time when there were few women in the field. However, the IAWA welcomes materials documenting all generations of women in architecture in order to fill serious gaps in the availability of primary source materials for architectural, women’s, and social history research. Women interested in enhancing the historic record of architecture and related design professions should visit our donations page or contact the IAWA Archivist about donating materials to the IAWA.

The IAWA also collects books, biographical information, and published materials as part of its mission to act as a clearinghouse of information about the global history of women in architecture. The IAWA represents about 2000 cubic feet, divided into around 450 collections. This includes roughly 150 significant manuscript collections (primary source materials that have not been previously published) which document the legacies of individual women architects, practices, organizations, and major exhibitions. Additional resources include approximately 300 smaller research and reference collections, which comprise biographical materials, previously published sources, and a small amount of unpublished primary sources for many other women and women’s associations. The IAWA features women from nearly 40 countries, with materials written in at least 17 languages.

Contribute to or learn more about the IAWA here.

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