For more than five decades, Beverly Willis, FAIA, has pioneered contributions to design and architecture. Influenced by her earlier career as an artist and industrial designer, she became part of the US adaptive reuse retail design’s modern movement. In 1971, before the existence of the desktop computer, she produced the first software program for use in planning large-scale apartment developments and new towns. In the early 1980s, Beverly designed the San Francisco Ballet Building, which was the first building in the United States dedicated solely to a major ballet company.
Beverly Willis also has a distinguished career of service holding positions never held by a woman before. In 1978, Beverly was the first woman elected to represent AIA California Council. Beverly is also a founding trustee of the National Building Museum. In 2002, Beverly, at age 70, established the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation to advance the knowledge and recognition of women’s contributions to architecture.
Shortly after receiving the 2017 AIACC Lifetime Achievement Award at the Monterey Design Conference, Beverly sat down with Michael Strogoff, aecKnowledge’s Founder, and discussed her unconventional path to licensure, how she got involved in AIA, her innovative use of technology, and her view of a profession dominated by men.