WAL of Portland


The mission of WAL shall be to educate members about the built environment via tours, newsletters and programs and to provide financial support to youth education programs that stimulate interest in architecture.

The Women’s Architectural League was pioneered in California in the early 1940s at the request of an AIA group. Their aim was to foster greater public interest in, and the promotion of, architecture. By 1952 there were 10 chapters throughout the United States. Typical activities included touring houses, hosting AIA conventions, and fundraising for scholarships.

Portland’s first membership tea was held on November 19, 1952 at The Aero Club. Membership in WAL was limited to female architects, and the wives of architects. The first general meeting followed on January 21, 1953 (lunch $1.40) and annual dues were established at two dollars. In the following decades there was a flurry of lectures, home tours, dances, parties and receptions, all with the specific intent of raising funds to augment lectures and scholarships, as well as to build public awareness of architecture.

For the past 30 years, membership has been opened to include women outside the architectural field who are interested in learning about architecture. Members of WAL volunteer to organize monthly tours of buildings and other sites of architectural interest. Efforts are made to have these tours led by the design or project architects. A sampling of recent tours includes exceptional houses, museums, libraries, churches, hospitals, schools, industrial buildings and gardens. See the “A Sampling of WAL Excursions” on the Tours tab of this website.

WAL is a volunteer-based organization and depends on the ideas, talents, and energies of our members. We are always interested in new ideas for tours, as well as volunteers to organize them. We welcome you to join and participate. Tours are held monthly (except July and August), and general meetings twice a year. Activities and events of local interest are publicized in a quarterly newsletter.

As a member, your dues allow WAL to make donations to the Architects in Schools Program (for third through fifth graders and their teachers), and the ACE Mentor Program, open to high school students who are interested in a career in architecture, construction, or engineering.

If you decide to join our organization, please complete the membership form that is posted on this website and mail the form, with your dues, to the Membership Coordinator. As a member you will receive notices via e-mail for each tour, plus the quarterly newsletter.

Thank you for your interest in the Women’s Architectural League of Portland, Oregon.