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Five inspiring female architects changing the world with their work

Tim Gibson

11 March 2021

AS PART of our celebrations to mark Women in Construction Week 2021, we've rounded-up five incredible female architects who are smashing glass ceilings, inspiring young girls and changing the world with their work.

Tosin Oshinowo

Based in Nigeria, Oshinowo is the director of cmdesign-atelier. Having worked on a number of projects in various architectural firms across Europe and Africa (including SOM and Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam), Tosin incorporated her own firm in 2012.

Notable works include the Bahai Temple in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo where she drew inspiration from the Kuba people, known for their textiles featuring distinctive geometric patterns.

Oshinowo’s designs have an aesthetic signature, following the values of ‘less is more’ and ‘function follows form’.

Above: Oshinowo was invited to take part in a closed competition to design the temple. Image courtesy of cmdesign-atelier.

Jeanne Gang

Gang’s design process, which emphasises research, experimentation, and collaboration inside and outside of traditional design fields, has resulted in a diverse, award-winning body of work.

Based in the US, Gang is behind the two tallest skyscrapers designed by a woman, including the Aqua Tower in Chicago, an ingenious building whose unique form is achieved by varying the floor slabs across its height, based on criteria such as views, sunlight, and usage.

Gang is also behind Chicago’s latest supertall, Vista Tower.

Above: Aqua Tower was the tallest skyscraper designed by a woman until Gang beat her own record with Vista Tower. Image courtesy of George Showman .

Kazuyo Sejima

Japanese-based architect Sejima is known for her clean, modernist designs. She has worked on several projects in Germany, Switzerland, France, England, the Netherlands, United States, and Spain and in 2010 was the second woman ever to receive the Pritzker Prize, which was awarded jointly with Nishizawa.

Most famously, she has designed the The Rolex Learning Center for the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland. As well as the Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo.

Above: The Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo. Image courtesy of Kakidai.

Amanda Levete

A Stirling Prize-winning British architect, Levete founded her firm ALA in 2009, and in 2011 won an international competition to design a new entrance, courtyard and gallery for London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

Other notable projects include the MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) project in Lisbon for the EDP Foundation, the Central Embassy project in Bangkok, 10 Hill's Place in London and the pop-up restaurant Tincan.

Above: The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon. Image courtesy of Maria Eklind .

Odile Decq

Decq is a French architect, urban planner and academic. She is the founder of the Paris firm, Studio Odile Decq and the architecture school, Confluence Institute.

Her most notable work includes the colourful Antares Tower on the east side of Barcelona, a rehabilitation project that through elevation and façade treatment is transformed into a high-end residential tower.

Above: The Antares Tower in Barcelona. Image courtesy of Sectorlight.


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