At SB Architects, Jorey Friedman and Pinar Harris champion gender equality in every project they tackle.

For Jorey Friedman and Pinar Harris, advocating and creating go hand in hand. PHOTO COURTESY OF SB ARCHITECTS
For Jorey Friedman and Pinar Harris, advocating and creating go hand in hand. PHOTO COURTESY OF SB ARCHITECTS

Long before the #MeToo movement brought gender equality to the forefront of the national conversation, SB Architects ( was already making giant strides in that regard. The Miami firm’s policy is to maintain a 50-50 male-to-female ratio among its employees to ensure equal representation and diversity. All that has to do with the efforts of principals Jorey Friedman and Pinar Harris, two women committed to pushing the industry into a fair and balanced future.

Is the field of architecture still a boys’ club?

JF: There are certainly more women than ever entering the field of architecture, which is wonderful to see, but it seems that the attrition rate is still much greater than men when you get to the higher ranks.

PH: We still have a way to go to bridge the gap.

Jorey, you were named SB Architects’ first female principal in 2015 and have led the Miami office in maintaining a 50-50 ratio of men to women in terms of employees. Why was this so important to you?

JF: In speaking with some of the women at SB Architects, I learned this made a big difference to them when looking for employment. It’s incredibly important to see more women entering this historically male-dominated profession and evolving into leadership roles. Younger female architects entering the industry need to be able to see and envision a clear path to success.

In your opinion, what would it take for that to be the norm?

JF: We need to continue to pursue hot-button issues such as parental-leave policies and more flexible schedules. If more architecture firms empower more women into leadership roles, that will naturally pave the way for more females in our profession.

PH: It’s one meeting at a time, one day at a time.

One of the firm’s latest projects, the 100 Las Olas residential tower in Fort Lauderdale, was an all-female effort. How did that happen?

PH: That was pure coincidence, but we ended up with a very dynamic team. Everyone had aligned around a goal from the onset, which created a fluid process throughout the span of the project.

What do you see for the future of your profession as it relates to female architects?

PH: A future where this conversation is no longer an issue and men and women are valued equally in all aspects of society.