In an announcement today, the Architectural Review and the Architects' Journal celebrated more leading ladies in their 2017 Women in Architecture Awards. Gabriela Carrillo was named the 2017 Architect of the Year out of a notable shortlist, while Rozana Montiel won the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture. Last month, Denise Scott Brown was honored with the Jane Drew Prize.
Carrillo and Montiel were commended for their outstanding commitment to practicing sustainably and democratically with local communities in Mexico. “The judges were impressed with Gabriela Carrillo’s ability to design flexible spaces, and work with light and shadow to such compelling effect,” said Christine Murray, the founder of Women in Architecture and editor-in-chief of The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal. “And they were inspired by Rozana Montiel’s sensitive and perceptive approach to community buildings.”
Read on for more.
2017 Architect of the Year: Gabriela Carrillo
Carrillo won Architect of the Year — which recognizes design excellence in a built project completed in 2016 — for her Criminal Courts for Oral trials project in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán.
In her practice Taller Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo, Carrillo focuses on always “finding an impactful balance between the language of existing buildings and contemporary architectural expression“, like considering how to insert a new building in the historic layers of a city without any destruction.
The stone oval building of the Criminal Courts project surrounds an arrangement of rectangular brick constructions with sloped tiled roofs that respond to the region's climatic conditions, which are abundant in rain. Voids in the structure are filled with gardens overlooked by the building.
“The main problem we had to cope with in this building was to find a way to comply with very strict security rules while at the same time proposing an idea of space that would give everyone a feeling of freedom and transparency,’ Carrillo says in the Architectural Review's March issue. “We needed barriers but also a sense of aperture. We decided then to deal with the project as a walled city where the wall could be understood more as a limit, and the inner spaces could be experienced as an open town.”
2017 Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture: Rozana Montiel
Founder of Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura, Montiel's sensitive, collaborative engagements stood out to the jury for the Moira Gemmill prize. She maintains a smaller-scale, “hands-on” approach to her work, which includes local urban rehabilitation projects in sensitive areas around Mexico as well as low-cost interventions to engage with local communities. These projects include the Veracruz Cancha sports court, the Tepoztlan House, and the San Pablo Xalpa Unidad Habitacional housing unit.
“All architecture is political. We become political the moment we build in, with, or for the polis, the city. Everyday decisions build the city. We can read in daily spaces the political priorities of our society. Architecture has the power to shape civic behaviour because, more than laying bricks, it lays the founding principles of public and social exchanges,” Montiel says in the AR's March issue.
Montiel’s studio “works within the residual shapes of modernity and, unlike some of its contemporaries, does not seem to be anxious about repeating its massiveness. Although she acts with some preconceptions of shapes and materials, the approach is closer to how an industrial engineer might operate. ‘We often re-signify common elements by placing the accent on different formal approaches and building systems. We also re-draw entire sites – redrawing is a way of looking closer at the real, of picking up details that are crucial in transforming reality’.”
Images and quoted text courtesy of The Architectural Review & The Architects' Journal 2017 Women in Architecture Awards.
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