Arquitetas Invisíveis Presents 48 Women in Architecture: Part 5, Social Architecture

Arquitetas Invisíveis Presents 48 Women in Architecture: Part 5, Social Architecture

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked the Brazilian non-profit group Arquitetas Invisíveis to share with us a part of their work, which identifies women in architecture and urbanism. They kindly shared with us a list of 48 important women architects, divided into seven categories: pioneers, “in the shadows,” architecture, urbanism, social architecture, landscape architecture and sustainable architecture. We will be sharing this list over the course of the week.

Yesterday we brought you the urbanists, and today we present women leaders in social architecture.

Arquitetas Invisíveis Presents 48 Women in Architecture: Part 5, Social Architecture - More Images+ 6

Social Architecture

Altruistic in their work, some female architects have dedicated their career to helping others. Attentive to social needs and preoccupied with inequality, these women are committed to democratizing architecture, understanding it as a viable way to solve social problems. Jane Drew designed schools, social housing and hospitals in Chandirgarh, India, understanding that as an architect she should focus on the needs of the community. Julie Eizenberg, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of making great architecture no matter how tight the budget was, highlighting the social responsibility of the profession. Mayumi Souza Lima on the other hand, gave special attention to children’s needs, discussing and analyzing the spaces that were intended for them. Also, as a teacher, she used to take her class to the favelas, seeking greater politicalization from her architecture students. Elizabete Franca, the director of Studio 2E Ideias Urbanas, worked mainly on social housing plans for vunerable areas. Lastly, Julia King has focused on implementing sewerage systems in Indian slums, greatly improving the quality of life of the residents.


Elisabete França. Image via Moscow Urban Forum

Brazilian architect and director of Studio2E Ideias Urbanas. Since 2000, she has done consulting for international organizations like the World Bank, International Development Bank and UN-Habitit, developing projects in more than 14 countries. For more than three decades she has been dedicated to promoting architecture and urbanism, promoting events, contests and expositions at the Brazilian Institute of Architects and the Housing Ministry. In 2002, she was the curator for the Brazilian Pavilion at the 8th Biennale of Architecture in Venice. She has been the author and editor of more than 20 architecture and urbanism publications and the editorial coordinator of the publication series Novos Bairros de São Paulo (New Neighborhoods of Sao Paulo), published through São Paulo’s State Housing Department.


Jane Drew. © Jorge Lewinski

English architect born in 1911. She carried out several projects in impoverished areas of Africa and Asia, hiring locals so that they could earn money and learn construction techniques. She designed schools, hospitals and social housing in Chandirgarh, Liverpool, Lagos and Ghana, among other places. She died in 1996 at the age of 85.

Le Corbusier and Jane Drew in Chandigarh. © FLC-ADAGP
Housing Complex in Chandigarh. Image via RIBA Library and Photographs Collection
Health center in Chandigarh. Image via RIBA Library and Photographs Collection


Julia King

Named AJ’s Emerging Woman Architect of the Year in 2014, she designed and implemented a sewerage system in the slums of India. She also carried out housing and sanitation projects in communities on the outskirts of New Delhi.


Julie Eizenberg. Image via AIA

Architect born in 1964, she and her husband, Hank Koning, founded the firm Koning Eisenberg Architects. She refocused architects’ attention on the potential value of developing socially responsible projects, demonstrating architectural excellence even for low-budget, social housing and community projects.

Farmer's Market, Los Angeles, California. © Benny Chan
Children's Museum, Pittsburgh. © Eric Studenmaier
Children's Institute, Inc. Otis Booth Campus, Los Angeles, California. © Esto


Japanese and naturalized Brazilian, Mayumi was born in 1934 and died in 1994 at the age of 60. She was responsible for coordinating projects through MASP, designing models for public schools and constructing schools in Jardim Fortaleza and in the Varginha neighborhood (participatory projects). In the area of education she was known for her criticism of the capitalist method of production. For over 30 years she worked with educators, primary school administrators, and childcare workers, discussing and analyzing issues related to spaces for children in our society.

Stay tuned during the week as we present the architects of the remaining categories and view our past coverage, here.

About this author
Cite: Invisíveis, Arquitetas. "Arquitetas Invisíveis Presents 48 Women in Architecture: Part 5, Social Architecture" [Arquitetas Invisíveis apresentam 48 mulheres na arquitetura: Arquitetura Social] 13 Mar 2015. ArchDaily. (Trans. Watkins, Katie) Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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