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5 Women in Architecture and Design You Should Know

Dinda Karina Y · March 13th, 2023
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Last March 8 was a celebration of International Women's Day. Previously, the profession of architect and designer was usually a male profession. But, that perception does not happen anymore. These women prove that women are capable and can do design work with full innovation and have the characteristics in each of their works.

We gathered five women who work in the scope of architecture and design who have given birth to various innovations in this field, including: 

Yvonne Ferrell and Shelley Mc Namara

Two female Irish architects, Yvonne Ferrell and Shelley Mc Namara, founded an architectural firm, Dublin-based Grafton Architects. The movement of their architectural works influenced them while studying at the School of Architecture at University College Dublin (UCD). Then after establishing the firm, they were known for designing many educational buildings in various countries, including Luigi Bocconi University in Milan, UTEC Lima University Campus in Peru, Solstice Art Center, and Loreto Community School in Ireland. Their outstanding innovation received the Pritzker Award in 2020 and the Royal Gold Medal in 2020, the Royal Institute of British Architects' highest honor.

Yvonne Ferrell and Shelley Mc Namara, photo by Alice ClancyYvonne Ferrell and Shelley Mc Namara, photo by Alice Clancy

UTEC Lima University Campus is located in the Barranco district, close to the busy highways of Peru. The project consists of 10 floors, and the façade is a perpendicular reinforced concrete structural slab. The space includes classrooms, laboratories, offices, and a large garden to respond to the surrounding environment. The design of this building uses a lot of firm lines and geometric shapes, giving a strong and sturdy impression.

Façade of University Campus UTEC Lima, photo by Iwan BaanFaçade of University Campus UTEC Lima, photo by Iwan Baan

The Interior Design of University Campus UTEC Lima, photo by Iwan BaanThe Interior Design of University Campus UTEC Lima, photo by Iwan Baan

Carme Pigem

This Spanish female architect founded RCR Arquitectes with her partners after completing her studies at the School of Architecture in Valles (Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura del Vallès, or ETSAV) in 1987. She won the Pritzker Award in 2017. Carme Pigem explores the idea of unique and distinctive architecture derived from sensitivity to works of art and architecture. In addition to actively practicing with her firm, she teaches urbanism, landscape architecture, and design studio at ETSAV from 1989 to 2001.

Spanish female architect, Carme PigemSpanish female architect, Carme Pigem

She has designed one of the building works of the Waalse Krook Media Library in Belgium. The building is a new media center, library, student resources, activities for children, and a multipurpose room. The shape of the building looks like an unevenly stacked steel array. Its façade consists of a lot of glass as an entrance to natural light and is externally protected by a metal grid of horizontal slats.

Waalse Krook Media Library, photo by Hisao SuzukiWaalse Krook Media Library, photo by Hisao Suzuki

Cecilie Manz

Cecilie Manz is a designer who lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. After she graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Design in 1997, including studies at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, she founded her own Cecilie Manz studio in 1998. One of her interesting works is the design of industrial manufacturing products, experimental prototypes, and sculptures. She was awarded many awards, including the designer of the Year 2018, the Honored Award from the Danish National Bank Foundation 2021, and many more. In addition, she often cooperates with well-known brands such as Duravit, Fritz Hansen, and 1616 Arota Japan.

"My work has always revolved around simplicity, the process of working towards pure, aesthetic, and functional objects," says Cecilie Manz on her studio website.

Cecilie Manz, a female designer from Denmark

Cecilie Manz, a female designer from Denmark

She applied the principle in the design process to one of her work designs. In that case, she collaborated with the Japanese manufacturer of 1616 Arita porcelain, CMA Clay. The product is a porcelain cutlery set with a minimalist, smooth, and high-quality design. The product design process starts with a hand-drawn sketch, then the selected design will be transformed into a 3D mock-up, and the final product will be made.

CMA Clay, photo by Jeppe Sørensen & Elizabeth Heltoft ArnbyCMA Clay, photo by Jeppe Sørensen & Elizabeth Heltoft Arnby

Frida Escobedo

Mexico-based architect and designer Frida Escobedo has received numerous awards, including the New York Young Architects Forum Award Architecture League (2009). Despite her young age, she managed to design various buildings, such as the new Modern & Contemporary Wing for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She became the youngest and first woman to design a building for the institution. In addition, she became an inspiring female architect and was honored as an International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Frida EscobedoFrida Escobedo

One of Frida Escobedo's works in 2021 is the Creek Bench which is furniture with a unique design with long strands like a river. Then it was Pasha de Cartier who co-authored the relaunch of the legendary watch. Frida Escobedo designed an installation of 12 exploited volume fragments and reflected on visitors viewing it like a mirror.

Pasha for Cartier, photo by C129Pasha for Cartier, photo by C129

Creek Bench, photo by MASA GalleryCreek Bench, photo by MASA Gallery

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