The founder of US practice Studio Gang, Jeanne Gang, has won this year’s Woman Architect of the Year Award
The judges of the annual award, run this year by the AJ’s sister title The Architectural Review, chose Gang ’for her bold and functional designs that incorporate ecologically friendly technologies’.
The Women in Architecture (WIA) jury was particularly impressed by Gang’s tri-axial Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership In Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Gang was chosen ahead of Charlotte Skene Catling, the only British architect shortlisted this year, Tatiana Bilbao from Mexico and Japanese star Kazuyo Sejima.
Meanwhile the 2016 Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture – named after the late director of design at the V&A – was handed to Mexican rising star Gabriela Etchegaray, the co-founder of art and architecture studio Ambrosi Etchegaray.
The judges were wowed by Etchegaray’s 2015 Guanajuato Building in Mexico’s Roma Neighbourhood and her artisanal Mezcal factory in Santiago Matatlan, Oaxaca, which has helped give economic life to the local community.
Etchegaray will receive £10,000 to support her continuing professional development.
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.’
She added: ‘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 were French architect Odile Decq, who has won the Jane Drew Prize, and Serpentine Galleries director Julia Peyton-Jones, who has been awarded the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize.
The 2016 judges were Gokhan Avcioglu (GAD Foundation), Terry Farrell (Farrells), Norman Foster (Foster + Partners), Marta Galinanes-Garcia (AKTII), Edwin Heathcote (Financial Times), Eva Jiricna (Eva Jiricna Architects), 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 and the AJ), Colette O’Shea (Land Securities), Philippa Stockley (London Evening Standard), Martha Thorne (The Pritzker Architecture Prize) and Victoria Thornton (Open City).
Previous winners of the Architect of the Year
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).
Previous winners of the Emerging Women Architect of the Year
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).