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Women in Architecture Award 2018 winners announced

Peruvian architect Sandra Barclay has won this year’s Architect of the Year Award while Gloria Cabral from Paraguay has won the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture

The annual accolades, which were presented at special luncheon at Claridge’s in London, are backed by the AJ and sister title The Architectural Review.

Barclay, co-founder of Lima-based Barclay & Crousse, was chosen ahead of three other finalists for the 2018 Woman Architect of the Year award for her work on Peru’s Museo de Sitio de Paracas.

Also in the running were Biba Dow of London’s Dow Jones Architects for the practice’s Garden Museum scheme in Lambeth; Ángela García de Paredes of Madrid-based Paredes Pedrosa Architects for Twin Houses in Oropesa; and Stephanie Macdonald at 6a Architects for Cowan Court in Cambridge.

Barclay’s ‘bold and ambitious’ 1,170m² archaeological museum replaced an original structure that was almost totally destroyed in an earthquake. It is designed to blend into its harsh desert surroundings – as well as withstand them.

The judges, which included previous Woman Architect of the Year co-winner Cindy Walters of Walters and Cohen, commended the building’s simplicity and strength in a challenging context. The jury commented that, in the face of lack of control on site and limited resources, ‘the architects [had] responded to the lack of context with a design that was both robust and simple, yet powerful [with] even its man-made imperfection adding value to the building’.

Emily Booth, the AJ’s editor and fellow jury member, explained: ’The Museo de Sitio de Paracas is a bold, ambitious project with an admirable clarity of purpose that encapsulates the determination and focus of this exceptional architect.’

Now in its seventh year, the accolade rewards work on a single recently completed project and has previously gone to Mexican architect Gabriela Carrillo in 2017, US star Jeanne Gang in 2016, Teresa Borsuk of Pollard Thomas Edwards in 2015, Mecanoo’s Francine Houben in 2014 and Alison Brooks in 2013.

Ar women in architecture sandra barclay paracas museum cristobal palma 4

Ar women in architecture sandra barclay paracas museum cristobal palma 4

Paracas Museum, Peru, by Barclay & Crousse. Photograph by Cristobal Palma

Meanwhile, the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture, which recognises excellence in design and a bright future for women designers under the age of 45, was given to South American star Gloria Cabral.

She was chosen ahead of rising talents Ilze Wolff of South African practice Wolff Architects, Anna Puigjnaner and Maria Charneco of Spanish practice MAIO, and Sook Hee Chun of Korean WISE Architecture.

The jury praised Cabral, 35, a partner at Gabinete de Arquitectura in Paraguay, for the way she managed to combine rational yet innovative construction techniques with humble materials, such as Paraguayan brick. Her projects, the judges said, aimed to find more efficient ways to transform the environment with the tools available.

Beyond her deep understanding of materials and construction, the jury commended Cabral’s ‘sensitive appreciation of the life and use of the buildings she designs’. They noted that her commitment to architecture is ‘extraordinary’ and that ‘her passion is infectious’.

Booth commented: ‘Gloria Cabral has such energy and passion for her work – and this just shines through. From her sensitive understanding of materials to her creative vision, she is a most deserving winner of the Moira Gemmell Prize for Emerging Architecture.’

Cabral will receive a £10,000 prize fund created 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. The prize fund will support Cabral in her continuing professional development.

Ar women in architecture gloria cabral gabinete fada federico cairoli 2

Ar women in architecture gloria cabral gabinete fada federico cairoli 2

FADA, Paraguay, by Gabinete de Arquitectura. Photograph by Federico Cairoli

Also celebrated in the 2018 Women in Architecture awards is architect and founder of AL_A Amanda Levete, who won the 2018 Jane Drew Prize, an award recognising an architectural designer who, through work and commitment to design excellence, has raised the profile of women in architecture. 

Dutch artist Madelon Vriesendorp is the winner of the 2018 Ada Louise Huxtable Prize, which recognises individuals working in the wider architectural industry who have made a significant contribution to architecture and the built environment.

All nominees and winners of this year’s Women in Architecture Awards are contained in the March issue of The Architectural Review – copies are available to purchase here