Enamored with Place: As Woman+As Architect Wendy Bertrand Author
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Lyrical, insightful, and pleasantly avant-garde, this is the story of an intensely creative and ambitious young woman who discovered her love for place, for design, for building--that is, for architecture--even before she knew the word. It is an easy-to-read account chronicling the life and times of one in the early '60s. As a single mother, Wendy Bertrand accepted job security over the potential glamour, prestige, or celebrity of private practice, where architectural stars shine. She tells us how she pursued a career while continuing to value her perspective and insight as a woman, a mother, and someone who cares passionately about social equity. Her love of place infuses every aspect of her personal and professional life. She tells us of her adventures in travel, education, marriage, childbirth, motherhood, and work. This everyday architect worked in the traditionally male-valued US Navy from 1973 to 1991, and within her civilian job she found ways to add humanistic features to that institutional military engineering culture. She took pride in public service while creating opportunities to improve workplace norms. In effect, the management and design decisions she embraced continue to challenge cultural convention in the workplace today. She reflects on how what she knows now could influence the way our culture goes about the making of place. This is also a story about a woman coming into her own as she matures, enjoys the fiber arts, and embraces the elements of her life that have enduring value.Most of us grow, with our struggles and (hopefully) triumphs. Wendy Bertrand tells us how she grew to be firm, outspoken, hard-hitting, and confident. Her story is most certainly a woman's tale, but it will touch all readers. It will invigorate anyone who seeks to remedy the ills and imperfections of our society, our environment, and our professions.I admire the skill with which Wendy invites us into her heart, her mind, and her senses. We learn about the care with which she as an architect has approached every job. We learn how she develops the will and ability to tackle the difficult aspects of life. We enjoy, with her, the various successes she has achieved.Enamored with Place deserves more than reading; it deserves emulating, both in the efforts that women undertake and in the examples they provide for one another. Let us hope, too, that it enlightens the actions and views of men who work with women in all professions.Ellen Perry Berkeley, architectural writer; volume editor of Architecture: A Place for Women;formerly a senior editor of the Architectural Forum


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