10 Architectural Studies led by Women [V]

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Aino Aalto

Aino Aalto. (Helsinki, 1894 - 1949) Aino Mandelin-Marsio was one of the first female Finnish architects. She played a key role both in the modern architecture of her country and in the work of her husband, Alvar Aalto, with whom she worked until her death in 1949. In their creations they combine the racionalist thinking with Scandinavian vernacular architecture and the use of natural materials.

Her work highlights her interest in small scale, in the most intimate and day-to-day dimension of design, hence her most relevant contributions belong to the field of interior design and furniture. This is the case of the design of the famous Villa Mairea in Noormarkku (1937-1939) or the "minimal kitchen" of 1930, as well as part of the furniture for the Sanatorio de Paimio (1927-1929) or the minimum housing for workers from various factories of the company Älhstrom.

She graduated as an architect at the Helsinki Institute of Technology in 1920. During her studies, she worked as an apprentice in carpentry and masonry, experiences of great influence in her later work. She began her professional career with the architect Oiva Kallio. In 1924 she began working for the office of Alvar Aalto, with whom she married after about six months.

It is difficult to discern the contributions of Aino in the projects attributed to Alvar Aalto. However, according to Giedion, many of their projects are signed by both, and there are also works signed separately, such as contests of interior design, furniture and utilitarian objects.

According to Erling Bjertnae, assistant to the office of Alvar Aalto, Pöytyä Parish was a complete work of Aino. Among her small-scale projects, the creation in 1926 of their own summer house, Villa Flora in Alajärvi, stands out. Two years later, Alvar Aalto won the first prize in the prototype design contest for weekend house with an adaptation of this villa, in the "Konsoli" project.

In 1930 the couple presented a newfangled apartment for the Minimum Apartment Exhibition in Helsinki, with a design in line with the emancipation of women in society. Aino introduced here the first modern built-in kitchen, the famous "minimal kitchen", influenced by the Frankfurter Küchen designed by Margarete Schüte-Lihoztky in 1926.

In 1935 she created the company Artek (art + technique) with her husband and the married couple of Marie Gullichsen and Nils-Gustav Hahl, with the aim of creating objects for the "domestic industry". She will be its creative director until 1941, when she will become general director.

In 1936, the architect obtained the Gold Medal in Design at the VI Milan Triennale, with the Bölgeblick (wave view) series of glass pieces designed in 1932 for a contest organized by the Finnish factory of Karhula and Iittala. The collection, whose conception is highly linked to mass production methods, became very popular, and it is still being manufactured today. Se also collaborated with Alvar in the conception of the famous Savoy Vase in 1936.

In 1938, the couple presented separately to the contest of the Finland Pavilion for the New York World's Fair. Aino won the third prize, while Alvar won the first two. Finally, the pavilion was built with ideas of the three proposals.

Charlotte Perriand

Charlotte Perriand (Paris, 24 October 1903 - Paris, 27 October 1999, Paris, France) has been known through her collaborations with Le Corbusier and Fernand Léger. However, at a time when it was rare for a woman to be an architect, designer and artist, Perriand's career spanned three quarters of a century and spanned places as diverse as Brazil, Congo, England, France, Japan, French New Guinea, Switzerland, and Vietnam.

Between 1920 and 1925 she attended the Ecole de l'Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, where she studied furniture design. She also attended classes at the Grande Chaumière Academy from 1924 to 1926. Frustrated by the approach based on craftsmanship and the Beaux-Arts style defended by the school, Perriand moved away from anything of a traditional nature.

She became known at the age of 24 with her Bar sous le Toit made of chromed steel and anodized aluminum which was presented at the Salon d'Automne in 1927. Shortly thereafter she began her journey of more than ten years together with Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier. In 1927 she established her first studio of her own.

She collaborated with Le Corbusier on numerous architectural projects, designing the equipment for different dwellings such as the villas La Roche-Jeanneret, Church en Ville-d'Avray, Stein-de Monzie and the Villa Savoye, as well as the interiors of the Swiss Pavilion in the University City and the Shelter City of the Armée du Salut, both in Paris. She also worked with him on the definition of the minimum cellule (1929).

