Transforming the Timeline is a student-led initiative that seeks to reinstate authorship over the history of the built environment. Our intention is to uplift a powerfully diverse set of women who have shaped the world around them through their leadership in design, activism, and art.

Our Purpose
We are a group of students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard College. We are deeply disturbed by the severe devaluation and erasure of women and BIPOC communities in the academic curricula. Since its conception, the academy has convinced generations of architecture students to trust in the white male voice, as a neutral, universal norm. To counter this, Transforming the Timeline amplifies women whose names are not included in architectural discourse, curriculum, syllabi, or survey texts. Our intention is to delegitimize the mechanisms of power in the built environment by offering an equally influential list of names that can and should be added to every syllabus.

Our Process
We began developing the timeline in the virtual format, with team members calling in from multiple time zones. Our research was driven by our individual identities, backgrounds, and interests. We reject the idea that history is the result of a neutral standpoint and acknowledge that our research reflects our limitations and biases, yet is made stronger by our differences.  
The women cataloged on this timeline have produced work that is interdisciplinary, post-disciplinary, or “exterior” to the traditional definitions of “design.” This is intentional. The 8 categories are organized experimentally, in an attempt to dissolve artificial boundaries between design disciplines and forge new, nonhierarchical connections.

Queer in Work and Sexuality

Claiming Space in the Architecture Office

Indigenous Theory and Practice

Connections to the Land

Community Power and Justice

Knowledge Generators and Educators

Asian by Geography and Identity


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@ Spring 2021