As a child, Allison Ewing developed an early interest in architecture, but a friend of the family was discouraging. “At the time, I didn’t understand, but the implication was ‘You’re a girl, you can’t do that.’ And I believed him,” says Ewing, with more humor than resentment. Putting aside architecture, Ewing eventually obtained a degree in psychology, which may have added another dimension in the circuitous route that led to her successful and innovative architectural career.
She blames it on Paris. During an extended study tour in the French capital, the rich architectural environment rekindled Ewing’s desire to design, and she made the decision to return to the United States and study at the Parsons the New School for Design in New York City. “The program focus changed from interior design to environmental design somewhere on my flight between Paris and New York,” she recalls. “The architectural focus turned out to be perfect for me. I finally realized I could do this, and perhaps do it well.”