Women in architecture are often unnoticed. There is a huge difference in the proportion of women in schools of architecture to that of women in practice. This clearly defines that the profession is losing women practitioners due to an inequitable setup that exists as an orthodox for ages. It’s important that as the profession serves the client in an equitable manner so should the practice acknowledge and offer an equitable ground for women in architecture. One crucial aspect that would boost and recognize women in architecture awards to honor and respect their contribution to the field of architecture.

“Women are too often in the background: we still need to shine a light on their contribution. These awards really bring them to the forefront, where they deserve to be” _ Martha Thorne, Pritzker Prize Executive Director

W Awards

The W Awards perceive women worldwide, they acknowledge the commitment to the field of architecture, advancing good examples for young women by and by empowering them via promoting equity in architecture. The categories vary from lifetime achievement in the field to contributions in wider architectural culture. The awards are in organization with both The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal. The various categories and recent winner for W Awards 2019 are as follows:

Moira Gemmill Prize for emerging architecture

With a £10,000 prize fund, the award appreciates excellence in design and a bright future for architects & designers under the age of 45, with significance on achievements and completed projects. The winner for the previous year was Xu Tiantian a Chinese woman whose small and complex structures are shaping Chinese countryside

Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for contribution to architecture

The prize that recognizes the work of women in the wider architectural industry with a significant contribution to architecture and the human-built environment. The previous winner includes Helen Binet for her photographs that redefine the way one looks at buildings. The award for 2020 is awarded to architectural historian and theorist Beatriz Colomina for her distinguished work in architecture on sexuality & space, Playboy architecture, etc.

Jane Drew Prize for Architecture    

Award that acknowledges work by architectural designers who have demonstrated dedication to design noteworthy contribution to architectural making. Previous winners include Elizabeth Diller for her role in contemporary creative landscape. And in 2020 Yasmeen Lari Pakistani architect has received the award for her distinguished work in Barefoot architecture that aims at providing environmentally sustainable and participative solutions to lift marginalized communities.

MJ Long Prize for excellence in practice

This is a recent launch in the w awards category. An annual prize that celebrate excelling practices by women architects in UK. 

Tamayouz women in architecture and construction award

A prize that honors the achievements of women architects in the East and North Africa, this award is a   part of the Tamayouz Excellence Award’s seven-award program that recognize the best of architecture in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. The award is mainly given under 2 categories:

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Rising Star 

The category embraces creativity, value-added designs, and professionalism in using different design tools and techniques. The Award for the year 2019 was awarded to Dana Alamri, she is a Saudi architect and cofounder of Jeddah based Watad studio, she looks at creating contextual architectural solutions that respond to local needs.

Women of Outstanding Achievement                                                                        An award that appreciates not only the practice but also the history and analysis of architecture in relationship with the community. The winner for the award in 2019 was Dr Zeynep Celik who is a distinguished professor of architecture and history at New Jersey Institute of Technology – Rutgers University, and adjunct professor of history at Columbia University. she has garnered incredible influence and her contribution to architectural history is significant, her work on late Ottoman architecture, as well as the analysis of architecture archaeology and the built expressions of colonial powers, is worth appreciation. Previous year a highly commended award for outstanding achievement was awarded to acknowledge the work by Shahira Fahmy an architect, urbanist and creative researcher. Fahmy’s work was recognized as to originate from the natural characteristics of a material with great attention to detail and a crafted response towards the social surroundings of the building context.

Architectural Record Women in Architecture Awards

The award appreciates and promotes women leadership across five different categories: Design Leader, New Generation Leader, Innovator, Activist and Educator. The recipients for 2019 under different category were as follows:

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Design Leader

Toshiko Mori, A prominent architect and distinguished lady famous for her explorations in ideas and materials in different scales and variety. She was also the first women to be tenured at the Harvard GSD as a design chair. The jury considered her as an “absolute mastery of craft”.

New Generation Leader                                                                                                        The category intends to honor a woman rising in her profession. Sharon Johnston, a sensible architect who has consistently bought an original, eloquent sensibility towards her project and has yielded excellent results.

Claire Weisz a winner in revitalizing community public space through design. Her innovative approach towards public space design and promotion has always been fruitful.

Dana Cuff, Director of an Urban think tank, City lab, she is also referred to as an expert in affordable housing policies and politics of space. She also has been co-author of legislation to address housing shortages in California.

Mabel O. Wilson, a scholar, curator, practitioner and a professor in architecture and African-American and African diasporic studies at Columbia University. She is an advocate of fair labor practice and has deeply studied the effect of racism on the built environment.

Women in Architecture Fund Award (WIA Fund Award)

The AIA propelled the Women in Architecture (WIA) Fund to advance value in the Architecture calling through awards that address difficulties that Women face throughout their vocations. The vision is to advance value by supporting the women advancement in the calling of architecture and by expanding the diversity of perspectives in promoting inclusive design solutions. The award is awarded twice a year and is also open for undergraduate architecture students in America.

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Marion Mahony Griffin Prize

The Prize is granted every year to recognize a female in the field of design for a distinctive group of work. Set up in 1998 by the NSW Chapter, it means to recognize the critical commitment of women to the profession over various platforms of research, journalism, theory, and practice. The Awardee for 2019 was Abbie Galvin

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Wade Awards

Wade Asia is a dedicated collective platform to connect women in the field of design and architecture and to ensure visibility of women-led projects through recognition through various categories like sustainability champion, emerging architect, Best use of color in architecture & Interior design, etc. In 2017 Wade Asia recognized Didi contractor a celebrated earthen architect and honored her with Wade Asia Lifetime achievement award.


There are many organizations worldwide coming up to appreciate the work by female architects in the profession. This certainly marks that the architecture community is surely considering the need to provide an equitable platform so as to encourage women to practice architecture.

ArchDaily. 2019. Tamayouz Announces The Winners Of Women In Architecture And Construction Award.
ArchDaily. 2020. Moving Towards Gender Equity In Architecture.
Nytimes.com. 2019. Architecture Award Honors Five Women.
Wilkinson, T., 2020. Yasmeen Lari And Beatriz Colomina Announced The Winners Of The Jane Drew And Ada Louise Huxtable Prizes 2020.
The Real Estate Conversation. 2019. Architectural Contribution To NSW Honoured.
Earthville Network. 2017. Didi Contractor Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award.
WADE ASIA. 2020. Awards & Conferences For Women Architects,Interior Designers & Artist - Wade Asia.
ArchitectureLive!.WADE ASIA 2019 Announces Its Theme: WOMEN | WATER | WORKMANSHIP - Architecturelive!.

Yash Siroliya is a Masters in Urban Design student at the Planning Department in CEPT. In an award winning bachelor's thesis, Yash focused on the restoration of the artistic and cultural legacy of a Himachal village. These days he spends his time thinking about public spaces for the next billion.

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