Monday, June 8, 2009

Nancy Aber Goshow, An Architect on the Front Lines of Sustainable Design

Featured Professional of the Month
Nancy Aber Goshow, AIA, LEED AP

Goshow Architects

Nancy Aber Goshow, AIA,
is the founding partner of Goshow Architects,
one of the largest woman-owned architectural firms in New York City and a leader in providing sustainable design solutions for public sector projects.

Stymied by the wall she was unable to climb in a male-dominated industry,
Nancy stepped away and created her own business and now employs 40 people.

More than anything, Nancy believes that the path to success is to follow your passion.
For her, that passion was finding a connection between the natural environment and the built environment and marrying that connection together in building designs. With more than 30 years of experience in architecture, landmark restoration, and sustainable design, Ms. Goshow champions creative collaboration and environmental stewardship as essential to the firm's approach to design excellence.

All along, Nancy’s success has come from focusing on her passion—the same passion she shares when working with the Goshow team and their clients to design a campus or building. Since its launch in 1978, Goshow Architects has grown into a premier full-service architectural firm dedicated to improving communities through implementing long-term, sustainable design solutions.

Under Nancy’s leadership, the firm’s diverse team of 40 has created innovative designs for clients including Columbia University, the City University of New York, Queens College, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Additionally, Goshow Architects’ extensive portfolio includes K-12 schools, multi-family housing developments, projects for government agencies, and for private and non-profit developments.

As with many women who started out in a “male” profession, it was not easy for Nancy to get to where she is today. And it would have been nearly impossible for her to rise through the standard ranks to put her environmentally sustainable ideas into play. In hindsight, striking out on her own was very difficult, especially for a woman during the late 1970s.

Because few options were available for women-owned architectural firms in the private sector, Nancy sought opportunities in the government sector. She got her business off the ground with the help of programs specifically targeted to women-owned businesses.

While some women can’t imagine working with their husbands, and some can’t imagine working with anyone but their husbands, for Nancy, teaming up with her husband Eric was not about the fact that they were married. Instead it was about her insistence that her business partner’s core values aligned with her own and that his skills complimented hers.

Entrepreneurship is not easy. It takes complete commitment to make it work and there is no room for misalignment with partners, employees or clients. Keeping all these elements aligned has allowed Nancy to seek opportunities that have taken her, both as a professional and as a business owner to the next level.

Goshow Architects consistently lives out its founding belief that architects have a social responsibility to create healthy and sustainable living and learning environments for all while minimizing the environmental impact of man-made structures.

This service-based philosophy, embraced and practiced by the firm's richly diverse staff, has resulted in a working environment in which collaborative creativity is prized and exuberant professional growth encouraged. And the outcome has been a portfolio that has garnered significant attention over the years.

A strong advocate of educating and mentoring up-and-coming architects and women entrepreneurs, Nancy has lectured on design and historic preservation at the City University of New York, Pratt Institute, and the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she taught advanced design studios.

Beyond distinguishing herself within the architectural industry, Nancy has also shown herself to be a pioneer for women in business. Through the Eugene M. Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia University, Nancy mentors women MBA students in launching their new businesses. She is the founder of the Women Builders Council, member of the Women Presidents’ Organization, national founding partner and Co-Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee for Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and active with Women Construction Owners and Executives.

For her work within the public policy sector, Nancy was awarded the 2008 WIPP President’s Award for Advocacy. Her appointment to the US Department of State Overseas building Operations Industry Advisory Panel gave her an opportunity to spread transformational eco-diplomacy initiatives worldwide.

Furthermore, when asked in 2003 by the president of the New York State Chapter of the AIA
to revive the Women in Architecture Committee, she accepted the challenge and became Co-Chair of WIA, where she worked with like minded individuals to reshape WIA into the definitive leadership resource for women in architecture.

Committed to improving not only the larger architectural community but also her own local community, Nancy holds appointments to both Midtown Manhattan’s Community Board 5, and the 34th Street Business Improvement District.

Nancy earned a Masters degree in Interior Architecture from the Pratt Institute and a Bachelors degree in Design from Pennsylvania State University. You can learn more about Nancy and the professionals at her extraordinary firm at

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