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10 Famous Female Architects Leading the Way in the AEC Industry in the Modern Day

Pragya Sharma

10 min read

February 22, 2023


Table of Contents

Architecture for women has hardly been a thing in the past, as it has traditionally been a male-dominated field, with women historically facing barriers to entry and advancement in the industry. However, over the past few decades, more and more women architects have broken through these barriers and become leaders in the field. Today, there are many talented and famous female architects who are making significant contributions to the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. Some female architects’ contributions have transformed the world and history of architecture. In this article, we will highlight 10 contemporary and most influential female architects who are redefining the AEC industry.

10 Top Currently-Practicing Female Architects Across the Globe

Discover the top contemporary female architect shaping a promising future for the AEC industry. 

1. Jeanne Gang 

Jeanne Gang

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Famous Projects: Makkah Royal Clock Tower, One World Trade Center, Ping An Finance Center 

Jeanne Gang is an American and one of the top women architects and founder of Studio Gang, a design firm based in Chicago and New York City. Gang is known for her innovative designs that incorporate sustainability and community engagement. One of Gang's most notable projects is the Aqua Tower in Chicago, which is a mixed-use building that features undulating balconies that give the tower a sculptural appearance. She is also committed to using her platform as an architect to address social and environmental issues.

2. Patricia Urquiola

Patricia Urquiola

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Famous Projects: New Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Missoni Store, Faliro Loft, Patrizia Moroso’s House

Patricia Urquiola is a world-renowned architect and designer known for her innovative and distinctive approach to design. Urquiola is known for her eclectic and experimental designs, which combine traditional craftsmanship with contemporary materials and techniques. Il Sereno Hotel at Lake Como, Italy is a stunning example of Urquiola's approach to architecture and design, which emphasises the use of natural materials and a deep respect for the surrounding environment.

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3. Marianne McKenna

Marianne McKenna

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Famous Projects: Park Hyatt Toronto, Bloor Street United Church and Cielo Condos, Center for Computing & Data Sciences and Boston University, Allied Music Centre/Massey Hall Renovation and Expansion, Parliamentary Precinct Redevelopment of Block 2

Marianne McKenna is Canadian, one of the top female architects and founding partner of KPMB Architects, one of Canada's leading architectural firms. McKenna is known for her innovative and sustainable approach to architecture, as well as her focus on creating buildings that are sensitive to their surroundings and engage with the communities they serve. The Gardiner Museum in Toronto, Canada, is a stunning example of McKenna's approach to design, which emphasises the use of natural materials, light, and texture to create buildings that are both functional and beautiful.

4. Elizabeth Diller 

Elizabeth Diller

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Famous Projects: The Broad Museum, Pirelli 39, Columbia Business School, Zaryadye Park, Lincoln Center, Dissona Work Live Complex, High Line

Elizabeth Diller is an American architect known for her innovative and boundary-pushing designs. She co-founded the interdisciplinary design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Ricardo Scofidio in 1979, which later became Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) when Charles Renfro joined the firm in 2004. Throughout her career, Diller has been recognised for her bold and unconventional approach to architecture, which often blurs the boundaries between art, architecture, and technology. One of her most notable projects is the redesign of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

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5. Farshid Moussavi 

Farshid Moussavi

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Famous Projects: Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Victoria Beckham's Flagship Store in London, Folie Divine residential tower in Montpellier

Farshid Moussavi is an Iranian-British architect, designer, and educator. In 2011, Moussavi founded her own architecture firm, Farshid Moussavi Architecture (FMA), which has designed a range of projects, including residential and commercial buildings, cultural centres, and public spaces. Notable projects by FMA include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, the Victoria Beckham flagship store in London, and the residential complex La Folie Divine in Montpellier, France.

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6. Kazuyo Sejima 

Kazuyo Sejima

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Famous Projects: Castelbajac Sports Store, Platform I Vacation House, Saishunkan Seiyaku Women's Dormitory, Platform II Studio, Serpentine Gallery

Kazuyo Sejima is a Japanese architect known for her innovative and minimalist designs. Sejima's work is characterised by a clean and minimalist aesthetic, and her designs often blur the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces. Sejima has received numerous awards for her work, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2010, becoming only the second woman to win the award. Her most notable works include the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. 

7. Annabelle SelldorfAnnabelle

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Famous Projects: Sunset Park Material Recovery Center, Bond Steer, Steinway Hall, National Gallery London, Neue Galerie, Bowery, Hauser & Wirth 18th Street

Annabelle Selldorf is a highly respected German architect based in New York City. She is the founder of the architectural firm Selldorf Architects, which is known for its elegant and thoughtful designs that blend form and function. In 1988, she founded her own firm, Selldorf Architects, which has since become renowned for its work on a wide range of projects, including cultural institutions, residential buildings, and commercial spaces. Her most notable projects include the renovation of the Neue Galerie New York, a museum of early 20th-century art and design. 

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8. Carme PinósCarme Pinós

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Famous Projects: Escola Massana, Art and Design Center, Igualada Crematorium, Rio Blanco Pavilion, Cube 2, Torrelanca Park , CaixaForum Zaragoza

Carme Pinós is a highly respected Spanish architect known for her innovative and sustainable designs. Carme Pinós is a highly respected Spanish architect known for her innovative and sustainable designs. In 1991, Pinós founded her own architectural firm, Estudio Carme Pinós. Her designs are characterised by their emphasis on sustainability and innovation, as well as their focus on the human experience of space. Cube II Towers in Guadalajara, Mexico is one of her most notable projects. 

9. Rossana Hu

Rossana Hu

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Famous Projects: The Waterhouse at South Bund in Shanghai, The Walled – Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat, Suzhou Chapel

Rossana Hu is a Chinese architect and co-founder of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, an international design firm based in Shanghai. Hu is known for her innovative designs that merge traditional Chinese aesthetics with contemporary design. One of her highly accoladed projects is the Waterhouse at South Bund, a hotel in Shanghai that is housed in a former warehouse. Her designs seamlessly blend tradition and innovation, and her commitment to education and advancing the field make her a true leader in the industry.

10. Melike Altinisik 

Melike Altinisik

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Famous Projects: Istanbul TV and Radio Tower,  Robot Science Museum in Seoul

Melike Altinisik is a Turkish architect and founder of Melike Altinisik Architects, an Istanbul-based design firm. Altinisik is known for her innovative use of technology in architecture and her commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. The Istanbul Chamber of Architects and Engineers building designed by Altinisik incorporates a green roof and a photovoltaic system that generates energy for the building.

In Conclusion

The above-mentioned women architects have different areas of expertise, but they all share a commitment to innovation, sustainability, and design excellence. By showcasing their work, we hope to inspire and empower the next generation of female architects to pursue their passions and make their mark on the industry.

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