In 1937 Charlotte Perriand left Le Corbusier's studio and turned her attention to more traditional materials and more organic forms. She devoted herself to research in terms of prefabrication of modulated dwellings in which she collaborated with Jean Prouvé. Perriand's collaborations multiply throughout her career, working with architects such as Lucio Costa, Niemeyer, Candilis, Josic & Woods.

Her relationship with Le Corbusier did not end there, as she would collaborate with him again after the war, developing the first prototype of the integrated kitchen for the Marseille Room Unit.

The project where all her previous explorations on prefabrication architecture, standardisation, minimum cell, industrialisation and materials come together was the winter complex of Les Arcs in the French Savoy. Between 1967 and 1982, Perriand designed and built the three ski resorts of Les Arcs, located at an altitude of 1600, 1800 and 2000 metres, where 18,000 people had to be accommodated. The initial idea was to work with the grouping of minimum cells.

Matilde Ucelay

Matilde Ucelay Maórtua (b. 1912, Madrid - d. November, 24th 2008, Madrid, Spain) was the first woman to have a degree in architecture in Spain, in 1936, and also the first to pursue a full professional career: more than 120 projects carried out entirely by herself with the sole occasional help of a quantity surveyor, some of them abroad, in more than 40 years of professional practice. Most of her works are single-family houses, such as the one she built for José Ortega Spottorno, but she also designed factories, laboratories, warehouses and shops. In her works stands out the sensibility for the use and the care in the constructive details. An exceptional trajectory recognized by the National Architecture Prize 2004.

Ucelay belongs to that generation of women from the Spanish enlightened bourgeoisie who, educated in liberal, artistic and professional environments, began to enter universities in the first decades of the 20th century. Ucelay brilliantly studied high school at the Instituto Escuela, which she combined with her piano studies, and in 1931 she entered the Madrid School of Architecture. There she meets Félix Candela, whom she will bind for life, and Fernando Chueca Goitia. When she finishes his studies, her classmates offer her a tribute to the one attended by Amós Salvador, Minister of the Interior.

In 1940 she was purged by the General Directorate of Architecture and condemned in the Council of War to perpetual disqualification for public, managerial and trust positions and, for five years, for the private practice of the profession. As a consequence, she never received public commissions and her first projects could not bear her signature.

The women of Ucelay's generation opened paths in Spain in the different areas of art, science and professions, although many of them abandoned or simply failed to exercise their professions in the hostile environment of Franco's regime. This was not the case with Ucelay. On the contrary, at a time when women lacked legal rights, Ucelay, with great intelligence, dedication and character, fully exercised a liberal profession of important responsibilities until her retirement in 1981.

Gae Aulenti

Gaetana Aulenti (1927-2012) was an Italian architect who dedicated herself to recovering the architectural values of the past. For almost ten years she worked in the editorial office of Casabella under the direction of Ernesto Nathan Rogers. His works include numerous renovations and rehabilitations of buildings of historical value.

In 1953 she finished her degree in architecture at the Politecnico di Milano. In the fifties Italian architecture was devoted to research into the historical and cultural recovery of the architectural values of the past and the existing built environment. From her pages in the magazine Casabella she proposed the Neoliberty as an alternative to the rationalism prevailing in the architectural conventions of the moment.

After obtaining her doctorate, she taught at the School of Architecture in Venice from 1960 to 1962 and at the School of Architecture in Milan from 1964 to 1967.

As many of her contemporaries, Aulenti designed several furniture series throughout the 1960s for the La Rinascente store and later designed furniture for Zanotta, where she created two of her best-known pieces, Abril, a stainless steel folding chair with a removable lid, and the Sanmarco table built from glass plates.

In 1981 she was chosen to renovate the 1900 Beaux Arts Gare d'Orsay train station, a spectacular landmark originally designed by Victor Laloux, in the Musée d'Orsay. Her work at the Musée d'Orsay led to the creation of a space for the National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the restoration of Palazzo Grassi as an art museum in Venice (1985); the conversion of a former Italian embassy in Berlin into an Academy of Sciences and the restoration of a 1929 exhibition hall in Barcelona as the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (1985). In San Francisco, she converted the city's Central Library into an Asian art museum. In 2008 she carried out the restoration of the Palazzo Branciforte in Palermo.

In 2012, Gae Aulenti received the Gold Medal of the Triennale di Milano for her artistic career in recognition of her position as one of the masters of Italian design.

