My mother always told me that my tears didn’t move her. That sounds awfully tough but it was said in jest and helped me understand the importance of articulating my ideas logically and clearly. She was the only girl out of six kids and knew all too well the importance of not letting your emotions overcome your reasoning.
That said, I’m not a stone at all! Being emotional is the best tool to detox our minds and hearts. We should embrace our emotional understanding and show, in practice, why our ability to read and empathized with people make us even stronger professionals.
The architecture program in Brazil is a pre-set five year bachelor course in Architecture and Urbanism. Different to Australia in that you can combine shorter bachelors with a masters, enabling you to pursue a personalized qualification much more quickly. I think this is great and hope it is adopted in other countries too.
I’m a native Brazilian, born in the south and raised in the southeast, where my family still lives now. My father is an engineer. We shifted around the country a lot because of his work. For every new house we moved to, I would draw my bedroom in perspectives, even as a child I would think with excitement, about the layout possibilities! Later as student, I discovered I could go beyond toy planning. After five years I graduated as an Architect.
After practicing for three years in Brazil, wanderlust calling, I decided to move to London to improve my English skills and further apply for a masters. I was feeling ready for a new academic challenge. When I was accepted for the Masters of Sustainable Environmental Design at the Architectural Association, I couldn´t believe I was going to study at the same school Zaha Hadid had attended!
Living in London, was one of the most culturally vibrant times of my life with so much to see and to learn; I was in constant F.O.M.O [Fear of Missing Out] management mode! My masters was a full time course that consumed almost all of my time and sanity, but it was also when I felt the most inspired. I had the chance to listen to many of my idols and other incredible professionals speaking about their trajectory and work.
One of my favorite lecture series in London was called ‘AAXX 100’, which through events and publications, aimed to celebrate the 100 years of female presence in the school. By getting to know stories of the first women to join the school and their struggle to be accepted (the first student was an active Suffragette, fighting for women’s rights), I realized that we take for granted the monumental efforts made in order to change the history and pave the way for freedom which we enjoy today.
I volunteered to help by collecting data from huge, original hand-written registers from the early 20th century. There was something special about tracking these alumni women and the effects of marriage and wars on their academic life; it was like making a movie in my head. To this day, they are still collecting and processing information that will be published later this year.
I remember being horrified by some stories shared in the lecture series, such as when the BBC documentary, The Brits Who Built the Modern World, photoshopped/subtracted Patty Hopkins (architect and Michael Hopkins’ business partner), out of a photo with the other male architects mentioned in show. There was also the Denise Scott Brown Pritzker Prize controversy and the jaw-dropping numbers of women leaving the profession and not making it to senior positions. These stories helped to open my eyes to the importance of speaking openly about the gender gap, recognizing women´s accolades and perhaps most of all, promoting healthy discussion about the complexity of architectural production.
I decided to move to Australia because the idea of living 16,000km away from home (with all of the challenges it would bring) was a source of immense excitement for me! Another small incentive is that I have an Australian boyfriend… which is purely a secondary reason because us independent girls have to put ourselves first, right!
Now I find myself in Melbourne, having the pleasure of getting to know local initiatives and having to manage my fear of missing out once again! Even so, I’m finding, gratefully, that the city has as much to give as London. I am all over the MPavilion and MSD events and talks! I think these events are a great tools for networking, as this can be intimidating at the best of times. Modulating your search for knowledge towards subjects that inspire you is also great. I do get extra excited when women are the speakers or part of the panels as there is a subtle energy exchange that comes from their genuine testimonials which empowers and connects us in a grand and positive way – I love it!
I believe the choices I make play a crucial role on my growth and the person I want to become. Working to make our academic and professional goals into reality, motivates us to move forward, but can also trap us in a race to be successful. We can’t forget to look inside and listen to our instincts. Finding what really excites us.
My vision for the future includes a more collaborative dynamic between people, where our development is aligned as a community, making a positive change on a bigger scale. I hope that we as women can find the tools to express our values and knowledge, feeling reassured of our purpose within our profession.
Paty reached out and got in touch with us late last year after we spoke at MPavilion on equal gender participation in the property sector. From here, we struck up a bit of conversation, the result of which is this guest blog! Paty is warm, focused and has an absolute thirst to extend herself. Her experiences are unique and varied and she brings a wealth of knowledge to top notch conversations about architecture and the space women occupy. We can’t wait to make her Brazilian recipe for cheesy bread (as soon as we stop blogging for a moment)! So we welcome you back to 2017 with a bang! And look forward to the year ahead. Thanks Paty for all the patience and inspiration and best of luck for 2017!