The four finalists vying for the first-ever MJ Long Prize for Excellence in Practice – part of the AJ / AR’s W Awards – have been revealed
They are Emma Fairhurst of Collective Architecture, Alice Hamlin of Mole Architects, Tracy Meller of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Nicola Rutt of Hawkins\Brown. The award is named in memory of inspirational architect, lecturer and writer Mary Jane (MJ) Long.
Fairhurst was nominated for the design and delivery of the Calton Hill City Observatory Project in Edinburgh; Hamlin for her work on the award-winning Marmalade Lane housing scheme; Meller for her role on the London School of Economics’ recently opened Centre Building; and Rutt in respect of the much-lauded Here East refit of the London 2012 Media Centre.
AJ editor Emily Booth said: ‘ The shortlist for the inaugural MJ Long Prize showcases real excellence in modern practice. From a university building to an innovative workspace retrofit, to co-housing, to design and restoration of a listed landmark, each of these impressive projects demonstrates a clear understanding of context and care for the communities they serve.’
The annual MJ Long Prize is open to UK-based female architects and judged on an overall body of work with an emphasis on a project completed within the past 18 months.
MJ Long was born in the US and lived in the UK from 1965 until her death in 2018. Her standout projects include the British Library with her husband Colin St John Wilson (1973-98), the National Maritime Museum Cornwall (2003) and the Jewish Museum in Camden (2010) in partnership with Rolfe Kentish.
Meanwhile, the emerging stars in the running for this year’s Moira Gemmill Prize have also been named. The 2020 list of international up-and-coming talent includes Stefanie Rhodes of east London-based Gatti Routh Rhodes.
She is joined by Italian architect Francesca Torzo of Francesca Torzo Architetto; Mariam Kamara, the founder and principal of Atelier Masomi, in Niamey, Niger; and Simona Della Rocca of Turin-based architectural firm BDR Bureau.
The prize recognises excellence in women designers anywhere in the world with a bright future under the age of 45. The award was renamed in memory of the late Moira Gemmill, director of design at the V&A and latterly director of capital programmes at the Royal Collection Trust, and has a £10,000 first prize.
Booth said: ‘This year’s shortlist provides a wealth of architectural talent from Niger to Italy to the UK. It is a privilege and pleasure to celebrate the work of these outstanding architects.’
Gatti Routh Rhodes’ Bethnal Green Mission
Source: Jack Hobhouse
Previous Moira Gemmill Prize-winners include London-based Julia King in 2014, the founders of vPPR in 2015, Mexicans Ambrosi Etchegaray in 2016 and Rozana Montiel in 2017, Gloria Cabral from Paraguay in 2018 and China’s Xu Tiantian in 2019.
Both accolades form part of the W Awards – the successor to the Women in Architecture awards – which 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.
The winners will be honoured at the W Lunch at Battersea Arts Centre in London on Friday 6 March. The recipients of the Jane Drew and Ada Louise Huxtable prizes will be speaking at the event – click here to book your seat.