Walters & Cohen take home AJ Woman Architect of the Year award
Michál Cohen and Cindy Walters have together won the inaugural AJ Woman Architect of the Year prize
The duo – who founded the UK’s only predominantly women-led studio, Walters & Cohen in 1994 – have been recognised for design excellence, thought leadership and being role models for aspiring architects.
The AJ Women in Architecture Awards judges praised Cohen and Walters for the ‘consistent quality of their architecture, combined with the ethos of the practice,’ remarking upon their ‘active involvement with the RIBA and in teaching and examining at architecture schools’.
‘Exemplary work, by two exemplary women, at an exemplary practice,’ they said.
Cohen and Walters beat shortlisted architects Amanda Levete, Sarah Wigglesworth, Deborah Saunt, 2012 Jane Drew Prize-winner Zaha Hadid, Alison Brooks, Heneghan Peng’s Roisin Heneghan and Clare Wright of Wright & Wright to win the coveted prize.
Around 70 per cent of Walters & Cohen’s workforce is female – as are three out of the four company directors.
The company has designed 50 primary and secondary schools with 32 completed or currently in progress.
On picking up the prize Cindy Walters said: ‘This is totally unexpected. We could not do any of the work we are doing without the brilliant and amazing people in our office. This is for them.’
High-profile projects include the £6.7 million Hylands School completed in 2011, the £5.3 million Orchard Building at Bedales School in Hampshire, and a BSF revamp of Colston’s Girls’ School in Bristol. The practice’s £5.5 million extension and refurbishment of Ryde School on the Isle of Wight officially opened last month.
The company is currently masterplanning an arts hub for Godolphin and Latimer School in London and designing a new girls’ boarding house for Marlborough College in Wiltshire.
AJ Woman Architect of the Year
Winner: Michál Cohen and Cindy Walters, Walters & Cohen
Citation: The judges wanted to celebrate and champion the work of Cindy Walters and Michál Cohen with this award. The consistent quality of their architecture, combined with the ethos of the practice, not to mention Walters and Cohen’s active involvement with the RIBA and in teaching at examining at architecture schools. Exemplary work, by two exemplary women, at an exemplary practice.