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Jeanne Gang named Architect of the Year and Gabriela Etchegaray winner of the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture

Arcus centre kalamazoo Studio Gang05

Arcus centre kalamazoo Studio Gang05

The Arcus Center for Social Justice in Kalamazoo, Michigan by Studio Gang

We are delighted to announce that Jeanne Gang has won the Architect of the Year award and Gabriela Etchegaray is the winner of the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture

Our judges were particularly impressed with Gang’s tri-axial Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership in Michigan and Etchegaray’s artisanal Mezcal factory in Santiago Matatlan, Oaxaca, which has helped give economic life to the local community.

Both Gang and Etchegaray have demonstrated excellence in design and a commitment to working both sustainably and democratically with local communities.

Jeanne award

Jeanne award

Jeanne Gang, founder of architecture and urbanism collective Studio Gang, is recognised internationally for her bold and functional designs that incorporate ecologically friendly technologies. The Architect of the Year award celebrates Studio Gang’s Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College, Michigan, which took a novel tri-axial form. The first building purposed for social justice, Gang’s democratic and participatory design process involved the organisation, students and public who now work from the Center.

The visually open design activated by daylight encourages transparency and convening in new configurations. The handicraft of the wood masonry used for the building’s exterior is highly sustainable and had not previously been used in the modern commercial arena. A low-tech and relatively inexpensive process, it stands apart from the move in architecture to lean on high-tech materials and 3-D printing. Moreover, the wood walls sequester more carbon than was released in building them, responding to today’s need to reduce carbon pollution.

Guanajuato housing project Mexico City Mexico by Ambrosi Etchegaray3

Guanajuato housing project Mexico City Mexico by Ambrosi Etchegaray3

Guanajuato housing project in Mexico City by Ambrosi Etchegaray

Gabriela Etchegaray is co-founder of art and architecture studio Ambrosi Etchegaray and has worked extensively in architecture and local heritage across residential and public projects. Her 2015 Guanajuato Building in Mexico’s Roma Neighbourhood preserved the façade of traditional colonial houses whilst integrating contemporary private courtyards. Also in 2015, Etchegaray designed Milagrito Mezcal Pavilion in Oaxaca, a renovated Mezcal factory.

Mezcal is a Mexican alcoholic beverage, traditionally produced in the back patio of town houses and passed down through the generations. This design, which emphasized the oven as the heart of the entire production process, necessitated a detailed understanding of the production line to create means of making the production more efficient while maintaining the much revered artisanal process.

Gabriela award

Gabriela award

Christine Murray, founder of Women in Architecture and editor-in-chief of the Architectural Review said: ‘The judging process was such an inspiring event and a hugely exciting day. The jury fell in love with the fabric of Jeanne Gang’s Arcus Center: its feeling of warmth and its attempt to embody its social purpose. Gabriela Etchegaray impressed the judges with her commitment to excellence in design and evolution of that design – and we really felt that her work sprang from a sense of place.’

Norman Foster, judge and co-founder of Foster + Partners said: ‘The impression you leave with is – wow, there is so much talent out there. And the younger generation of architects, as well as more established names, is impressive.

‘The Arcus Center is an interesting building – the materials, the taking of a vernacular, bringing it up to date. It is a building that will respond to the climate, to the elements. It is very gentle in its setting with a strong social agenda.

‘The Women in Architecture Awards is a great initiative. There is such an extraordinary wealth of talent – and also there is a fresher perspective that is very much there.’

Also celebrated in the 2016 Women in Architecture Awards are French architect Odile Decq who has won the Jane Drew Prize and director of the Serpentine galleries Julia Peyton-Jones who has been awarded the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize. The judges described Odile Decq as ‘a creative powerhouse, spirited breaker of rules and advocate of equality’, and Julia Peyton-Jones was celebrated for her ‘incredible global impact achieved with limited resources – and as someone who has done so much to nurture architectural vision and make architecture available to many people’.

DSC 7163

DSC 7163

The 2016 Women in Architecture luncheon

The 2016 judges were Gokhan Avcioglu (GAD Foundation); Sir Terry Farrell (Farrells); Lord Foster (Foster + Partners); Marta Galinanes-Garcia (AKTII); Edwin Heathcote (Financial Times); Eva Jiricna (Eva Jiricna Architects); Sir Mark Jones (Master of St Cross College and former director of the V&A); Laura Lee (Maggie’s Centres); Karen Livingstone ( Science Museum); Christine Murray (The Architectural Review); Colette O’Shea (Land Securities); Philippa Stockley (London Evening Standard); Martha Thorne (The Pritzker Architecture Prize); Victoria Thornton (Open City).

Previous winners of the Emerging Women Architect of the Year include vPPR founders Tatiana von Presussen, Catherine Pease and Jessica Reynolds (2015), sole practitioner and PhD candidate Julia King (2014), Spanish architect Olga Felip (2013) and Hannah Lawson, Director of John McAslan + Partners (2012).

Previous winners of the Architect of the Year award include 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).