To celebrate International Women's Day 2019 we would like to give tribute to the women who have managed to make their mark in the international world of architecture, design and the built environment.
This day is about women who have made a significant contribution to the field in its broadest sense, their work representing not only the spirit of their homelands but also transcends it to become truly international in its reference and influence.
Starting with Sheila O’Donnell, selected as Architect of the Year by The Architectural Review and the Architects’ Journal and Xu Tiantian who won the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture in the 2019 Women in Architecture awards, here are some of ladies who make, through their passionate work, brightness, great designs, creativity and professionalism, a better environment for all of us:
FRIDA ESCOBEDO, the designer of 2018 Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, London, is the single youngest architect to receive the distinguished commission—and the first solo female to do so since 2000, second only to the late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid
ZAHA HADID, the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004, and the first and only woman to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. She also received the UK's most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011, and in 2012, she was made a Dame by Elizabeth II for services to architecture.
KAZUYO SEJIMA, educator and founding partner of world-renowned firm SANAA, Kazuyo Seijima is among the most prominent Japanese architects practicing today. In 2010 she became the second woman in the history of the Pritzker Prize to receive the honor, which was issued jointly to her younger male partner, Ryue Nishizawa.
NERI OXMAN, Israeli-born academic, architect, inventor, and artist has made a career out of breaking boundaries. Renowned for her pioneering work at the MIT Media Lab she received the 2018 National Design Award for Interaction Design.
ELIZABETH DILLER, the only architect—of any gender—to be featured in TIME magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people; she was included for her masterful ability to “turn a metaphor into brick and mortar.” Her career highlights include leading the design of The Broad and The Shed, the expansion of MoMA, receiving a MacArthur Fellowship “genius” grant, and the Jane Drew Prize in 2019.
JEANNE GANG is a genius and leading talent of Chicago’s architecture and urban design scene, whose work is evidenced in the many structures and spaces that have enlivened the city.
ODILE DECQ, architecture’s resident rebel spirit, is known for her distinctive goth style as much as her exquisite designs, as well as her iconoclastic attitude towards education and gender equity in the profession
AMANDA LEVETE, RIBA Stirling prize-winning architect and founder and principal of AL_A, an international design and architecture studio is recognized for winning the international competition to design a new entrance, courtyard and gallery for London's Victoria and Albert Museum, which features a porcelain courtyard.
FARSHID MOUSSAVI, Iranian-born British architect, educator, and author is the founder of Farshid Moussavi Architecture (FMA) and a Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her approach is characterized by an openness to change and a commitment to the intellectual and cultural life of architecture.
JANE JACOBS, journalist, author, and activist who influenced urban studies, sociology, and economics. Although not an architect, she played a big role in changing the way of urban planning, and theory of architecture, her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), a great contribution to urban renewal, becoming one of the most influential books in the history of American city planning.
In many different ways unique to them, they have helped to improve the quality of design and influence the delivery of the built environment in a sustainable and creative way, and we should celebrate that. Happy International Women’s Day!