Sara Zewde of Harlem-based Studio Zewde will give the inaugural Norma Merrick Sklarek Lecture at Barnard College on Wednesday, March 29. The Norma Merrick Sklarek Lecture honors Barnard alumna Norma Sklarek, one of the first Black women architects in the US, by inviting current groundbreaking and influential designers to campus to be in dialogue with our community. Following Sara Zewde’s presentation, alumna Elsa MH Mäki CC’17 will moderate an expanded conversation. Karen Fairbanks, Claire Tow Professor of Professional Practice and Chair of the Architecture Department, will introduce the event, and the program will be followed by a wine and cheese reception.
Sara Zewde is founding principal of Studio Zewde, a design firm in New York City practicing landscape architecture, urbanism, and public art. Named to Architectural Digest’s AD100 and an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York, the firm is celebrated for its design methods that sync culture, ecology, and craft. In parallel with practice, Sara serves as Assistant Professor of Practice at Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is currently writing a book on her research retracing Frederick Law Olmsted’s journeys through the Slave South. Sara holds a Master in Landscape Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a Master in City Planning from MIT, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Statistics from Boston University.
Norma Merrick Sklarek attended Barnard in 1944-45 and graduated from Columbia with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1950. In 1980, she became the first Black woman elected to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. Breaking barriers throughout her career, her influence continues to resonate today.