As a child Katherine knew two things for certain: she would become an architect, and she was not a boy. The path to architecture took her to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Architecture and then into several prestigious midwestern architectural firms. Katherine’s first architectural project was programming and designing the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre Complex. The award-winning project was the result of intense workshops and benchmarking sessions with everyone of MRT’s company members. The project also proved that a non-profit theatre group could be the corner stone of a larger mixed-use development. The principles, of inclusive design and understanding the projects impact on the greater community informed her design process for the Over the next 30+ years. She has remained focused on designing performing arts venues around the country and in 2013 she founded ORCHESTRA Design Studio, to create spaces that encourage social interactions, celebrate our diverse cultural experiences so we can find our common values and transcend our fear of the other.
Becoming her true self was a more difficult journey. A major milestone in the journey was “coming out” at NATEAC 2016’s session on “Inclusive Gender Design”. She knew that being surrounded by her peers was the best time to leave the closet. Her reward was overwhelming support and encouragement. Given her a newfound confidence, inner peace, and happiness. Since then, USITT, IAVM, AIA, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and several corporations have invited Katherine to present on transgender issues and the importance of supporting LGBT+ rights. She is looking forward to being part of the updated session “Design for All Genders – Inclusive Design for Practitioners and Patrons” at NATEAC 2021.
This week at EntreArchitect Podcast, Experiencing the Profession from Two Unique Perspectives with Katherine Georgeson.
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