Last week, Architectural Record, one of the biggest monthly magazines of the industry, announced the honorable winners of this year’s Women in Architecture Awards. The honorees are Toshiko Mori, Sharon Johnston, Claire Weisz, Mabel O. Wilson, and Dana Cuff. This year’s is the sixth edition of the award, which aims at recognizing the work of women’s leadership in several categories, which include design, new generation, innovation, activism, and education.
Toshiko Mori, who was recognized as a leader in the category of design, became the first woman to be tenured at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Among the list of Mori’s major works, we can find the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (Rockland, Maine;2013-2016), Brooklyn Public Library, Hudson Park and Boulevard, the New York University Masterplan, and The Newspaper Café (Jinhua City, China;2004-2007). Her work was described as an example of what an “absolute mastery of the craft” is by John King, architecture critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.
The new generation leader award went to Sharon Johnston, cofounder of the Johnston Marklee firm. Her projects include the Menil Drawing Institute, in Houston, TX, and the Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios, at the University of California, Los Angeles. Besides, she has taught at different renowned universities, including Hardvard Graduate School of Design, Princeton University, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
For the innovation category, the award went to Claire Weisz, who has worked in several public space projects, including the renovation and redesign of the Rockaway Beach boardwalks after Hurricane Sandy. Weisz is also the founder of WXY, a New-York based firm that focuses on innovative approaches to public spaces, structures, and cities. This firm has received several awards and recognitions, including the League Prize from the Architectural League of New York, as well as being selected as one of the League’s Emerging Voices practices in 2011.
Dana Cuff, who is a professor of architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, received the Architectural Record award for activism leadership, as she focuses her work on research and legislative advocacy in favor of affordable housing. Cuff is also the founder of cityLAB, an urban research group located at UCLA. She is also the author of three different publications: Architecture, the Story of Practice (MIT Press, 1991.); The Provisional City: Los Angeles Stories of Architecture and Urbanism (MIT Press, 2000.); and Fast Forward Urbanism with Roger Sherman (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011.).
Last but not least, the education category award was given to Mabel O. Wilson, who is a professor of architecture, as well as African American Studies, at Columbia University. Wilson is the founder of the Studio & firm and founding member of the Who Builds Your Achitecture? Collective, which advocates for fair labor practices on building sites. Besides, Wilson’s work has been exhibited around the world, including the Venice Biennale and the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, located in New York.