Celebrating the best design by female architects from around the world, enter this year’s W Awards today – entries are free
Following on from eight years of Women in Architecture, the W Awards celebrate exemplary work of all kinds; from the design of the world’s most significant new buildings to contributions to wider architectural culture, from lifetimes of achievement to the work of women with bright futures ahead.
Deadline: Monday 2 December
‘You’re a damn fine woman painter’, the artist Jackson Pollock tells Lee Krasner in Ed Harris’s biographical film centred on the aforementioned man painter. The qualifier stings; smarting with the weight of thousands like it, with Krasner’s historical neglect, this particular sting is not entirely unfamiliar today. A winner of last year’s awards, Sheila O’Donnell insists that ‘We have to get to the point where it doesn’t have that Pollock connotation – a damn fine woman painter’. The road is longer yet.
Our ideas around identity are constantly evolving, and require constant re-examination. We want to signify the shifts we continue to undergo in how we think about gender in the profession. What we call these things matters in the process: as the very basis of communication, the words we use underlie the formation of our society. They structure how we think and how we act. Some have countless associations, but they are also necessarily limited.
We are not leaving an old tradition as much as continuing to evolve it: W is reflective of our past, of the lineage of work that we seek to continue, but the suggestive signification opens to the future. What remains of utmost importance is the celebration of exceptional design by people who are systemically undervalued by the society in which we live. The W programme will continue to build on the work we have done to date, continuing to raise the profile of women in architecture worldwide, inspiring change as a united voice of this global call for respect, diversity and equality. We look forward to the year ahead, joining forces and celebrating the outstanding contribution these architects make to the wider profession.
Now we are inviting you to put forward talented women for the W Awards – or you can nominate yourself. This year, entries are open for the Moira Gemmill Prize and the MJ Long Prize for Excellence in Practice.
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The deadline for nominations is Monday 2 December and it’s free to enter. Winners will be honoured at an event at Illuminate, The Science Museum in London on Friday 6 March. Full details of how to enter can be found below.
Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture
This award recognises excellence in design and a bright future for designers under the age of 45, with an emphasis on achievements and completed projects. Renamed in memory of the late Moira Gemmill, the £10,000 prize fund aims to support the continuing professional development of the winners. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to present in person to our world-renowned judging panel.
This year, Xu Tiantian received the prize for a series of projects in the Chinese countryside, bringing new life to rural areas in the context of intense urbanisation. Previous winners include: partner at Gabinete de Arquitectura Gloria Cabral (2018); Rozana Montiel (2017); Gabriela Etchegaray, co-founder of Ambrosi Etchegaray (2016); vPPR founders Tatiana von Preussen, Catherine Pease and Jessica Reynolds (2015); sole practitioner Julia King (2014); Olga Felip of Camps Felip (2013); and John McAslan + Partners’ Hannah Lawson (2012).
How to enter
Please fill in the online form here including a 200 word statement outlining the nominee’s current work and practice, and send a portfolio of images including a selection of built projects in which the nominee has lead or co-lead the design and completed in the last 18 months to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note high resolution photographs will have to be provided free of charge and usage rights granted for editorial use in connection with the W Awards.
MJ Long Prize for Excellence in Practice
We are delighted to launch this new annual prize, named in memory of inspirational architect MJ Long, to celebrate architects who are excelling in practice. In recognition of the London home of the awards, the prize will be open to UK-based architects working for UK-based practices, and will be judged on an overall body of work with an emphasis on a project completed within the past 18 months. You might be running a large project for a multinational client or focusing on more modest design interventions within a small practice – or even exploring new ways of working in architecture.
MJ Long was an architect, lecturer and writer, born in the US and living in the UK from 1965 until her death in 2018. Projects include the British Library with Colin St John Wilson (1973-98), and the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (2003) and the Jewish Museum in Camden (2010) in partnership with Rolfe Kentish.
How to enter
Please fill in the online form here including a 200 word statement outlining the nominee’s current work and practice, and send a portfolio of work of images – including built projects, work in progress as well as research and other design work – to email@example.com. Please note high resolution photographs will have to be provided free of charge and usage rights granted for editorial use in connection with the Women in Architecture awards.
Please note the judges reserve the right to move entrants between categories
In addition to the Moira Gemmill Prize and the MJ Long Prize, we will also be awarding two further awards for lifetime achievement which are not open for nominations.
Jane Drew Prize for Architecture
The Jane Drew Prize recognises an architectural designer who has demonstrated a commitment to design excellence and made a significant contribution to architectural production.
The prize is named after the great Jane Drew, who was a spirited advocate for women in a male-dominated profession. She 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.
This year, the prize was given to co-founder of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Elizabeth Diller. Past winners are Amanda Levete (2018), Denise Scott Brown (2017), Odile Decq (2016), Grafton Architects’ founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (2015), Kathryn Findlay of Ushida Findlay (2014), Eva Jiřičná (2013) and Zaha Hadid (2012).
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Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for Contribution to Architecture
This award recognises individuals working in the wider architectural industry who have made a significant contribution to architecture and the built environment. The award is open to anyone who has influenced and contributed to wider architectural production, from critics and clients to photographers and artists.
The prize is named after architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, who 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.
Hélène Binet won the 2019 award for her highly influential contribution to architectural photography. Former recipients are artist and OMA co-founder Madelon Vriesendorp (2018), sculptor Rachel Whiteread (2017), former Serpentine Galleries director Julia Peyton-Jones (2016) and architectural patron Jane Priestman (2015).
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Find out more about all previous Women in Architecture winners here