RAMSA and the National Trust Collaborate to Assist Sites of Women's History

July 21, 2022

The Women’s Leadership Initiative of RAMSA (Robert A.M. Stern Architects) is collaborating with the National Trust for Historic Preservation on a twelve-month pilot program to provide pro bono design, planning, and technical services to support the Where Women Made History initiative.

Where Women Made History is a manifestation of the National Trust’s commitment to tell a more full and equitable national story, with an objective to uncover, uplift, and preserve the stories and sites of women’s achievement nationwide and bring more relevance, diversity, and gender equality to America’s cultural heritage. RAMSA is a 240-person firm of architects, interior designers, and supporting staff with an international reputation as a leading design firm with wide experience in residential, commercial, and institutional work.

RAMSA's Women's Leadership Initiative seeks to develop and promote women's growth in the profession through education, mentorship, and peer support, and will create opportunities for young women entering the field to gain in-depth experience from women professionals by joining the project team as part of their internship program.

The pilot program’s first project is at Stone Quarry Art Park in Cazenovia, New York, which features the Dorothy Riester House and Studio (also known as Hilltop House and Studio). Today, the former home, studio, and multi-acre art environment of artist and preservationist Dorothy Riester and her husband Bob is a member of the National Trust’s Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios program, helping to expand the impact of Riester’s art and add her work to broader conversations about the relevance and importance of midcentury design, art, and the environment.

RAMSA project team in front of Hilltop House, Stone Quarry Art Park, June 2022.

photo by: RAMSA

RAMSA and National Trust project team in front of Hilltop House, June 2022.

The project team—led by women from the National Trust and the Women’s Leadership Initiative at RAMSA, along with the women directors and leadership at the site—will build on Riester’s legacy by helping shape Stone Quarry Art Park as a public place for the creative experimentation of art in conversation with the natural environment.

The project will include:

  • Designing a concept for a multi-use space that unifies the site and serves the needs of the artists, staff, and the public;
  • Reassessing the approach to the Hilltop House and Studio and creating a better, clearer arrival experience for visitors and staff;
  • Recommending priorities for restoring Riester’s historic home and studio; and
  • Recommending how to repurpose the more contemporary “art barns” as functional spaces while also referencing the visual/architectural language established by Riester.

Also as part of the pilot program, the National Trust and RAMSA will select an additional site of women’s history and achievement to receive donated design and planning services led by teams of women professionals and informed by local stakeholders. RAMSA will participate as well in a PastForward National Preservation Conference session or other National Trust-sponsored public event highlighting the partnership.

After the first year of the pilot, the National Trust and RAMSA will evaluate the partnership and process and consider how it might be expanded or improved as a model for other sites of women’s history. In addition, the organizations hope to build new relationships with key stakeholders at selected sites and across their professional fields.

Every place has a woman's story to tell. Through Where Women Made History, we are identifying, honoring, and elevating places across the country where women have changed their communities and the world.

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