Name at Birth:
Also known as Norma Merrick Fairweather. "Sklarek" was the name of Norma Merrick's second husband, Rolf Sklarek, who died in 1984. Married Dr. Cornelius Welch in 1985.
- Hunter High School, an all-girls magnate school
- Barnard College
- Columbia University School of Architecture, B.Arch. 1950
- 1950-1954: After receiving her degree, was unable to find work at an architecture firm. Took a job at the New York Department of Public Works while working toward becoming a licensed architect in 1954.
- 1955-1960: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (New York)
- 1960-1980: Gruen and Associates (Los Angeles, California). Became the firm's first female director in 1966
- 1980-1985: Vice President at Welton Becket Associates (Santa Monica, CA)
- 1985: Joined with Margot Siegel and Katherine Diamond to establish Siegel, Sklarek, Diamond (Venice, CA)
- 1989-1992: Principal at the Jerde Partnership (Venice, CA)
Major Project Collaborations:
- City Hall in San Bernardino, California
- Fox Plaza in San Francisco, CA
- Terminal One at the Los Angeles International Airport, CA
- Commons - Courthouse Center in Columbus, Indiana (1973)
- Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, CA (1975)
- US Embassy in Tokyo, Japan (1976)
- Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, CA
- Mall of America in Minneapolis
More About Norma Merrick Sklarek:
Norma Merrick Sklarek was born to West Indian parents who had moved to Harlem, New York. Sklarek's father, a doctor, encouraged her to excel in school and to seek a career in a field not normally open to females or to African Americans.
Norma Sklarek's life has been filled with many firsts:
- First African-American woman to be licensed as an architect in New York (1954) and in California (1962)
- In 1959, the first African-American woman to become a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- In 1980, the first woman to be elected a Fellow of the AIA
- In 1985, helped establish and managed the California firm Siegel, Sklarek, Diamond
Because of the disparities she faced in her life and career, Norma Merrick Sklarek could be sympathetic to the struggles of others. She led with her charm, grace, wisdom, and hard work. She never excused racism and sexism but gave others the strength to deal with adversities. Read "In Memoriam" by Roberta Washington for an account of the personal impact Sklarek has had on the lives of many.
"In architecture, I had absolutely no role model. I'm happy today to be a role model for others that follow."
Websites accessed April 9, 2012.