The AIA New Jersey Equity in Architecture Committee Presents Designing-Women’s Lives: Transforming Place and Self 

November 15, 2023

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The AIA New Jersey Equity in Architecture Committee Presents Designing-Women’s Lives: Transforming Place and Self 

by Toby Israel, Ph.D.

Monday, December 11, 2023

6:00 – 7:00 PM

Approved for 1 AIA Continuing Education LU 

Generously hosted by Kean University, Michael Graves College, School of Public Architecture

Lecture Held in Hutchinson Hall, Room J-100

Parking Information: Visitors can park in the Morris Ave. Parking Lot. Register for a visitor’s day pass and park in any white-lined, non-reserved space on campus.

This event is a free member benefit, open to all, including the public. Registration is required. 1 AIA CEU Pending. Thank you to Kean University for hosting this event. 




Is there a ‘woman’s way of knowing’ about the environment that’s been discounted? In her new book, Designing-Women’s Lives: Transforming Place and Self, Dr. Toby Israel argues that there’s a whole realm of emotional experience of place that needs to be laced back into the built world. In this session, she suggests how female architects, especially, can engender a place-making revolution by using Design Psychology as the foundation for creating emotionally satisfying places.

To build her case, the presenter will discuss how she took renowned female place-makers through a Design Psychology Toolbox of exercises, a ‘deeper-than-deep dive’ methodology, that revealed ways these ‘greats’ transformed their home spaces. By leading audience members through similar hands-on exercises, the speaker will invite all to explore their own emotional/environmental, lived-experience. She’ll show how to apply that ‘feeling’ experience of place to the making of ‘Transcendent Liberating Design’- – luminous and empowering environments. The talk introduces the audience to a ‘design from within’ Design Psychology Toolbox, a unique programming process they can use to empower themselves and the clients they serve.

Introduction by AIA New Jersey Equity in Architecture Committee Chair, Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA

Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will be able to name 1-2 examples of how, historically, a culturally-nurtured ‘woman’s way of knowing’ has been repressed in the traditional practice of architecture.

2. After completing a Design Psychology exercise(s), participants will be able to name 1-2 ways their emotional past-place experience has (perhaps unconsciously) impacted their design sensibility.

3. Participants will be able to cite 1-2 examples of ways designing-women have tapped into their own or their clients’ lived experience to create Transcendent Liberating places that reflect deepest feelings, beliefs, culture, history, and/or future aspirations.

4. Participants will be able to outline ways they can embed the Design Psychology Toolbox of Exercises into their own programming process to help create architecture for any setting in order to elevate human experience.


About Toby Israel, Ph.D., Design Psychologist 

Toby Israel, Ph.D. is a founder of the new field of Design Psychology.  Defined as “the practice of architecture, planning and interior design in which psychology is the principal design tool,” this new discipline continues to gain international attention.  Dr. Israel has been interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Talk of the Nation and Radio Times and for The L.A. Times, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Oprah Home Magazine.


The Design Psychology one-to-one interviews and group visioning sessions she conducts bring to the fore the vast personal store of experience and emotions that contribute to an individual’s or group’s sense of place. Using this process, Dr. Israel helps clients “design from within” to create deeply human homes, healthcare, schools and other special places and products. Those she has led through her “toolbox” of exercises include renowned design icons Michael Graves, Andres Duany, Charles Jencks and Denise Scott Brown.


Dr. Israel’s international experience and groundbreaking theories about people and place are summarized in her book, Some Place Like Home: Using Design Psychology to Create Ideal Places. This “extraordinary book . . . includes thought-provoking examples that incorporate the concept of design psychology for residential, institutional and corporate design.” (Design Management Review, 06/25/04)


An acclaimed pioneer, Dr. Israel speaks both nationally and internationally, spreading the word about Design Psychology. Her most research and presentations on women and Design Psychology are summarized in her book, Designing-Women’s Lives: Transforming Place and Self:


A unique and seminal architectural study . . . .  ‘ Designing-Women’s Lives’ must be considered as a core and invaluable addition to personal, professional, corporate, college, and university library Contemporary Architecture collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.(Midwest Book Review, 05/2023)


Trained as an Environmental Psychologist, Dr. Israel has multi-disciplinary experience in design, psychology, the arts and education.  She has served as a consultant in the USA and UK including as head of the research division of the design firm LRK and of the Visual Arts Program for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. A former University of Lincoln (UK) professor of architecture and psychology in the U.K., her work combines scholarship with ‘real world’ wisdom that can be applied in everyday practice.  She currently works out of Princeton, NJ and writes Psychology Today’s “Design on My Mind” blog.


For further information CONTACT:


Toby Israel, Ph.D.



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