The Jane Drew Prize for Architecture 2024 and the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for Contribution to Architecture 2024 have been awarded to Polish-French architect Iwona Buczkowska and American political activist and author Angela Davis, respectively. Honoring their work and commitment to their practices, the awards highlight their efforts to raise the profile of women in architecture. The Jane Drew Prize celebrates Buczkowska’s innovative approach to social housing and public buildings in France. Meanwhile, the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize recognizes Angela Davis’s leadership in the movement to abolish the prison system.
Women Architects: The Latest Architecture and News
In early 2018, spatial practitioner and Bartlett lecturer Neba Sere hosted a panel discussion at London's Architecture Foundation, where she was one of six young trustees. The topic: beginnings. How to go about them, move ahead, and transform them into something that lasts. Six years later, she looks back on the event as a beginning in itself: that day marked the creation of a WhatsApp group that would turn into Black Females in Architecture (BFA). BFA is now a 500-strong global membership network co-directed by Sere and fellow architects Selasi Setufe and Akua Danso.
BFA was initiated in response to the need for visibility of black women and female-identifying people with black heritage in architecture and the built environment. Last year, the group celebrated its fifth anniversary with the showing of a short film and a panel discussion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Now, after putting in the groundwork of spreading information about the lack of diversity and equality in the industry and increasing their numbers, BFA is gearing up to drive physical change.
Women-Led Architecture Practices: Redefining Urban Housing Design at the Time Space Existence Exhibition in Venice
As part of the 6th edition of “Time Space Existence”, the European Cultural Center (ECC) presented the “Reconceptualizing Urban Housing” exhibition. Taking place from May 20 to November 26, 2023, it brings together a diverse array of women-led architecture practices from around the world, each offering a unique perspective on collective housing, particularly within urban settings. The showcased projects feature approaches from Europe, North America, and more developing countries like Uganda, Malaysia, and Mexico.
American architect and tireless advocate for gender equality Beverly Willis passed away on October 1, 2023, at the age of 95, as reported by The New York Times. Throughout her career, she was dedicated to breaking down barriers for women in a traditionally male-dominated profession. She ran an accomplished studio in San Francisco, having completed over 800 projects across the US, and established a Foundation for recognizing and promoting women in architecture. Across various programs and scales, her designs have gained national recognition for their humanistic concern for the occupant and for adapting historic buildings to modern purposes, a practice now known as adaptive reuse.
In the world of interior design, light serves as an essential medium, but light can also create immersive public spaces. While James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson, and Dan Flavin are celebrated for their transformative mastery of color, reflections, and luminous contrasts, it's crucial to note that the realm of light art isn't exclusively male-dominated. In response to the underrepresentation of female light artists, a refreshing and enlightening perspective emerges from the British lighting designers Sharon Stammers and Martin Lupton of Light Collective.
After founding the platform "Women in Lighting" their book "Women Light Artists," takes a bold step in introducing us to 40 creative women whose work radiates with responsive ingenuity and brilliance. The book offers a captivating spectrum of projects from interactive pools to the play of colorful daylight shadows dancing across a bridge in London, from the peaceful projection onto an iconic Berlin landmark to the vivid rainbow arching above Manhattan's skyline, each work embodies a unique dialogue between light and space. The luminous journey offers a valuable tribute to the power of female artists who, for far too long, have remained in the shadows.
“It’s Not About What Makes Good Design, but What Makes Good Design for Wellbeing”: Alex Depledge on Resi
What is architecture? Is it grand designs with complex structures, defying the laws of physics? Is it simple, everyday buildings that, when put together, create the urban fabric? In the mid-18th century, Laugier introduced the concept of the Primitive Hut, a structure, essentially a home, designed and built to meet the primitive man’s basic needs: shelter from the elements and nature. Any structure that meets these requirements would be considered authentic architecture. However, since then, our needs have evolved and are much more elaborate, especially when it comes to our homes. They need to provide shelter, security, thermal comfort, and space. Our homes have to be economical, environmentally friendly, and have access to the internet, among many other prerequisites. So what would the ideal modern human’s home, and thus true architecture, look like?
