Woman Architect of the Year shortlist: Maria Langarita
Founder of Langarita-Navarro Architects, Maria Langarita for the 2014 AJ Women in Architecture Awards
María Langarita co-founded Madrid-based Langarita-Navarro Architects in 2005. Since then the practice has completed a number of high-profile Spanish projects, including the headquarters for the Red Bull Music Academy, which received a special mention at the 2013 Mies van der Rohe Awards; and a contemporary art centre in Madrid, which also won at the XII Spanish Architecture and Urban Planning Biennial. Langarita lectures at the ETSA Madrid and at the University of Alicante.
Why did you choose architecture? It was my one and only option. I cannot remember when I decided. I have always been
an avid reader of everything and especially history books. I believe I was 12 when I read Le Corbusier’s and Frank Lloyd Wright’s biographies.
What is your design ethos? It is about maximising diversity, being aware of others, being inclusive, being hybrid and enriching an open and horizontal cultural archive.
Which architects inspire you? Charlotte Perriand, Ray Eames, Alison Smithson, Denise Scott Brown, Eileen Gray, Kazuyo
What is your advice to aspiring female architects? Be the best architect you can be; keep cool; laugh before crying. The same advice goes for male architects.
What is the biggest challenge facing women in architecture today? I think it changes a lot from one place, country and social environment to another. It is difficult to make a general overview. Women should do their job and make it visible to others. Society needs to assure women the professional space that has been theoretically conquered. Professionals do not work alone: this is a harmful myth. There is always a team and this works the same for women and for men.
What do you think is the best defence against sexism? Dialogue. I don’t believe in a war against sexism based on attacks and defensive reactions. Sexism, racism, homophobia are consequences of ignorance and lack of cultural diversity. Mainstream media, political interest groups and society in general have a responsibility to tackle this. Everyone needs to be enrolled in this matter.
Place of study Navarra University and Madrid Polytechnic University
Current projects Concept designs for the adaptation of existing buildings; designs for work spaces; architectural competitions; private housing; and a number of projects for public institutions and foundations
Clients Fundación Telefónica; Matadero Madrid; Madrid City Council; Red Bull Spain; Empty SL; Daruan; Greenery; Marp; Almunia Park SL and private clients