There is an impressive roster of world-renowned, award winning, female architects shaping the design field and earning international recognition. So much power and design prowess in one room might set off alarms, but in one list they make up an impressive pool of powerful women from which to gain inspiration and genius. Female architects are seamlessly designing solutions incorporating timeless elegance with human-first elements and they are winning top design awards along the way. With so many accomplishments and famous structures designed by women, the male dominated stigma no longer applies.
Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang Architects
Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects is an award-winning American architect with offices operating out of New York and Chicago. Before starting her own firm, Gang worked with Rem Koolhaas and was a graduate with distinction from Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her most notable buildings are located in North American and include: skyscrapers, college buildings, cultural buildings, theaters, and boardwalks. In her 2010 project, Aqua Tower, a fluid 87-story mixed-use residential skyscraper, Gang earns distinction for the third tallest building in the world that was designed by a woman architect. Currently, Gang is working on a new skyscraper, also in Chicago, that is slated to be the city’s third tallest building known as, Wanda Vista. Her designs represent a crossroads between individuals, communities, and environments. Most recently, the Architectural Review recognized Gang as the 2016 Architect of the Year.
Kazuyo Sejima, SANAA
Known for clean, modern lines Japanese architect, Kazuyo Sejima has created impressive and distinctive projects from Switzerland to Spain. Inspired by fluidity, the designer uses shapes, windows, and glass to create open public spaces. Futuristic silhouettes are created using squares and cubes and slick shiny surfaces are made from glass, marble and metal. Sejima likes to combine the building with the surrounding areas as demonstrated so well in the Rolex Learning Center for the Ecole Polytechnique Federale. Imperfect circles are cut from the structure to resemble a slice of Swiss cheese placed on the banks of Lake Geneva. It is an association not lost on the building’s home country of Switzerland. The award-winning design earned Sejima and her partner, Ryue Nishizawa, the Pritzker Prize in 2010. Her most recent project takes place in her home country and involves new trains for the Seibu Railway; a tram service in Japan slated for completion in 2018.
Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects
Beyond famous structures such as the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility and multiple high-rise residential buildings in Manhattan, Annabelle Selldorf is often sourced for gallery and studio designs for Jeff Koons and David Salle. Selldorf of Selldorf Architects, is a German-born architect based out of New York City. Her aesthetic is described as understated elegance, modern, and proportionate. Architectural Digest named Selldorf one of the top 100 designers in the world. Her other work varies beyond cultural intuitions, universities, and residential buildings to include interiors, hotels, and retail flagship stores. In each approach to a design solution, the firm is firmly adhered to humanism, purpose and poetry.
Maria Langarita, Langarita-Navarro Arquitectos
Maria Langarita is the co-founder of the Madrid firm, Langarita-Navarro Architects. She is the architect behind the Red Bull Music Academy, a high-profile project completed in Spain. In 2014, the practice was awarded the Young Architect of the Year award. Langarita’s personal style ethos is about diversity, inclusion and cultural enrichment. She looks to other female architects both past and present for inspiration to include Kazuyo Sejima, Denise Scott Brown, and Eileen Gray. Langarita believes the same rules of success apply for both men and women in architecture. Her current projects consist of concept designs for existing buildings, commercial spaces, residential, and public institutions.
Michelle Kaufmann, Michelle Kaufmann Studio
In the early 2000s, Mary Kaufmann founded Michelle Kaufmann Designs, an architecture firm in northern California that specialized in single-family and multi-family sustainable homes. Kaufmann later shut down her firm to open Michelle Kaufmann Studio where she focuses on prefabricated and custom built residences. The prefabricated-modular homes Kaufmann designs aren’t just any prefab homes, they are sophisticated, zero energy homes using the most high-tech green materials available. The roofs act as both a collector of energy through solar panels, and also water collection to help with a neutral energy bill. There is even a spot to plug in an electric car. Kaufmann claims an understanding of design and the environment goes back as far as her childhood. She has won several awards for design innovation and green home design to include: the Henry Ford of green homes by Sierra Magazine, and an Innovations Award from Social Venture Network.
Sadie Morgan, dRMM
Sadie Morgan grew up and studied architecture and design in England. She met partners, Alex de Rijke and Philip Marsh while studying at Kingston Polytechnic and founded drMM in 1995. Their first project “No. One Centaur Street” won seven awards, putting the new designers on the map. The three went on to win “Best New Architectural Firm.” Morgan is a busy woman: she serves as a chair for the design review of the HS2 high-speed rail project, and has also been appointed a member on the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission making Morgan one of the most powerful architects in the UK. Morgan’s firm, drMM, has completed projects to include educational buildings, residential homes, multi-family housing developments, artists studios, and galleries.
Ivenue Love-Stanley, Stanley, Love-Stanley P.C.
Ivenue Love-Stanley earned a Masters of Architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology and went on to become the first African-American woman to be a licensed architect in the Southeast. She co-founded the Atlanta-based firm, Stanley, Love-Stanley, P.C. with her husband William J. Stanley III. The female architect has been designing for major buildings in the Southeast and primarily in Atlanta, Georgia since 1978. She is well known for the Aquatic Center for the 1996 Olympic games, the National Black Arts Festival headquarters, student centers, and award-winning churches. Love-Stanley is also recognized for her advocacy work for minority inclusion in the profession. Her influence on the Atlanta built environment ranges from commercial, educational to transportation and interior design.
Caroline Bos, UNSTUDIO
Caroline Bos comes to the field with an outsiders approach to architecture, considering her background began in journalism. Her main design ethos is collaboration and she is considered a “secret weapon” as part of the team at UNStudio. She is a co-founder with husband Ben van Berkel of UNStudio (United Network Studio), intentionally excluding her name to promote the theme of teamwork. The firm’s major projects include the Prince Claus Bridge in the Netherlands, and the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany. Boss credits design competitions with her firm’s success. She holds the view that the practice of competitions is incredibly favorable for producing insightful design thinking and solutions.
Both male and female architects are challenged with designing for existing surroundings while looking decades ahead. What women are doing for the design field both complements and pushes forward design thinking. What is evident is that women are producing award-winning, innovative architectural designs that are shaping public and private spaces around the world.
The following listed samples are not necessarily what was used in the project above. Instead, we have suggested several similar looking finishes below.