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Women Shaping Houston Architecture: Part 1


March is Women’s History Month so we sat down with three of the most influential women in Houston architecture to learn about their stories and secrets to success. Spoiler alert: it’s a pretty impressive group. (We'll introduce you to three more next week!)

Carrie Glassman Shoemake, FAIA

Founding partner and president of Glassman Shoemake Maldonado, Carrie Glassman Shoemake has been part of the architecture scene for 40 years. She tells us her parents encouraged her and her siblings to find something they love and do it well. For Carrie, art, architecture and design fit the bill. 

When she began her career, women architects were few and far between. One of her first jobs was working at a 300-person firm that employed only one other woman. At the ripe age of 29, Carrie ventured out and started her own company. Looking back, she tells us she can’t believe how young she was, but she knew she wanted to take control of her career and work environment.

Carrie (sporting Go Texan Day attire above) is a member of the prestigious AIA College of Fellows and in 2013, AIA Houston named GSMA the firm of the year. Over the years, projects Carrie has worked on have received 14 AIA or TSA design awards and have been featured in over 40 tours and publications. A few noteworthy GSMA projects around the city include New Hope Housing at Brays Crossing & Rittenhouse, University of Houston Center for Students with Disabilities and an addition and renovation to the first house in River Oaks.

When she’s not behind a computer or with a client, Carrie enjoys visiting art museums, traveling, reading, spending time with her friends and family, and trying not to take life too seriously

Julie Hendricks, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Kirksey VP Julie Hendricks has been pushing the sustainable design envelope in Houston for years, but her fascination with architecture began in college. As an art major, Julie designed interactive installations and quickly realized how much she enjoyed having people interact with her work. She notes she was lucky enough to have Val Glitsch and Natalye Appel as studio professors and was inspired by their success and beautiful work. 

Julie is an advocate for sustainable design and while she enjoys working on architectural projects, influencing policy is where she finds her greatest satisfaction. She’s worked with and led advocacy groups that have successfully lobbied for a variety of energy code improvements and more stringent energy and water performance requirements for state-funded buildings. Last session, she worked on the passage of a new statewide energy code, IECC 2015, which was passed into law and will go into effect this fall. IECC 2015 will result in about 30% savings for new commercial buildings over current standards.

The largest project Julie’s worked on is the 1.6M SF Tenaris Bay City Campus and two of her favorites are a LEED Platinum rehabilitation juvenile detention facility and the LEED Gold Energy Center Campus she worked on with Trammell Crow. Both projects feature no shortage of sustainable bells and whistles and encourage users to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Julie has provided sustainability consulting on 7.8M SF of projects, generated more than 2.6 million BTU of energy saved annually through her advocacy efforts, participated in over 70 speaking engagements and was named AIA Houston’s Young Architect of the Year in 2012. Somewhere along the way, Julie finds time to relax and tells us her hobby is being a mom because there’s no time for anything else. 

Diane Osan, FAIA, ACHA

With over 36 years of experience, FKP CEO Diane Osan has been impacting Houston’s built environment for years. Diane tells us she began to think about her future career path at age 12 and realized she had a strong aptitude for math and science but a passion for art. After she took an architectural drawing class as a sophomore in high school, she was sold. 

Early in her career, women weren’t commonly found on construction sites, and she admits it took a lot of finesse and fortitude to maintain her confidence. Diane has long been inspired by Cheryl Stavins, a former client at Texas Children’s Hospital and later a co-worker at FKP. She says Cheryl’s strong leadership skills and ability to listen to stakeholders inspired her. 

Diane has worked on numerous noteworthy projects throughout the Houston area, including the 796k SF Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women. More than just designing spaces, Diane loves fostering transformative results for her clients, like designing a neonatal intensive care unit that helps babies go home with their families faster. She’s received numerous personal and project-related accolades over the years, including being named the YMCA of Houston’s Outstanding Woman of Achievement for Medicine, Science & Technology in 2001 (she was the first architect to be recognized in this category).

When she’s not at the office, Diane loves traveling, reading, gardening, creating art and spending time with her family. Despite being scattered across the country, she and her siblings get together for a big reunion every year.