While women make up an equal part of the population, they are not equally represented when imagining, planning, designing, and constructing the built environment around the globe. Thriving to rebalance forces and close the gap of gender inequality, the world is moving slowly but surely into a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future. Looking back at 2021, this year has seen the selection of Lesley Lokko as curator of the 2023 Venice Biennale, Anne Lacaton winning with her partner Jean-Philippe Vassal the 2021 Pritzker Prize, the 6th woman to ever receive the award, and the MAXXI Museum celebrating the transformative role of female architects in the profession’s evolution over the last century.
The 2022 Women’s International Day, according to the UN is centered on “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, focusing on females involved in building a sustainable future, while the official platform of the 8th of March is concentrating its efforts on breaking the bias and eliminating discrimination. Recognizing every single day the female force that shapes the built environment, ArchDaily on the other hand, turned to its global audience this year, seeking input to shed light on even more women architects, from the four corners of the world. Always trying to reach new realms, this selection of 25 professionals is looking to adjust the historical narrative by highlighting pioneers of the field, to present established practitioners molding the world we live in, and to share profiles of activists and scholars, implicated in change.
Read on to discover nominated female figures by our users, divided into 3 subcategories: The pioneers, the established practitioners, the activists, and scholars. For more info on Women in Architecture, check the index article, the tags Women in Architecture and Women Architects, the collaboration with Arquitetas Invisíveis, and find more in this My ArchDaily folder created by the author.
On Achieving An Equal Future: International Women’s Day 2021
Lilla Hansen was the first female architect in Norway. Since launching her architectural firm in 1912, she designed many villas, hospitals, and student accommodations for women. Her famous work includes the Vacation Home on Nesøya in Asker for Norwegian Physician and Professor of Pediatrics Theodor Frølich, and Trosterudveien 10 in Oslo for Lil and Nils Roede.
Rosa Grena Kliass
Born in 1932 in São Roque, Estate of São Paulo, Rosa Grena Kliass is arguably one of the most influential landscape architects in Brazilian history. Having graduated from the University of São Paulo in the ’50s, Kliass is responsible for a wide range of publications on landscape design that helped to pave the path for younger generations. Among her most famous projects, we find the landscape design for Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, the urban design of Vale do Anhangabaú, in the same city, and the landscape design of Parque do Abaeté, in Salvador.
Svetlana Kana Radević
Radovic is a Yugoslav architect who is credited as the first female Montenegrin architect. Her professional experience was acquired in Paris, Moscow, and Japan, which influenced her stylistic approach. Her material selection and process of melding the structures with their external environment made her style quite unique among others in the industry at the time, marking the Modern movement in Montenegro and defining a standard in architecture. She is the youngest winner, the only female winner, and only Montenegrin architect to win the federal Borba award for architecture in 1968.
Lota de Macedo Soares
Lota de Macedo Soares was born in Paris in 1910 and was a self-taught Brazilian landscape architect and urban planner, one of those responsible for the Flamengo Park project in Rio de Janeiro. She also worked together with other Brazilian architects to develop residential projects, such as Casa Samambaia, together with Sérgio Bernardes.
A Serbian Modernist architect known for designing Belgrade’s “Museum of Contemporary Art” and Kragujevac’s “21 October Museum”. Her most prominent projects were building factories and hospitals. She worked on the construction of the viscose factory in Loznica, designed the workers’ dining facility in Obrenovac, a tuberculosis hospital in Prizren, cold storage for fruit in the vicinity of Tetovo, a department store in Bečej, and co-designed the industrial zone in Pribo.
Palmer is an architect, designer, teacher, researcher, and editor. She is considered as the voice of authority in the architectural culture of Chile between the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, due to her disciplinary debates on architecture and work as editor-in-chief of Ediciones ARQ. Her work in the magazine put Chilean architecture and architects under the spotlight, being the first magazine in Spanish to be accredited with the ISI category.
Considered as one of the pioneers of female architects in Norwegian architecture, Selmer’s stylistic approach is highlighted in timber architecture, through her wooden cabins and houses which were inspired by nature and designed to not overwhelm or dominate but rather blend with the natural landscape. Her architecture combined local building traditions with modern conveniences, evoking Norway in all its picturesque landscapes and Scandinavian pragmatism.
