Updated: Jun 4, 2018
In the words of Harriet Beecher Stowe “Women are the architects of the society.” Without a woman our societies, indeed, wouldn’t be the epitome of grace, wisdom and care! Women have been the pioneers of some of the world’s greatest inventions in all fields. Our field of architecture is often said to be a male driven field, and even when you think of it, the names that come to your mind are that of men! So, this Women’s Day we bring to you some of the women who should be paid tribute to for their contribution in the field of architecture and design.
1. Marion Mahony Griffin (February 14, 1871 – August 10, 1961, Born in Chicago, Illinois, The United States)
One of the first women graduates from MIT, she was the first employee at F.L. Wrights' office. It was here that she gained her depth of knowledge in architecture through a 15-year work tenure at his studio. Her contributions along with Wrights and her husband Walter Griffin were unparalleled and some say it was Griffin who was the mastermind behind their project renderings. Some of her projects include The Capitol Theatre in Melbourne, Creswick House, S.R. Salter Residence Vaughan Griffin Home, Heidelberg, Victoria, all in Australia.
2. Maya Lin (October 5, 1959, Athens, Ohio, The United States)
Trained as an architect and artist, Maya Lin is illustrious for her minimalist approach to designing large structures and monuments. Her most critically acclaimed design is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also known as the Wall, honouring the service members of the U.S. armed forces who died fighting in the Vietnam War. She achieved astounding success only at the age of 21. Throughout her career she has continued to create such powerful designs using simple geometric shapes, natural materials and eastern theme. Her few notable works include Civil Rights Memorial at Alabama, Eclipsed Time at Pennsylvania Station in New York, Museum of Chinese in America among others. In 2009, Lin was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.
3. Neri Oxman (1976, Haifa, Israel)
Israeli-born visionary Neri Oxman invented the term “Material Ecology” to express her interest in buildings with biological forms — not just in design, but in the actual use of the elements of biology as part of the construction, a true living building. She believes that “Since the Industrial Revolution, design has been dominated by the rigors of manufacturing and mass-production.” As she tells architect and writer Noam Dvir, “We’re now moving from a world of parts, of separate systems to architecture that combines and integrates between structure and skin.” Her notable works include the Silk Pavilion and Wanderers. As an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT, Oxman rightfully has acquired her place in the field of architecture and can be seen engaging herself as a speaker at events, a favourite among her graduate students and always experimenting to welcome the new.
4. Zaha Hadid (October 31, 1950, Baghdad, Iraq- March 31, 2016,Miami, Florida, The United States)
No matter how much is said about her, all praises fall short in front of this legend. Being the first woman architect ever to win the Pritzker Award, and a Royal Gold Medal, her list of accolades continues throughout her glorious career. She was known for her use of unconventional and circular forms in her designs, which led her to be nicknamed "The Queen of the Curve" by the British media. Her inspiration for many projects often came from the sites and surroundings that she blended so beautifully into her architecture, for example, her projects like the London Aquatics Centre, Guangzhou Opera House in China, Galaxy SOHO in China and countless more that make her the most successful woman architect the world has ever seen! Her style of deconstruction of geometry is prominent in all her structures and it is what makes her forms so liberating thereby achieving the greatest forms of fluidity in them.