2018 was an exciting time for women in the architectural profession. The Architectural Review and The Architect's Journal have announced this year's winners during the Women in Architecture awards which took place in New York. Now in its eighth year, the Women in Architecture Awards shined the spotlight on the inspiring women who have continuously pushed the boundaries of the profession through innovative and progressive design. Although the gap between women and men in the profession is still present, the awards provides a platform for female architects to be recognized for their work as well as their leadership.
The Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture recognizes excellence in design and a bright future for women designers under the age of 45, with an emphasis on achievements and completed projects, while the Architect of the Year award rewards a single recently completed project.
2019 Architect of the Year: Shiela O'Donnell
The 2019 Architect of the Year was presented to Sheila O'Donnell and her work on the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. As the founding director of O'Donnell + Tuomey, her leadership and design excellence during her extensive career has enabled her to become a shining example of pioneer for female architects.
Previous winners include: co-founder of Barclay & Crousse, Sandra Barclay (2018); Gabriela Carrillo, co-founder of Taller de Arquitectura Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo (2017); founder of Studio Gang Jeanne Gang (2016); Teresa Borsuk, partner at Pollard Thomas Edwards (2015); Mecanoo’s Francine Houben (2014); ABA founder Alison Brooks (2013); and Michál Cohen and Cindy Walters, founders of Walters and Cohen (2012).
Judge's comments: "O'Donnell's passion for the buildings of the Central European University was rewarded with an exceptionally high-quality building which she evidently fought hard for. She is a role model for young women in architecture. Shiela O'Donnell did not have to break the glass ceiling - her and John Tuomey created a new reality."
Moira Gemmill Prize Winner: Xu Tiantian
The Moira Gemmil Prize for Emerging Architecture 2019 was awarded to Xu Tiantian. The Beijing based architect and founder of DnA (Design and Architecture) emphasizes "architectural acupuncture" in China's rural county of Songyang. Her work in a culmination of buildings that highlight the communities within the area. From the Wang Jing Memorial Hall, to the brown sugar factory her work exemplifies social impact and connectivity. In addition to the award Xu will receive a £10,000 prize fund which will support her continued professional development.
"There is an effortlessness, maturity and deftness about Xu's work, which is equally translatable and relevant in rural China as north Yorkshire. Her projects are all deeply contextual, and executed with bravery and conviction. She is attempting to work in a sustainable way with an entrepreneurial spirit, and has clearly had a very positive impact on her clients."
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