Maria Josefina de Vasconcellos, mostly known as Jô Vasconcellos, was born in Belo Horizonte in 1947 and graduated from the School of Architecture at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in 1971. In the 1980s she was a member of the “3 Arquitetos” group, together with Éolo Maia and Sylvio de Podestá, whose production was characterized by an evident approximation to international post-modern architecture. Jô Vasconcellos works in the fields of architecture, landscape design and urbanism and is currently the director of Jô Vasconcellos Arquitetos Associados, which is responsible for projects such as the Museum of Cachaça and Culture Station President Itamar Franco.
Marina Waissman (1920-1997). She studied architecture at the National University of Córdoba (Argentina) in 1944. She produced architectural theory looking at the problems of Latin America and proposing adequate tools to understand this context.
The Established Practitioners
Doreen is a registered architect in the United States and Uganda. After completing her undergraduate and graduate studies at the Catholic University (Bachelor of Science in Architecture) and Yale (Masters of Architecture), respectively, she worked for design firms in London, Washington DC, and New York. Now based in Kampala, she founded Adengo Architecture in 2015.Doreen’s practice ranges from the design of furniture and buildings to research and advocacy focusing on the urban and regional scales. She has helped produce exhibits and workshops exploring Ugandan urbanism and architecture at the Goethe-Zentrum Kampala and the Architecture Museum of the Technical University Munich. She has also taught at The New School and Pratt Institute in New York, the University of Johannesburg’s Graduate School of Architecture, and is currently teaching at Uganda Martyrs University.
Born November 10, 1960, Architect DPLG, former resident at the Villa Medici, Béatrice Jullien is also a graduate of the Architectural Association of London and holds a DEA in history and theory of architecture. She has been teaching in the National Schools of Architecture since 1996, in Lille and then in Paris Belleville. She has published The Villa Pietrangeli, an investigation of a missing house, (Éd. de l’Imprimeur, 1994) as well as several studies and research on the history of architecture. She is part of the duo frenak + jullien architectes.
Kalliope Kontozoglou studied architecture at the Polytechnic of Central London (University of Westminster) under David Greene’s tutelage and in 1981 obtained her Diploma in Architecture from the Architectural Association, having attended Dalibor Vesely’s atelier. Upon her return to Athens, she co-operated with T. Spanomarides and I. Zahariades for a year before setting up her own practice under the name Axis Mundi. In 2003 she merged her office with A. & B. Stylianides and K. Sionis forming 3SK Architects, the practice which won the 2003 architectural design competition to transform the Athens FIX Brewery into the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Since 2010 she works as a freelancer operating in Greece and abroad.
Architect, Educator Urban Planner, Simone Kosremelli has founded her studio in 1981. Through her professional work, she tries to glorify vernacular architecture by using the same architectural vocabulary in a modern way, by using the local construction materials, by respecting nature as well as the people living in the vicinity of her constructions. As a teacher of architectural design, she shares with her students her passion for high-quality architectural design respectful of its future users.
Taiwan / United States
Born in Taiwan and raised in the US, Liu is an architect with over 15 years of experience in architecture, art, and landscape, in Taiwan, Japan, China, the USA, and the UK. She began her career with Rocco Design and Arup Associates in Hong Kong, then London and Manchester. Her office Tonkin Liu, which she co-founded with Mike Tonkin, and explores patterns in nature and human nature, has won 20 RIBA Awards.
Marušić is considered as one of the most prominent Serbian architects. Having graduated from the Valjevo Gymnasium and Faculty of Architecture at the University of Belgrade, she was a leading designer and structural advisor at the Institute for Architecture and Urbanism of Serbia, as well as a member of the Academy of Architecture of Serbia, and the Architectural Section of ULUPUDS, delegate of the Engineering Chamber for two terms. Among her many achievements, she co-designed one of the most prominent housing estates in Serbia: Cerak Vinogradi (built 1978-1985), which has been declared a cultural asset of The Republic of Serbia in 2019.
