50 Years of Title IX: Barbara Hillier

PRINCETON, NJ — Thirty-seven words. Thirty-seven words craft the hallmark piece of legislation that opens a door of opportunity for women and girls across America. Thirty-seven words allow half of architecture students in America to be women. Thirty-seven words let Barbara Hillier step into the male-dominated field of architecture where she left an everlasting impact as an award-winning architect and designer.


The thirty-seven words string together Title IX, a piece of legislation passed by President Nixon on June 23, 1972. The law states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”


Title IX’s impact on the education system is unparalleled as prior to its passage women were often excluded from or had limited access to education programs. Now, both men and women can equally take advantage of any course of study regardless of gender stereotypes about traditionally “male” or “female” coursework or professions.


As a result, Barbara Hillier tackled barriers using education as her weapon.  She rose above the gender norms of the time and ignited a professional career in architecture spanning three decades. Many of her projects have garnered critical attention and recognition for design distinction. Her interests in human interaction and behavior, in particular, how humans perceive and receive visual information are critical to the matrix through which she understands the meaning of space and the making of place.


Her career in architecture was cultivated in the firm of Hillier Architecture, where she was both life partner and career partner with founder, J. Robert Hillier, FAIA. Barbara joined Hiller Architecture as an entry level employee and worked to become studio leader: interiors, architecture marketing. In 1976, she created and led the Interiors Studio, then went on to lead the firm’s Philadelphia office for eleven years which helped develop the firm’s national reputation. The success of the Philadelphia office was followed by offices in New York City and Washington, DC. Later, the firm would expand to other cities and eventually into the United Kingdom, Middle East and China. She served as a Design Principal primarily responsible for marketing and design of projects while with The Hillier Group, Hillier Architecture, RMJM Hillier and Studio Hillier.


A true testament to educational opportunity is exemplified in Barbara’s academic resume. Her resume includes a Master of Architecture Degree from Princeton University, a BFA from Arcadia University, graduate studies in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Psychology from Temple University. In addition, her academic experience includes design juries and lectures at the University of Virginia, University of Pennsylvania, University of Tennessee, Cornell University and Temple University to name a few.


Her most notable projects over the past 50 years include the new campus for Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, the Louis Vuitton Tower in New York City, Cornell’s Johnson School of Business, restoration of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., GlaxoSmithKline’s worldwide headquarters in London, Sprint’s global headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas, the Sydney harbor Casino complex in Australia, the Las Colinas Convention Center in Irving, Texas, and the Richard Hughes Justice Center in Trenton.


In May of 2019, the New Jersey Institute of Technology renamed its College of Architecture the J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture and Design.

Honors, Juries, Publications + Lectures

AIA Pennsylvania Silver Medal of Distinction, Abbe Science Center, Solebury School 2004

AIA Philadelphia Honor Award, Abbe Science Center, Solebury School 2003

AIA Philadelphia Honor Award, Gymnasium, Solebury School 2003

AIA Philadelphia Honor Award, General Instrument Headquarters 1998

AIA Philadelphia Honor Award, Intech Construction Headquarters, Inc. 1995

AIA Philadelphia Honor Award, Georgia Cancer Specialists 1994

AIA Philadelphia Honor Award – Vanguard Group Inc. Headquarters 1994

International Design Gold Key Award 1984



University of Virginia School of Architecture, Third year final review 2008

AIA Chicago Chapter Design Awards Jury 2002

AIA National Honor Award Jury Chair /  Interior Design 2001

Design Jury: Fourth Year Students School of Architecture, Temple University 1999

Design Jury:  First Year Master of Fine Arts in Architecture: University of Pennsylvania 1998



Convene Magazine, “Outside the Box”, Irving Convention Center, October, 2010

New York

Princeton Magazine, “Conquering Clutter”, May, 2009

Metropolis Magazine, Becton Dickinson Campus Center, November 2008

A+D (Architecture + Design) “A Corn-Crib Exposé,”:), Vol. XXII, No. 10, October 2005

Lawrentian, Allegra, Mike, “The New Home Ec.”. Volume 69, Number 3, Fall 2005

The Wood Design Awards, “A North American Program of Architectural Excellence”,

Griffith, Don (ed.). 2004 Halifax: Tuns Press, 2004

Wood Design & Building Magazine, Fall 2004, Issue #29

Wood Le Bois Magazine, Issue #47, Fall 2004,

Architectural Record, Abbe Science Center, Solebury School, March 2004

Interiors, “Big Offices”, Deloitte & Touche, 1996

Tri-State Real Estate Journal, Planning & Designing Appropriate Officing Solutions, 1995

Architectural Record Lighting, “Lighting Helps Emphasize Openness”, 1994

Focus, Inside Bell Atlantic, 1992

Facilities Design & Management, AT&T, 1987

Interiors, Steelcase Showroom, 1987

Lighting, “Programmed Lighting Important Ingredient in Restaurant”, 1987

Interiors, “A retrofitted train station brings upscale dining to a Philadelphia suburb”, 1987

Restaurant Business, “All Aboard the Greenwood Grille”, 1987



Dallas Chapter AIA, “Irving Convention Center”, April 2011

Hillier Architecture, “Space and Mind”, 2005

Philadelphia AIA, Leading Firms, 2000

Philadelphia AIA, Tribute to Philadelphia with Enrique Norten

Cornell University, 1997/1988-1993

Drexel University, Interior design, 1997

Philadelphia University, Interior Design, 1997

University of Tennessee, School of Architecture, 1996

Lawrenceville School, 1996

Arcadia University, Careers in the Fine Arts, 1996