Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 54

LEGEND AWARD

A proponent for design excellence, and a champion
for social responsibility, sustainability, and women in
leadership, Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, FIIDA, did not begin
her career expecting to be a legend in her own right.
She was not even expecting to be an architect, let alone
a principal and global design director for interiors at
Perkins+Will. Her journey inspires lessons for fellow
design professionals across generations.

By Kristen Richards,
Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA

"'You like to draw. You're good at math. Maybe you'd be interested
in architecture,'" Blumenfeld recalls him saying.
She visited six Chicago architects to learn more about
job prospects. It was the middle of the recession of the early 1970s,
and they all said variations of "Don't do it," "You won't make any
money," or "It's a tough field for a woman." That last piece of advice
came from Gertrude Lempp Kerbis, FAIA, who, after working at
Bertrand Goldberg and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, founded Lempp
Kerbis in 1967, the first woman-owned firm in Chicago. "She was a real
pioneer," Blumenfeld says. "I was not aware at the time how unusual
and remarkable she was."
The words of warning had no effect. "I completely ignored
everything they said," Blumenfeld recalls. "All I could see were
drawings, models, the collaborative atmosphere-so full of energy
and creativity. I knew this was what I wanted to do."

"I could not wait to get out of there," Blumenfeld says of her
Graduating from Harvard with distinction
hometown of Oceanside in Long Island, New York. "I was the only
While she did not know much about architecture schools at the
person in my high school of 3,000 kids who spent weekends
time, Harvard University Graduate School of Design "sounded good,"
in New York City at the Art Students League. I would walk around
and she was surprised to be accepted. Blumenfeld graduated from
the city thinking, 'Why do we live in the suburbs and not here?'"
Harvard with a master of architecture degree, with distinction,
In the 1950s, she adds, "It was assumed that girls would find a good
in 1979, and her class was composed of about 20 percent women.
husband, get married, and have kids. College was intended to make
"We [Blumenfeld and her female classmates] were a novelty, the first
you an educated person to be a suitable mate for the husband you
class with a substantial number of women. A few professors gave
would find there. So many things have changed for the better."
us problems, but for the most part, we were treated equally," she says.
Not exactly having a set career path from the start,
"When I got out of school, I just assumed that it would be an equal
she obtained a bachelor of arts degree in philosophical psychology
playing field."
from the University of Chicago, followed by a few years waitressing.
That assumption held true at her first job. In 1977, while still
For advice on next steps, she turned to her father, who had overseen
the building of about 200 public schools over 10 years as the director at Harvard, she worked for Sert, Jackson & Associates in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, starting when Josep LluĂ­s Sert was still active.
of planning and research for the New York City Board of Education.

Joan
Blumenfeld
Legend

54

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JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2018


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract Magazine - January/February 2018

Contract Magazine - January/February 2018
Contents
Editorial
Industry News
Product Focus: Set Sail
Product Briefs
designer of the year
legend award
annual interiors awards
Adaptive Reuse
Civic/Public
Education
Entertainment
Healthcare
Historic Restoration
Hotel
Lobby Repositioning
Office: Small
Office: Large
Restaurant
Retail
Showroom
Sustainable
Student
Sources
Ad Index
Bringing Nobu to Canada
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Contract Magazine - January/February 2018
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Cover2
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Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 5
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Contents
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Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Editorial
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Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Industry News
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 25
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Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Product Focus: Set Sail
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 31
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 32
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 33
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Product Briefs
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 35
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 36
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Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 40
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 41
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - designer of the year
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 43
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Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 53
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - legend award
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 55
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 56
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 57
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 58
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Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 60
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Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 63
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 64
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 65
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - annual interiors awards
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 67
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Adaptive Reuse
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 69
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 70
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 71
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Civic/Public
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 73
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 74
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 75
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Education
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 77
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 78
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 79
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Entertainment
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 81
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 82
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 83
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Healthcare
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Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 86
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 87
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Historic Restoration
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 89
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 90
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 91
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Hotel
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 93
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 94
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 95
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Lobby Repositioning
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 97
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 98
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 99
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Office: Small
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 101
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 102
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 103
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Office: Large
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 105
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 106
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 107
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Restaurant
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 109
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 110
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 111
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Retail
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 113
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 114
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 115
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Showroom
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 117
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 118
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 119
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Sustainable
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 121
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 122
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 123
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Student
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 125
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 126
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 127
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 128
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 129
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Sources
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 131
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 132
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 133
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Ad Index
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 135
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Bringing Nobu to Canada
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Cover3
Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - Cover4
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