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A Community Touchstone and Resource, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation Grows into New HQ 

A Community Touchstone and Resource, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation Grows into New HQ 

Named “The Bev” after the nonprofit’s founder and muse, the new Manhattan headquarters of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation also hosts programs, exhibits, events and education

NEW YORK CITY — Leading national women’s advocacy organization the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) has announced the opening of The Bev, a new multiuse space and the foundation’s headquarters offices, located in Manhattan. The group’s new, women-focused community meeting spaces offer “a beacon for gender equity and innovation” dedicated to incubating firms, producing educational media, and hosting strategic gatherings to advance and elevate women in their work lives, says BWAF executive director Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, who spearheaded the initiative. 

Created as a community hub for transformative partnerships, the new space serves as a dynamic gathering and activity center driven by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation’s leadership and influence. The Bev offers 2,000 square feet for various public and internal uses, as well as a new East Coast home base for women architects, engineers, construction (AEC) executives and allied professionals. This fresh nexus of activity already hosted BWAF’s noted “Emerging Leaders” program and new interview recordings for its acclaimed audio documentary series, New Angle: Voice. BWAF has also debuted its first exhibition, Pioneering Women of American Architecture, at The Bev.

“We are so excited about our new home, The Bev, which is so much more than just a physical place for our work,” says Angelica T. Baccon, AIA, a principal of SHoP Architects and chair of BWAF’s Board of Trustees. “It’s a vibrant hub designed to unite the BWAF community both physically and virtually, with versatile spaces to house our executive offices, meetings, a woman-owned firm incubator, educational offerings, and state-of-the-art media production, all fostering collaboration and innovation for our community of supporters throughout our metropolitan area and beyond.” 

Located at the nexus of local and regional rail, the High Line and the Hudson River Park at 4 Manhattan West, The Bev offers a newly appointed lounge, conference and meeting space, offices for the group’s foundation staff, and setups for BWAF’s board activities, including virtual and in-person meetings. The Bev is generously sponsored by Brookfield Properties and located in the SOM-designed Manhattan West development. Both Brookfield and SOM are longtime supporters of the foundation. Angelica Baccon (SHoP) donated full design services for the interiors of the new multiuse headquarters for The Bev.

“The Bev stands as a symbol of the power inherent in collaboration,” says Michele O’Connor, PE, LEED AP, past chair of BWAF’s board and principal at the engineering firm Langan. “It is a testament to the boundless possibilities that arise when diverse talents and shared commitment come together. The dedication and expertise brought by these women have been instrumental in creating a space we are confident will help inspire and empower generations to come.” 

Says Julia Murphy, AIA, partner at SOM and chair of the BWAF board’s nominating committee, “The Bev is a community space that firmly grounds the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation at the center of urban life and nurtures our expanding cultural impact. This fast-paced, economical fitout has yielded a high-profile venue for multilayered stakeholder groups and a range of programs that promote vitality, equity, and community for women worldwide in the AEC and related fields.”

Full-time occupants of The Bev include the executive director, all communications and programming staff, as well as the publications and social media coordinator and the producer of the audio documentaries. The second-floor space has been provided with support by Brookfield Properties, whose executive vice president of design and construction, Sabrina Kanner, led the work and championed the inclusion of BWAF. Other collaborators and team members include JBB, Darby Construction, StickBulb, RavenHill Studio, Estiluz, and Crosby Street Studios, with select furnishings donated by WeWork.

New Programming, Exhibits, Events

According to BWAF’s Kracauer, the foundation has celebrated the opening of the new exhibition designed by Yay Brigade, Pioneering Women of American Architecture, a companion to the acclaimed online resource created by co-directors Mary McLeod and Victoria Rosner. In early December as well, BWAF hosted 12 promising women practitioners for its first Emerging Leaders session, the innovative professional development forum for select women between five and 10 years out of school. Two more Emerging Leaders sessions animate The Bev‘s spaces in January and February.

“Along with our leadership meetings, The Bev will host upcoming events and programs, including our new video to debut on Beverly Willis’s amazing life, the New Angle: Voice wrap party, a Friends Program to welcome frequent visitors, and roundtables with leading journalists, feminists and experts on issues impacting women in the AEC fields,” says BWAF’s outgoing executive director Kracauer. “We also welcome individual and group visitors by appointment — just reach us at info@bwaf.org to arrange your visit!”

BWAF will be hosting its own gatherings and talks, as well as lending its space to likeminded organizations for their events, too. An official housewarming and launch party will be held at The Bev in the early spring. In this way, BWAF is at the forefront of a cultural revolution, reshaping the narrative of women’s contributions in the built environment. Through award-winning exhibitions, websites, media, and programs, BWAF collaborates with museums, universities, professional organizations, and other groups to propel women to leadership positions in the design and construction fields.

Founded in 2002 by the late Beverly Willis, FAIA, on the principle of acknowledging, cultivating, and valuing women’s contributions across the building industry, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation champions gender equity in leadership and recognition in architecture, design, landscape, engineering, technology, real estate, and construction. The foundation achieves its mission through research, documentation, public education, and transformative industry practices, striving to build a global movement that celebrates women’s impact on the built environment — past, present, and future.