International Women's Day: Anne Fougeron

Anne Fougeron, First Republic Client
March 3, 2014

Since the early 1900’s, International Women’s Day has been observed throughout the world, inspiring women and celebrating their achievements. This year’s theme is ‘Inspiring Change’, and it encourages advocacy for women’s advancement everywhere, in every way. In honor of this, First Republic Bank would like to share the perspectives of some of our exceptional women clients.

Anne Fougeron is a French-American architect, and sole proprietor of Fougeron Architecture, a San Francisco based firm she started over 25 years ago. Raised in Paris and New York, she earned a bachelor of arts degree in architectural history at Wellesley College, and a master of architecture degree at the University of California, Berkeley. Fougeron has taught architectural design to both undergraduate and graduate students at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and the University of California, Berkeley and her own work has been shown in over twenty exhibitions.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am proud that I have managed to stay in business this long and that my office has completed buildings that can be both innovative and loved by our clients.

If you could turn the clock back to when you were starting your career, what advice would you give yourself?

Work your contacts and know that business development is really the key to staying in business. Accept compromise but never undervalue yourself.

Who has been a role model to you in your life/career and why? 

From the stand view of architects, figures like Jean Nouvel, Moneo, Souto de Moura, Sejima, Zaha Hadid, inspired me to create harmony between modernity and livability. I love the work of Dan Flavin and Doug Wheeler who remind me of the importance of light and light manipulation. For my career, it is seeing the women who have overcome the odds and now hold major roles in our government and in the public eye, like Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Madeleine Albright.

This year's theme for International Women's Day is 'Inspiring Change'. If you could impact change, how would women's lives look 50 years from now? 

The architecture world can feel like a microcosm of American prejudice, the ratio of women to men is pitiful and the representation of minorities is appalling. But my work has brought me to countries like India and Ethiopia, where work I produced was life changing. In 50 years, I want to see more women in all career fields but I also want to see women supporting women. In the realm of careers, we are too willing to view other women divisively or as competition, rather than as teammates.

What would you like your legacy to be? 

To show women that if they dare, they can succeed; that they can succeed without sacrificing their vision in architecture, their personal life or their femininity.

The views of the authors of these articles do not necessarily represent the views of First Republic Bank.