SONA’s Katina Vlandis Speaks to the Canberra Times on Women In Architecture.
University of Canberra SONA representative Katina Vlandis.
Check out the below interview between SONA’s Katina Vlandis and Tony Trobe of the Canberra Times.
TT: Since 1984 it has been against the law to discriminate against someone on the basis of gender but it seems to still be a social issue.
KV: Those who question whether female architects are treated differently should consider a quote by revolutionary architect Zaha Hadid when she said ‘Would they still call me a diva if I was a man?’ I do not see gender as an issue in a profession that should be based on merit and the ability to create innovative ideas. Standing up as a representative for Architecture for the University of Canberra has given me more confidence to pursue my aspirations and interact with professionals that I may otherwise have been reluctant to do. This has allowed me to connect with local architects and in turn, given me the opportunity to platform what I believe in, such as the promotion of women in architecture.
TT: All universities seek to find a point of differentiation, how does the University of Canberra shape up?
KV: After attending the open day at the University of Canberra in 2014, I was attracted to the way that the course was more student-focused and practically oriented towards design. Studying architecture at UC has allowed me to work on projects that are specific to Canberra. This gives me the opportunity to immerse myself into design projects by physically being present at the sites of study.
TT: Most young people seem to express a desire to fly the coup from Canberra – does this city offer the right balance of employment prospects, career progression, project opportunities and lifestyle benefits for you?
KV: I feel that Canberra is a place that offers opportunities in a way that larger cities often cannot. Canberra is a close knit community that provides opportunities to network, both as a student and a graduate. Canberra has a relaxed lifestyle but at the same time is dynamic and constantly growing. Seeing this city develop and evolve is something that excites me and something I would like to be part of.
TT: Young people are often accused of being apathetic, what have you got from your activism.
Getting involved with SONA (Student Organised Network for Architects) has dramatically given me a new insight into the architecture profession. In short, I feel that I am part of a wider community of likeminded people, all of which are supportive and encouraging regardless of my age or gender. Interacting with other architecture students from universities around Australia has also broadened my perspective into how a passion for architecture and design is what ultimately opens the door for greater opportunities.
TT: What advice would you give to young women considering a career in Architecture?
KV: Entering a profession that has traditionally been seen as ‘male dominated’, I think it is important to reinforce a positive gender equity stance from the start. Architecture to many is an expression of the individual. The amount of work that is produced by any individual should be valued and appreciated. Women offer a different perspective and should never be reluctant to promote diversity within an industry that must welcome pluralism in all aspects, including gender.