I am not sure who the upstate architects are but it is a good chance that one of them might be UB professor Despina Stratigakos. A Google search on 'Architect Barbie' brings her name up on several hits. The Buffalo News reported here on Ms Stratigakos and her efforts on the part of Barbie - along with her earlier failed job interview. The News story notes that 'The snub inspired Stratigakos to set up an "Architect Barbie" exhibition in 2007 at the University of Michigan. She asked students and faculty to imagine what the doll would look like. One colleague produced a "Glass Ceiling Architect Barbie," using a pregnant doll as the centerpiece. Stratigakos has put together an interesting resume based on her study of feminism, culture and the built environment.
Stratigakos from the UB web site: Assistant Professor Despina Stratigakos is an architectural historian with an overarching interest in gender and modernity in European cities. Her recent book, A Women's Berlin (University of Minnesota Press 2008), explores the conception of a city built by and for women, a place that was imagined and partially realized in the years before the First World War. The book has received international recognition with the DAAD Book Prize of the German Studies Association and the Milka Bliznakov Prize from Virginia Tech. Stratigakos has also published on the public image of women architects, the gender politics of the Werkbund, connections between architectural and sexual discourses in Weimar Germany, and exiled Jewish women architects in the United States. Her 2007 exhibition on "Architect Barbie" at the University of Michigan received national media attention. Stratigakos is currently working on a new book, Hitler at Home, which investigates the architectural and ideological construction of the Führer's domesticity. This research is funded by grants from the Graham Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. In fall 2010, Stratigakos will be a visiting scholar at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. In spring 2011, she will be a faculty fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Rice University. Stratigakos received her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College and taught at Harvard University and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at the University of Buffalo's Department of Architecture.
Although the profession of architecture today is very much dominated by men at the top this will not be the case for long. When I was at the UB School of Architecture and Planning over 20 years ago my class had about 80 students of which only about 5 were women. Last December I served as a guest critic in the final studio reviews and found the class to be a majority female. I have seen the same reversal of gender at other schools as well. The industry is increasingly celebrating the work of women architects such as Zaha Hadid and Jeanne Gang among others. Will this make a difference in the form of architecture as the male ego is pushed off the architectural stage? Perhaps this is the kind of building Architect Barbie will be designing - Barbie Shanghai store.