The Architect’s Journal announces the winner of the AJ Women in Architecture Awards 2014

The Architects’ Journal (AJ) has announced the winners of the annual Women in Architecture awards at a ceremony at London’s Langham Hotel.

The awards celebrate the women who are leading the architectural industry, and create much-needed role models for women in the profession. The awards ceremony is being attended by leading architects including Zaha Hadid and Patty Hopkins.

The winner of the Woman Architect of the Year is Francine Houben, the influential designer of the Library of Birmingham. Houben is the founder of architecture practice Mecanoo architecten and has received widespread acclaim for the Library of Birmingham, one of the most high-profile UK-based buildings of the last year. Houben is currently working on the HOME Art and Culture House in Manchester and a housing scheme for the University of Cambridge. The judges praised Houben’s ability to ‘combine that leadership role with the highest quality of architecture’.

The prize for Emerging Woman Architect of the Year is awarded to Julia King, a ‘truly inspiring’ young British-Venezuelan architect focusing on urban development. King designed and built a sewer for low-income homes in New Delhi and is working on the regeneration of a major drain in India that runs through slum areas, as well as studying for a PhD at London Metropolitan University and establishing a practice in New Delhi and London. The judges felt that she ‘came across as someone who is very driven, very smart and very capable of getting things done often in very difficult circumstances’.

The Jane Drew Prize for lifetime contribution to architecture is presented to the family of Kathryn Findlay, the ‘hugely brilliant’ architect who sadly passed away on 10 January, the day that the award was announced. Findlay is best known for her organic structures such as the Truss Wall House in Tokyo, Soft and Hairy House, also in Tokyo, Poolhouse 2 in the Chilterns and, most recently, her work on the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower in London’s 2012 Olympic Park.

The AJ Women in Architecture Awards were founded in 2011 to raise the profile of women architects in a sector where women still face an alarming degree of discrimination. These female architects have succeeded in a difficult environment, as revealed in the results of AJ’s annual Women in Architecture survey, released simultaneously, and highlighting widespread discrimination and unequal pay in the profession.

Christine Murray, editor of The Architects’ Journal, said:

‘It gives me great pleasure to reveal the deserving winners of the AJ Women in Architecture Awards 2014. Both Francine Houben and Julia King are achieving great things, blazing a trail for aspiring female architects and inspiring us all with their drive and passion. The contrasting work of Francine and Julia epitomises the huge variety of projects that architects can influence, and the positive effect architecture can have on our everyday lives.

‘It was with a real sense of sadness that we announced the winner of the Jane Drew Prize for lifetime achievement, having only just learned of Kathryn’s death. Kathryn Findlay is widely recognised as one of the most brilliant minds in architecture, and I hope this award will assure her place in architectural history. I’m proud that this award, which is one of the few in the industry to celebrate the work of an architect across their whole career, has been awarded to such a deserving person.

‘I hope that the AJ, through these awards, will continue to shine a light on the incredible talent of women architects, and encourage and inspire the women coming up behind them.’

The 12-strong jury included Doreen Lawrence, founder of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, Woman Architect of the Year 2013 Eva Jiřičná, and Laura Lee, chief executive of Maggie’s Centres. Eva Jiřičná said she found the judging “absolutely amazingly interesting and astonishing” and commented that she is “full of admiration for how many bright women there are and we somehow are not aware of it,” with fellow judge Moira Gemmill, director of design at the V&A adding:

“We are much more aware of the increased profile of women in architecture over the last three years, and it is largely down to this sort of initiative”.

AJ Woman Architect of the Year 2014 shortlist:

  • Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Grafton Architects Co-founders of this successful women-led Irish practice, shortlisted for the 2013 Stirling Prize with their University of Limerick campus, and currently exhibited in the Sensing Spaces show at the Royal Academy
  • Róisín Heneghan, Heneghan Peng Architects Co-founder of the practice behind the Giant’s Causeway visitor centre (shortlisted for the 2013 Stirling Prize), Heneghan is currently overseeing the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza and the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, Palestine
  • Francine Houben, Mecanoo architecten The woman behind the £188.8 million Library of Birmingham, Houben founded Mecanoo in 1984. The library was voted Building of the Year in an online poll of AJ readers
  • María Langarita, Langarita-Navarro Arquitectos Architects of the Red Bull Music Academy headquarters as well as the Medialab-Prado for Madrid City Council, María co-founded this Madrid-based practice in 2005
  • Kirsten Lees, partner, Grimshaw Lees is behind much of Grimshaw’s work in the sports sector, developing a masterplan for the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon. Other work includes a new contemporary art gallery in Istanbul
  • Sadie Morgan, dRMM Only the fourth woman to be elected president of the prestigious Architectural Association architecture school, Morgan is co-founder of successful practice dRMM, most famous for their Stirling-Prize shortlisted 2010 Clapham Manor Primary School, currently at work on residential projects for both the Elephant and Castle, and Battersea Power Station redevelopment
  • Adriana Natcheva, Groves Natcheva Architects Adriana co-founded her practice in 2000. Projects include a head office in Brazil, and 15 residential developments across London

AJ Emerging Woman Architect of the Year 2014 shortlist:

  • Hannah Corlett, Assemblage Co-founder of a young practice (founded in 2003) which won the competition for the new $1 billion Iraqi parliament building. Assemblage has also won the campus for the University of Qatar engineering department and a competition for a 15ha new settlement in Iraq
  • Angela Dapper, Denton Corker Marshall The woman behind the Stonehenge Visitor Centre has led its design since it began in January 2009. Current projects include the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hyde Park
  • Daisy Froud, AOC A vocal and active woman in practice, Froud sits on two London borough design review panels and is a built environment expert for CABE. Froud co-founded practice AOC in 2003 and is the practice’s head of participation. AOC’s work includes the Spa School, Bermondsey, St Saviour’s & St Olave’s school extension and the Olympic Park red telephone box installations
  • Julia King Working on urban development projects between the UK and New Delhi, King designed and built a sewer for 322 low-income houses in New Delhi and is working on the regeneration of the Taj East Drain. She also designed prototype houses and water kiosks for a Savda Gherra resettlement colony
  • Hana Loftus, HAT Projects Loftus is co-founder of the practice behind the £3.5 million Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, and temporary structures for the reopening of the Olympic Park
  • Yeoryia Manolopoulou, AY Architects Winner of the 2013 Stephen Lawrence Prize for the Montpelier Community Nursery, AY also completed a small library for Torriano Infants School. Current projects include the redevelopment of the New Charlton Community Centre in Woolwich
  • Aranta Ozaeta Cortázar, TallerDE2 architects With projects in Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK, Aranta co-founded the practice in 2007 while still a student. Her first built project, a childminding centre, won the International Bauwelt Prize. Projects include experimental housing in Selb, Bavaria
  • Nicola Rutt, Hawkins\Brown A partner at large practice Hawkins\Brown, Rutt is currently leading the design team on the redevelopment of the International Broadcast Centre at the Olympic Park for iCITY. She is also behind the transformation of a Grade II-listed warehouse into an office for MTV in Camden