The Science of a Happy Home Report, carried out by Resi first in 2020 and then again in post-pandemic 2023, sought to discover exactly what elements people believed made up the ultimate happy home. The results were six prominent qualities: a home that is adaptable to meet our changing needs, a home that allows us to connect and build relationships, a home that mirrors our personality and values, a nourishing home that provides the conditions we need to thrive (i.e. air quality), a home that helps us relax, and a home that offers security and makes us feel safe. These needs, however, aren't being met for the majority of UK homes, and that's where Resi comes in.
The American Institute of Architects has elected Evelyn Lee as the 2025 President-elect. During the AIA annual meeting, Lee has been selected to take the position of 2024 First VP President-Elect, and afterward to become president in 2025. AIA has also elected Heather Philip-O'Neal to serve as Treasurer between 2024-2025, and Latoya N. Kamdang as the elected At-large Director.
Evelyn Lee is the Global Head of Workplace Strategy and Innovation at Slack Technologies, Founder of the Practice of Architecture, and Co-Host of the Podcast Practice Disrupted. She is also a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). From 2020 to 2021, she served as the first female Treasurer to the AIA National Board. She is also widely published, having managed a monthly column for Contract magazine, in addition to various other online publications, where she developed recurring content on the business of architecture. Additionally, Evelyn Lee has been featured as a speaker, panelist, and moderator at national design and architecture conferences, including AIA National Convention, Dwell on Design, and Women in Green.
The Diversity in Architecture Prize (DIVIA) was awarded to Italian architect Marta Maccaglia, founder of Semillas, for her commitment to educational construction in Peru. This international recognition of 20,000 euros aims to promote the visibility of women in the architecture industry. Among the five finalists of this edition were Tosin Oshinowo (Nigeria), May al-Ibrashy (Egypt), Noella Nibakuze (Rwanda), and Katherine Clarke and Liza Fior (United Kingdom).
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced that Professor Yasmeen Lari, Pakistan’s first female architect, will receive the 2023 Royal Gold Medal for architecture. The award, one of the highest honors for architecture and the first to be personally approved by King Charles III, recognizes Yasmeen Lari’s work in championing zero-carbon self-build concepts for displaced populations. The Royal Gold Metal will be officially presented to Yasmeen Lari in June 2023.
Atelier Masōmī Designs the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development in Liberia
Atelier Masōmī has just revealed its design for The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center). President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf chose an all-female team to work on the project with lead architect Mariam Issoufou Kamara of Atelier Masōmī, exhibition's architect Sumayya Vally of Counterspace, and the local architect Liberian architect Karen Richards Barnes. The EJS Center, located in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, will provide digital access to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s personal and professional archives.
In 1950, the famous Le Corbusier was asked to design the new state capital of Chandigarh for Punjab following its separation and recent independence. The opportunity to create a new utopia was unparalleled- and is now seen as one of the greatest urban experiments in the history of planning and architecture. The city employed grid street patterns, European-style thoroughfares, and raw concrete buildings- the zenith of Corbusier’s ideals throughout his career. But what is lesser known about the ideation and realization of Chandigarh, was the woman who brought her experience of designing social housing across Africa to the project. For three years, working alongside Corbusier, and helping him design some of the best-known buildings in Chandigarh, was Jane Drew.
From assigned cubicles to open plan coworks, workspaces have been transforming their design strategies following society’s changing lifestyles. While traditional layouts encouraged more independent work (avoiding social distractions), adjusting to new technologies and ways of thinking has enhanced productivity while respecting communication, wellness consciousness and the benefits of feeling comfortable at work.
Architects have followed these changing trends, proposing diverse workspace typologies, adapting to multiple working styles, and organizing them to create optimal productive spaces. Among them, Spanish women-led architecture offices from different backgrounds and styles stand out for introducing layouts that redefine what is commonly known as a workspace. Below we present a selection of innovative refurbishment projects, all of which showcase flexible and dynamic workspace design.