For this year’s Women in Architecture Awards, The Architectural Review and the Architects’ Journal have selected Sheila O’Donnell as Architect of the Year and Xu Tiantian to win the Moira Gemill Prize for Emerging Architecture in the 2019 Women in Architecture awards. The Architect of the Year award recognizes excellence in design specifically in the context of a recently completed project and the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture is awarded to women designers under the age of 45 who show design excellence indicative of a bright future.
Architect of the Year
Sheila O’Donnell, of O’Donnell + Tuomey, was awarded this year’s top honor for her work on the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. The design includes a new building as well as transformative interventions to an existing structure. The project adds drama to the campus while still maintaining a relationship with the architecture of the surrounding city.
“O’Donnell’s passion for the buildings of the Central European University was rewarded with an exceptionally high-quality building which she evidently fought hard for. She is a role model for young women in architecture. Sheila O’Donnell did not have to break the glass ceiling – her and John Tuomeycreated a new reality.”
The 2019 shortlist for Architect of the Year also included:
Eva Prats, Flores & Prats, for Casal Balaguer Cultural Centre in Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Ellen van Loon, OMA, for the Qatar National Library in Doha, Qatar
Carme Pigem, RCR Arquitectes, for De Krook Library in Ghent, Belgium
Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture
In work she describes as “architectural acupuncture,” Xu Tiantian has populated the rural Chinese county of Songyang with impactful projects, including a bridge connecting communities, a brown sugar factory, the Hakka Indenture Museum, a tofu factory, and the Wang Jing Memorial Hall. Founder of DnA (Design and Architecture), based in Beijing, Xu was awarded this year’s Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture and its £10,000 prize fund to support her continuing professional development. The fund was created in memory of the late Moira Gemmill, director of design at the V&A.
“There is an effortlessness, maturity, and deftness about Xu’s work, which is equally translatable and relevant in rural China as north Yorkshire. Her projects are all deeply contextual, and executed with bravery and conviction. She is attempting to work in a sustainable way with an entrepreneurial spirit, and has clearly had a very positive impact on her client.”
The shortlist for the 2019 Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture also included:
Lina Ghotmeh of Lina Ghotmeh Architecture (France)
Irene Pérez of TEd’A Arquitectes (Spain)
Jeannette Kuo of Karamuk Kuo (Switzerland)
Also awarded in this year’s Women in Architecture awards were the Jane Drew Prize to Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Liz Diller and the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize to architectural photographer Hélène Binet.