Elevating women's voices in South American Architecture.

_project: 4x4 = 16 | Pertenencia & Pertinencia - Brazil
_featuring: Gloria Cabral, Cláudia Sales, Marta Moreira & Mariana Simas
_moderated by Cristiana Mascarenhas
_location: São Paulo, Brazil

At the heart of South America's architectural scene, the 4x4=16 lecture series is committed to celebrate the creativity and female empowerment in the field of architecture. This initiative highlights the remarkable yet often unseen work of women architects across the continent, offering them a platform to share their contributions with the world. It represents a significant step towards recognizing and celebrating the diverse and rich cultural heritage of South American architecture, as well as the unique approaches women bring to the profession.

Behind this powerful initiative is Francesca Franchi, a Peru-born architect with a journey that spans continents—from her studies in Lima to Cornell, and a professional career that stretches from New York to Washington, DC. Francesca, alongside her friend and fellow architect Paula Lavarello from Buenos Aires, birthed the idea for 4x4=16. Their vision was clear: to create a space that amplifies the voices of women architects from South America. Driven by her passion for the continent's architecture and its intrinsic connection to diverse landscapes and rich craftsmanship, Francesca saw this as an opportunity to showcase the talent of women architects in a region celebrated for its cultural and material heritage.

The name 4x4=16 symbolizes a united effort to spotlight the achievements of 16 women architects from Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Brazil, filling a void Francesca and Paula felt was glaringly absent—a dedicated stage for South American women architects to exhibit their innovative work and contributions to the global architectural landscape.

One of the most memorable aspects of the 4x4=16 series for Francesca was the in-person engagement with these architects, presenting their projects amidst the stunning settings of their designs, such as the iconic SESCI Pompeia's bridges in Brazil. Witnessing architects like Gloria, Claudia, and Mariana showcase their projects in such environments was a testament to the creativity of South American women architects, who, with limited resources, have accomplished an impressive array of work, from community centers in rural Argentina to public institutions in São Paulo.

More than just a showcase, the 4x4=16 series has been a journey of discovery and growth for Francesca, teaching her the importance of teamwork and resilience. The process of curating participants and coordinating logistics across continents has underscored the power of collaboration and collective effort in bringing visionary projects to life. Francesca's dedication to "giving back to architecture" is reinforced through 4x4=16, a project that honors the rich architectural legacy of South America and the remarkable women who are shaping its future. This initiative not only celebrates women architects but also inspires the next generation to explore and innovate within the vibrant tapestry of South American architecture.


_article written by Daniela Moreira Silva
_film by Push MediaArchitecture Hunter
_organized by Francesca Frachi & Paula Lavarello | AIA|DC Design Exellence Committee:
William Hendrix, James Jesmer, Maggie Dunlap

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