British architect Amanda Levete and Dutch artist Madelon Vriesendorp recognised by Women in Architecture awards
British architect and founder of AL_A Amanda Levete is the winner of the 2018 Jane Drew Prize, an award recognising an architectural designer who, through their work and commitment to design excellence, has raised the profile of women in architecture.
First known as half of Future Systems, a practice she ran with her then husband Jan Kaplický and with whom she designed the Lord’s cricket ground media centre and the futuristic Birmingham Selfridges, Levete created AL_A and started her solo career less than a decade ago.
Opened respectively in 2016 and 2017, Lisbon’s Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (AR June 2017) and the V&A’s new Sainsbury Gallery in London both feature complex ceramic tiling and open public spaces, reflecting Levete’s fascination with the sensuousness of materials and her concern for the provision of social space in cities.
Rooftop of AL_A’s Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon
Source: Fernando Guerra
Ongoing commissions include the remodelling of the Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, a new centre for the cancer care charity Maggie’s in Southampton and the World Trade Center Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
Paul Finch, editorial director of The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal, said: ‘Amanda Levete is an architect whose career has been notable at several points, but whose independent practice has blossomed internationally, and whose independent voice has generated welcome debate and reform’.
Dutch artist Madelon Vriesendorp is the winner of the 2018 Ada Louise Huxtable Prize, which recognises individuals working in the wider architectural industry who have made a significant contribution to architecture and the built environment.
Best known for her wonderful paintings, some of which illustrated Delirious New York, Vriesendorp co-founded the Office for Metropolitan Architecture with Rem Koolhaas, Elia and Zoe Zenghelis in 1975, before taking a step away from architecture and focusing instead on the design of costumes, objects, illustrations, exhibitions and short stories.
After hosting the exhibition The World of Madelon Vriesdendorp in 2008, the Architectural Association awarded Vriesendorp with an honorary diploma last June ‘in recognition of her extraordinary contribution to the imagination of architecture’.
Paul Finch said: ‘Madelon Vriesendorp is a rarity: a true artist who has a deep understanding of architecture and its protocols, and whose observant and witty work has provided a thoughtful visual counterpoint to the world of bricks and mortar.’
The Women in Architecture awards, in association with The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal, look to inspire change in the architectural profession by celebrating great design by women architects from around the world and promoting role models for young women in practice.
Women in Architecture luncheon
Levete and Vriesendorp will both be speaking at the AJ/AR Women in Architecture luncheon at Claridge’s on Friday 2 March, where the winners of the Architect of the Year and Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture will be announced – click here to view the shortlists, and here to book your seat at the event.
The Jane Drew Prize
A spirited advocate for women in a male-dominated profession, Jane Drew graduated from the Architectural Association in 1929 into a profession that was unwelcoming to women at best. She started her own practice after the Second World War, and her work played a substantial role in introducing the Modern Movement into the UK. Last year, the prize was given to fearless female icon Denise Scott Brown as she is still fighting against a culture that assigned Venturi to the canon without her. Previous winners include Odile Decq, Grafton Architects’ founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Zaha Hadid, Kathryn Findlay of Ushida Findlay and Eva Jiřičná.
The Ada Louise Huxtable Prize
Ada Louise Huxtable made history by being the first full-time architecture critic at a US newspaper when she joined the New York Times, and was later awarded the first Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1970. Sculptor Rachel Whiteread won the 2017 award for interrogating and materialising our psychic response to space through her artwork, exploring the universal in the particular. As critic Anthony Vidler put it, she is ‘faithful to a truly architectural project’. Former Serpentine Galleries director Julia Peyton-Jones and client and architectural patron Jane Priestman are previous recipients of the accolade, in 2016 and 2015 respectively.