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‘Pioneering’ woman architect Judith Edelman dies

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American architect Judith Edelman, who had been campaigning on women in architecture issues since the sixties, has died at her home in Manhattan, New York, aged 91

Edelman, who brought up that women in architecture were failing to break the glass ceiling and were paid less than men back in the seventies – an issue still rife today, has been described by the New York Times as a ‘firebrand for women in architecture’.

Starting her career at a time when practices ‘didn’t hire girls’, she founded a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the role of the female architect within the industry.

She went on to become a founding member of the Alliance of Women in Architecture and chaired the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) first task force on women in architecture.  

Edelman was also the first woman to be elected to the board of directors of the AIA’s New York chapter, where her goal was to transform what she described as an ‘exclusive gentleman’s club’.

Her tireless work on the advancement of women in the profession resulted in her being recognised as a ‘Woman of Vision’ by the National Organisation of Women in 1989.

Edelman co-founded her practice Edelman and Salzman Architects in the sixties, with Stanley Salzman.

The practice completed a number of social housing schemes, public buildings, community centres and health clinics.

Working through the eighties, the practice helped shape how funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development was used to provide housing for the country’s older population.

Edelman Partnership, as it was then known, went on to build more than eight large-scale housing developments for older people in New York and the surrounding area.

The practice merged with Sultan Architecture + Design in 2002, forming Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects.

Edelman died of a heart attack at her home in Manhattan, aged 91. She is survived by two sons, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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