If we look at the architects’ history, we will find out that Architecture has been a male-dominating field with a challenging environment for gender diversity. We do find it ironic as women have been homemakers, interior decorators and home-maintainers for centuries with in-built aesthetic sense but unfortunately, architecture has never been a welcoming field for women in the past. Today, there are numerous female architects creating magnificent architectural masterpieces. However, to accomplish today’s status and recognition in the field of architecture, women have been persistent for more than a century to realize this dream.
History of Women in Architecture
For more than a century, women have fought bravely for gender diversity in the field of architecture. They faced challenges at every level including admissions to architecture institutions, role in professional organizations, and fieldwork. The early women architects including Alice Hands and Mary Gannon are considered the rebellions in architecture back in 1894. These female architects had a vision to improvise the housing for the poor and needy people. They designed housing reforms for the poor living that incorporated pragmatic approach of beauty and affordability simultaneously.
Women Architects of Today’s world
Over the years, women have shown keen interest in studying architecture in order to prove the fact that inherent gender cannot limit the creativity, talent, skills, and potential of a person. Women had to work twice as hard as their male colleagues to prove their ability and to establish their positions as inventive female architects. Many female architects have been bestowed upon with the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize over the years. It is worth mentioning that this prize recognizes those architects whose work is a beautiful blend of vision, approach, talent, and contribution to the betterment of society and humankind.
Female architects have made a long journey from the late 19th Century to present 21st century to mark their presence in the field of Architecture. Following are some inspirational women architects who have building skyscrapers, museums, houses, and institutions around the globe.
1. Zaha Hadid
Born in 1950 in the city of Baghdad, Iraq is one of most inspiring women architect of the present era. She is the first female architect in the history to win the Pritzker Prize in 2004. She has great expertise in spatial conceptualization including turns, twists, fluidity and distinct asymmetrical designs.
Zaha has done remarkable work with her parametric designs in various fields including product and furniture designing and urban planning. To name a few of her notable works:
- 2012- Heydar Aliyev Center Baku
- 2011- Evelyn Grace Academy London
- 2010- National Center for Contemporary arts Rome
2. Elizabeth Diller
Diller is known to be a sketch artist with a pencil. She has a unique way of capturing her ideas in the form of sketches with colored pencils on tracing paper. She is considered a revolutionary architect with out-of-the-box ideas that are a combination of architecture and art. Blur Building in Lake Neuchatel Switzerland is one of her transforming fog-like structure that was installed in around six months.
3. Carme Pigem
She is another Pritzker Prize winner thus making the entire women architects’ community proud. She is one of the co-founders of a Spanish architect firm that has accomplished many projects:
- Soulages Museum Rodez, France
- La Cuisine Art Centre France
- Sant Antoni-Joan Oliver Library and Senior Citizens Centre Barcelona
4. Susana Torre
A true feminist architect who has dedicated her life to promote architecture among women via her writing, teaching, and architectural projects. She aims to elevate the status of women architects in the field. She is striving hard for the recognition of female architects’ passion and work.
5. Kazuyo Sejima
She owns a Tokyo based architect firm that has been building world-famous building for more than two decades. Her style is unique as she incorporates simplicity in her designs and structures. Her designs are considered neat and shiny with the addition of modern elements like glass, cubes, and other shapes made of glass or marble.
6. Norma Sklarek
She is the first African-American woman to achieve the honor of becoming a registered architect in New York and California states. She has some notable architectural projects in her portfolio. She is a role model for the women architects because of her following major American projects:
- S Embassy Tokyo, Japan
- Pacific Design Center California
- Columbus Courthouse Center Indiana
- San Bernardino City Hall
7. Amanda Levete
Amanda Levete, a welsh-born architect, has been awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize for her priceless contributions to the field of architecture in the form of world-renowned blob architecture project named as Chef D’oeuvre, and Selfridges departmental store in Birmingham. Levete has a unique vision of architecture that is composed of different types of spaces inside and outside of a building.
She served as one of the company partners of Future Systems, an architectural practice. Majority of the credit goes to Levete for the success of Future System as she practices organic and inventive architectural projects. Some of her projects are:
- Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology Lisbon
- Central Embassy Project Bangkok
- Hill’s Place London
8. Annabelle Selldorf
She has been creating her creative mark by re-designing art galleries and museums. One of her remarkable design includes the structure of 10 Bond Street.
9. Denise Scott Brown
She has been influencing aspiring female architects throughout the world with her thought-provoking writings and building designs. She has always been fond of implementing historical references in her designs that can be seen in the form of universities all across the United States.
10. Judith Edelman
She is recognized not just an architect but also a feminist as well as social activist who has devoted her life promoting architecture among the young women. She was known as “Dragon Lady” among her peers. She developed her expertise in two different domains including:
- Restoration of historic buildings
- Affordable housing designing
11. Jeanne Gang
She is the mastermind of Aqua Tower constructed in 2010 that has added more beauty and grandeur to the Chicago skyline. Aqua Tower is the 82-storey building that looks like a wavy structure from afar. However, when you get closer to the building, the waves are actually the windows and galleries of the residential apartments.
Jeanne is well known for her contemporary designs and methodology that create relationship among people, society, and the environment. She is a firm believer that strong materials lead to a stronger community. This ideology has been implemented in majority of her unconventional architectural projects including:
- 2013 – WMS Boathouse Clark Park
- 2010 – Nature Board Walk Lincoln Zoo
- 2008 – SOS Lavezzorio Community Center
These mesmerizing designs are proof that women can make their mark in every field and these female architects are proving it one block at a time.