Business of Architecture is a podcast for ‘architect-nation’ hosted by Enoch Sears. The intention of doing podcasts is to give tips, strategies, and secrets to run a profitable and impactful architectural practice that helps to bring out the best of us. Enoch Sears interviews architects of different backgrounds who are doing remarkable work in their chosen niche.
Episode 334 is a podcast with Julia Gamolina, a director of the design strategy in a multinational firm, who also owns an online publication platform that celebrates women in architecture.
About Julia Gamolina
Julia Gamolina is a New York-based architect. She received her Bachelor of Architecture degree at Cornell University, New York and was awarded Charles Goodwood Sands memorial medal for excellence in the thesis of architecture. She started her career with a traditional path by joining a design firm in New York. She navigated the complexities of professional practice early in her career and realized that the conventional path could not satisfy her robust passion for architecture.
Julia explains that she was interested in interviewing people and has loved to listen to their stories since childhood. During her first job, her favourite part of the day was client meetings, talking about the goals of the project, expectations of clients, etc. Today, she is the Director of Strategy at Trahan Architects, a global architecture firm in New York. Her job profile includes focusing on new business, digital communications, brand development, and all aspects of firm growth.
Julia Gamolina is a founder and Editor of Madame Architect.org. It is an online magazine about, by, and for women in architecture. The website is a sought-after platform with over 120 influential interviewees that have shared numerous stories about their experiences and careers. The inspiration which led to her creating Madame Architect is the support of women in the industry she received early in her education and career.
The purpose of this publication is to provide a platform that encourages women who consider entering this industry by showing the myriad choices they have in crafting a dynamic, interesting, and meaningful career.
In the podcast, she talks about the internalized misogyny that exists within the field of architecture and design. Women being women, approach the problem differently, and therefore, it makes a difference. When it comes to practising the profession, they are expected to work like they do not own a family. She believes that things are changing but at a slow pace.
With the experience of interviewing 120 female architects, she says: “No woman wants to be known as a woman in architecture. They just want to be known as architects, professionals, and experts in their field of interest.” She urges female professionals to avoid belittling themselves in front of others. She suggests that defending oneself by saying “just because I am a woman….” will only feed the misogynistic idea. Instead, they should explain their role and emphasize their contribution.
She urges youth to try and keep gender aside and think of themselves as humans and professionals. A balance between work and personal life is a must for both genders.
Architects beyond architecture
In the podcast, Julia explains how it was crucial to her to reject the traditional or typical path, focusing on her interests and love for architecture instead of the pressures and expectations set by others. She is the Director of Strategy at Trahan Architects, where her role is to build a strategy for trade. She builds business strategy, brand strategy, communication strategies, speaking to press, managing social media, etc. She believes architects can expand their role beyond architecture. Due to their creative head, they can be great business people and creative leaders. They could be good in the fashion industry, art, and film creation.
Five Takeaways from The Podcast
- Follow your interests at the time, and make decisions based on that. It is a much better way to build something authentic for yourself and to be doing something that you are meant to do.
- In your career, set an eye on one thing. Be very strategic and aim for the prize.
- Be real with reality. Don’t defend yourself by saying: “ just because I am a woman…” instead emphasize the importance of your contribution.
- Women in architecture are making a difference. So, Keep gender aside and focus on your work as a professional. Success will eventually follow.
- There is much more to offer in architecture, other than architecture.
Julia Gamolina, at a very young age, is breaking glass ceilings with her work by contributing to women in the field. She is a Founding Member of ‘The Wing’- A network of community spaces for women, a member of ‘Brick & Wonder’- A member of the Female Founder Collective, and a communications co-chair of ‘ULI New York’s Young Leaders Group’. In 2019, Julia received the Special Citation from AIANY for her work with Madame Architect, and was named one among Professional Women in Construction’s “20 Under 40”. Julia Gamolina with Madame Architect is inspiring many Women in architecture to take a step ahead in their careers and break the norms.