DPLG architect since 2000, Ingrid Taillandier very quickly focused on three activities: the practice of architecture, writing and teaching. She is a graduate of the Paris-Belleville School of Architecture and a master’s degree from Columbia University in New York. This double journey between the new world and the old continent brought an intuitive and free dimension to his thinking within the framework of assumed rigor, mastered concepts and strong social ethics. In 2006, she founded her office ITAR, and she regularly participates in nationwide consultations (reinventing Paris, Olympic Games, etc.), while pursuing thematic theoretical research on housing or high-rise housing.
Vishwanath is an Indian architect based in Bengaluru who works on themes related to ecology and architecture. She has been running her own architectural firm under the BIOME Environment Solutions Private Limited since 1991, working with other architects on many projects in India and Africa. Her firm has been involved in over 500 projects of different scales, and water harvesting and sanitation structures, while highlighting the ecology of the site and usage of sustainable materials.
Daniella Urrutia & Constance Zurmendi
From Uruguay, they are the founders of the UZ:AA architecture studio since 1996. They try to create a platform that integrates architecture from a varied field of activities: professional practice, teaching, competitions, seminars etc.
The Activists and Scholars
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Brazil / The Netherlands
Taneha K. Bacchin is an architect, urban designer, and researcher specializing in the integration of landscape architecture and territorial (water) ecology in urban design. She is Assistant Professor Urban Design Theory and Methods and Coordinator of Research Section of Urban Design, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology. In her projects and teaching, she investigates the nexus between space, ecology, culture, and politics in the design and planning of critical and highly dynamic landscapes. Her current work focuses on environmental fragility, extreme weather, and resource scarcity in relation to processes of de-territorialization and re-territorialization, with projects in the North Sea, the Arctic, Brazil, and India.
Samantha Donnelly is a lecturer at UTS in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building. She has extensive teaching experience in all three universities in Sydney, focusing on participatory design, social impact projects, and sustainable practices in architecture. She works with the UTS Design Innovation Research Centre on designing environments to prevent violence. Samantha is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Monash University in the XYX Lab – Gender + Place within the Faculty of Art, Design, and Architecture. Her thesis looks at the possible effects or benefits of bespoke architectural design for women and children leaving violence and the importance of safe, long-term accommodation for women and children in New South Wales. Samantha’s recent study explores the post-occupancy evaluation of housing for older women in Melbourne.
Victoria Jolly Mujica
Chilean has a master’s degree in architecture and is a visual artist. Work as an assistant professor in PUC teaching experimental courses on concrete materials technology. Co-founder and resident member of Ciudad Abierta since 2007. President of Corporación Cultural Amereida 2020. She has taken part in experimental and site-specific projects related to Architecture and performing Arts.
Argentina / Spain
Born in Argentina but now located in Spain, Zaida Muxí is an architect and urban planner with a degree from the Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo (University of Buenos Aires). She also has a doctorate from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Sevilla and is a professor at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona. She is known for her expertise in issues of space and gender.
Francesca is an architect and an instigator. Trained as an architect in Italy, Belgium, Australia, United Kingdom, she has been trapped in a graphic designer’s mind and now inextricably taken hostage by cre(ative)-activism. Before founding her studio, she collaborated with several international studios, including ENZO MARI in Milan (IT), Russell Hall in Brisbane (AU), and TTSP The Thomas Saunders Partnership in London (UK). Since 2007 she owns and runs FrancescaPeraniEnterprise studio, working in interior architecture, design, and art direction. Currently working on social initiatives: Cutoutmix, an open-source platform delivering a more inclusive and diverse world of free cutouts for the architecture community and RebelArchitette. Since 2017 she is curating, together with 14 creatives, the Architette = Women Architects no-profit cultural project, promoting women’s work in the architecture profession.
Her research, writing, and educational practice cross-architecture, art, feminism, history, and psychoanalysis. She has introduced concepts of ‘critical spatial practice’ and ‘site-writing’ through several authored books. She is a Professor of Critical Spatial Practice at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where she co-initiated and teaches on the new MA Situated Practice, as well as the MA Architectural History. She is also one of the winners of RIBA’s 2021 President’s Awards for Research.
Lindsey is the co-founding principal of Mattaforma and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation leading a Core I M.Arch studio focused on Lower Manhattan Material Commons and an Advanced IV M.Arch studio focused on species-driven Mass Timber. She is transforming the discussion about climate-responsive design into a discourse of design as climate-generating.