Six candidates for the Woman Architect of the Year, focussing on human-centred design

The candidates for Women Architect of the Year have been unveiled and we’ve highlighted six who use architecture to solve the housing crisis and women’s needs.

The Architectural Review has unveiled the candidates for its 2016 Woman Architect of the Year. The shortlist features women architects from China, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

We highlight six women architects, who’ve designed structures that show a commitment to people and the environment. These women are reshaping architecture and responding to the unique socio-cultural particularities such as liveable housing and women’s safety in the counties where they build. 

Tatiana Bilbao of ESTUDIO (Mexico)

The population in Mexico is increasing at an alarming pace and the housing shortage is a dire issue that urgently needs to be addressed. Nominated for the Woman Architect of the Year, Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao proposes a low-cost house that can be adapted to suit varying numbers of residents, and can be expanded as a family grows. It can also be altered to suit the variety of climates around the country, by using a variety of materials and spatial layouts.

“[Tatiana ] Bilbao’s low-income and climate appropriate housing in Mexico demonstrated exceptional design in its solution to the country’s housing crisis,” says the Architectural Review. 

Woman Architect of the Year 2016.

Woman Architect of the Year 2016.

Anna Heringer of Studio Anna Heringer (Germany)

Anna Heringer can make a lot using very little. Her architectural practise is characterised by her understanding of local materials, using site-specific architectural language and engagement with the local community. Heringer has designed schools in rural Bangladesh and a set of three youth hostels, the Dragon, the Nightingale and the Peacock, in China. Heringer’s architecture focuses on the social and cultural responsibility of architecture.

“Across projects and in her work with NGOs, Heringer’s sustainable architecture makes use of traditional materials of the area and introduces new approaches for efficiency and structural integrity,” says the Architectural Review. 

Woman Architect of the Year 2016.

Woman Architect of the Year 2016.

Saija Hollmén, Jenni Reuter, and Helena Sandman of Hollmén Sandman Reuter (Finland)

Finnish architects Saija Hollmén, Helena Sandman and Jenni Reuter all have extensive experience in development projects in several African countries. Their firm is founded on the philosophy that culturally knowledgeable and skilfully designed architecture is a tool that can be used to improve the living conditions of communities, especially among women, and to mitigate poverty. The firm has built a women’s learning centre in Rufisque, Senegal and a refuge for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Moshi, Tanzania.

“Hollmén’s architectural focus on environmental and aesthetic sustainability led to the group’s 2007 founded NGO Ukumbi, which offers architectural services for communities in need,” says the Architectural Review. 

Woman Architect of the Year 2016.

Woman Architect of the Year 2016.

Other candidates include Jeanne Gang, Kazuyo Sejima and Charlotte Skene Catling. The Women in Architecture award winners will be announced at a gala luncheon on 4 March 2016.