She Was A Mid-Century Architect Who Led America’s Largest Women-Owned Architecture Firm At The Height Of Her Career

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Although Women’s History Month has officially ended, it doesn’t mean we all can’t take a little more time out of our day to learn about some amazing women who made an impact on history!

When was the last time you read about a great architect? Do you know the woman who led what was America’s largest women-owned architecture firm?

Her name was Chloethiel Woodard Smith, and she was an extremely accomplished American architect.

Chloethiel was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1910 and grew up in Portland, Oregon. Her parents were highly educated people, and it is said that she had an interest in architecture from a young age when her family built and designed their new home.

She decided to study architecture at the University of Oregon and earned her degree with honors in 1932. Chloethiel then received her master’s degree at Washington University in St. Louis in 1933.

There, she was one of two women out of the seven students in her graduate class. She learned a lot about community building and planting during graduate school.

In 1935, Chloethiel made her big move to Washington, D.C., where she started working for the Federal Housing Authority in 1935.

She quickly excelled in D.C., starting as a senior draftsman in the rental housing division before continuing to rise to the role of chief of research and planning in large-scale housing.

Chloethiel left Washington, D.C., for a few years and moved to Bolivia in 1942 to become a professor of architecture at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés. She worked there for two years. Then, in 1944, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

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