185 - Natalie de Blois — To Tell the Truth

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Natalie de Blois loved systems – understanding how things worked. For her, it wasn’t just pretty buildings, she challenged the code and questioned the status quo. And like the buildings she designed, there was a certain complexity to Natalie herself. She was a woman of resilient beauty, inspiring yet distant, ahead of her time.

Natalie de Blois (1921–2013), a pioneering woman architect, contributed to some of the most iconic modernist works for corporate America, all while raising four children. After leaving a significant mark on post-war NYC Park Avenue, she transferred to the Skidmore Owings and Merrill Chicago office, where she became actively involved in the architecture feminist movement and was one of the leaders in the newly formed Chicago Women in Architecture advocacy group. Later, she finished her career as a professor at UT Austin, where she trained a future generation of architects.

The Kitchen Sisters Present Episode 2 from New Angle: Voice, produced by Brandi Howell with editorial advising from Alexandra Lange.

New Angle: Voice is a new podcast exploring the lives and careers of female pioneers of American Architecture brought to you by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, with support from Miller Knoll and SOM.

Special thanks to Matt Alvarez and Iowa Public Radio for their production assistance. Thanks also to Gabrielle Esperdy, Audrey Matlock, Carol Krinsky, Carol Ross Barney, Margaret McCurry, Peter Dixon, John Newman, Liz Watykus, Julia Murphy and Robert de Blois. The archival audio of Natalie de Blois interviewed by Betty Blum is from the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Architects Oral History Project. Thank you to Nathaniel Parks, Director of the Art Institute of Chicago Archives, for help with this recording.

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