Northwest Austin architect Candace Wong trains her eye on diversity

Texan materials: Owner Candace Wong said she often works with different types of exposed stone, including limestone, the type of rock commonly found underground in Central Texas.

Texan materials: Owner Candace Wong said she often works with different types of exposed stone, including limestone, the type of rock commonly found underground in Central Texas.

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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
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Candace Wong Architecture + Design
When Jester neighborhood-based architect Candace Wong said she wants to build an “all-girls dream team,” she knows the phrase may not immediately cue images of architects, contractors and construction workers.

“As women in architecture, we’re a minority. It’s important to boost women throughout their careers and have diversity in the field,” she said.

Wong, founder of Candace Wong Architecture + Design, said working with diverse teams on diverse projects is important to her and her business.

“Not all sites are the same, so not all of your architecture should be the same, either,” she said.

Wong said her job is to design and manage new home construction or remodel projects and assemble a team with a contractor and other industry professionals. Having an architect helps things run smoothly and increases a home’s resale value, she said.

“As architects, we go through so much school, so many exams and so much training that this is what we specialize in,” she said.

Wong attended Texas A&M University and the University of Southern California. After working in California she returned to Texas

“There’s so much work [in Austin] that nobody can take over all of it,” she said. “We’re all sharing and referring within the community.”

Many women feel obligated not to commit to the long hours and little time for family emphasized in the architecture industry, Wong said.

“Coming out of school, [women and men] are about 50-50, but as you get older and your career advances, [women] start to dwindle out,” she said.

Wong said treating employees well and seeking out women of color, whom she said are underrepresented in the field, will serve her company best.

“The more diversity in people, projects and the environment that you’re living in,” she said. “That does everybody some good.”

Candace Wong Architecture + Design
512-947-1200
www.cwaplusd.com
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.