Cultured Magazine

Fall 2013

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MAJOR CREATORS These female visionaries prove that gender doesn't matter when it comes to forward-thinking architecture. BY RAUL BARRENECHE PHOTO BY IWAN BAAN Mention the term "women architects" and you're bound to stir up a flurry of emotions and opinions. The term itself is controversial: Why does an architect's gender even bear mentioning? Unlike other disciplines and professions— and even other sectors of the design field—architecture stubbornly remains dominated by (mostly older) white men. There are more (and more well-known) outstanding female architects than ever before, among them Deborah Berke, Annabelle Selldorf and, of course, Zaha Hadid, not to mention stellar women who work in partnership with spouses, including Elizabeth Diller, Billie Tsien and Marion Weiss. But female architects are still far outnumbered by their male counterparts, especially in the profession's upper echelons. The discussion has come to the forefront in recent months, as a petition launched by two members of Harvard's Women in Design group challenged organizers of the Pritzker Architecture Prize to recognize, retroactively, the equal contributions of Denise Scott Brown and Lu Wenyu to their spouses' Pritzker-winning work. (The petitioned garnered more than 18,000 signatures, but no retractions or changes from the prize committee.) Editors, critics and bloggers have jumped on the controversy as a chance to rekindle the discussion about gender in architecture—one even calling it architecture's "Lean In" moment, referring to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's book. So, the conversation continues. Here are four talented architects building important projects and pushing the envelope of design. And they just happen to be women. 92 CULTURED Tatiana Bilbao's design for Casa Ventura in Monterrey, Mexico

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