Women Pioneers in Architecture & Design
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating five women who changed the face of the architecture and design industry. In a field that is still largely male-dominated, these women shattered stereotypes and paved the way for generations of female architects to come.
Read on for a glimpse into their inspiring stories!
In 2004, the revolutionary Zaha Hadid became the first woman architect to ever win the Pritzker Architecture prize. From China’s Guangzhou Opera House to Rome’s MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, her bold, curvilinear designs have attracted global acclaim. Although she passed away in 2016, she left a profound mark on skylines around the world and her legacy will continue through several posthumous projects.
Click here to see what is on the horizon for Zaha Hadid Architects.
Lina Bo Bardi
Lina Bo Bardi has been called “the most underrated architect of the 20th century.” Her innovative designs made significant cultural contributions to Lina’s adopted home of Brazil, and to modern architecture around the world. In addition to purpose-driven buildings, the Italian-born architect also designed furniture. Released in 1951, her signature bowl chair was a radical innovation for its time.
The travelling exhibition, “Linda Bo Bardi: Together,” provides an excellent opportunity to learn more about the designer and her story.
Norma Merrick Sklarek
Norma Merrick Sklarek broke barriers when she became the first African-American woman to be licensed as an architect in the United States. The New York native helped form Siegel, Sklarek, Diamond – one of the largest female-owned architectural firms in the country. Her most notable designs include Terminal One at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the U.S. Embassy building in Tokyo, Japan.
For more information on Norma Merrick Sklarek’s legacy, read her obituary published in the Los Angeles Times.
One half of the Japanese firm, SANAA Architecture, Kazuyo Sejima is famous for masterfully using the color white and clean, slick surfaces in her modern designs. Along with fellow Japanese architect, Ryue Nishizawa, she won the Pritzker Prize in 2010 and regularly presents at exhibitions and universities throughout the United States and Europe. Her most inspiring designs include the Toledo Museum of Arts’ Glass Pavilion in Ohio, The Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland and the New Museum of Contemporary Arts in New York. Click here to explore Kazuyo Sejima’s latest projects.
Denise Scott Brown
Along with her partner and husband, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown is regarded as one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. The team’s most notable projects include the Sainsbury addition of the National Gallery in London and the Seattle Museum of Art. In 1989, she published an essay that she had originally written in 1975 called “Room at the Top? Sexism and the Star System in Architecture.” This proclamation was one of many times she condemned discrimination in the profession and became an advocate for her fellow female architects. Click here to read Denise Scott Brown’s “Room at the Top? Sexism and the Star System in Architecture.”