Diana Balmori

Diana Balmori (1932-2016) She was born in 1932 in Gijón, Spain and emigrated to Argentina as a child, where she graduated from the University of Tucumán in 1952.  She received a Ph.D. in Urban History from the University of Califorinia at Los Angeles in 1973 and graduated from the Radcliffe College Landscape Program in 1989. After working with her husband César Pelli for many years she founded her own firm, Balmori Associates in 1990.

Her urban design practice designs sustainable infrastructures that serve as an interface between landscape and architecture. In 2006, she created BAL/LABs within Balmori Associates, to further push the boundaries of architecture, art and engineering: Green Roofs, Floating Islands, Temporary Landscapes, Forms of Representation, and Zero Waste City, among others.

Diana had an active voice in national policy and decision-making on topics that relate to landscape design, architecture and urban planning. She served as: member of The United States Commission of Fine Arts in Washington, DC; a Senior Fellow of Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC; a member of the Allston Development Group at Harvard University, Boston, MA; on the Board of The Van Alen Institute, New York City; The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for the World Trade Center Site, New York City; and as a Committee Member for the Comprehensive Design Plan for the White House.

Some of her most notable work includes, NTT Shinjuku Headquarters Building. Tokyo, Japan. 1995 Abandoibarra Masterplan. Bilbao, Spain. 2012. Euskadi Square. Bilbao, Spain. 2012. New Government City. Sejong, South Korea. 2007-2014. Beale Street Landing. Memphis, USA. 2015 São Paulo Corporate Towers. São Paulo, Brazil. 2017

She wrote numerous publications on the topic of Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and public spaces. Some of them are Redesigning the American Lawn: A Search for Environmental Harmony (co-author). Yale University Press, 1993. Transitory Gardens, Uprooted Lives (co-author). Yale University Press, 1993. Land and Natural Development (LAND) Code: Guidelines for Sustainable Land Development (co-author). Wiley, 2007. Groundwork: Between Landscape and Architecture (co-author). The Monacelli Press, 2011. A Landscape Manifesto. Yale University Press, 2010.

She has received various awards for her work, including Best Project, Special Award “Citta d’Aqua”, Biennale di Venezia, 2004. Fifth European Urban and Regional Planning Award, European Council of Town Planners, 2004. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, Award of Excellence, 2004. Award of Excellence AIA New York State, 2009. Highest Honor Award for Sustainability Leadership, The Institute of Green Professionals (IGP), 2009.

She died in 2016 in New York City.

Roser Amadó

Roser Amadó was born in Barcelona in 1944. She studied at the School of Architecture of Barcelona (ETSAB), from which she got her degree in 1968. From that moment, she shared her architecture studio with Lluis Doménech Girbau, with whom she has carried out numerous rehabilitations, housing, equipment and cultural buildings, such as the Cap Pont University Faculty in Lleida and the Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona. Currently both are part of B01 arquitectes, studio which stands out for its commitment to sustainable architecture.

Their work maintains the rigor both at the urban scale and in the technical executions, for which they have obtained recognition at both levels: in 1985 she receives with her partner the National Urban Planning Prize for their Historic Downtown Plan of Lleida, as well as the First Construmat Prize for their project of social housing in the Rec Comtal. The team brings a special interest in the relationship between architecture and city, between architecture and nature, as well as in interior design. 

In the early seventies, Roser Amado directed the magazine "Nuevo Ambiente".

In 1980, both partners were part of the team that wrote the Plan of the Historical Center of Lleida, which brought them international recognition and the National Prize of Urbanism of 1985. They developed the central projects of the Plan together with Ramon Domènech as a builder. The project covers several scales, linking toghether architecture and urban context, and among other contributions, it transforms the neighborhood and eases the ascent to La Seo, one of the most important Gothic buildings in Catalonia.

Later, they intervened in several works of the modernist architect Domènech i Montaner. In this context, they received the first Decada prize (2000) for the reconversion of the Montaner i Simón publishing house in the Antoni Tàpies Foundation. Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown were part of the jury. Other projects in Barcelona allow them to intervene in the urban fabric of Ciutat Vella and the Ensanche de Cerdà.

With the beginning of the new century, the studio incorporates Sander Laudy, Carles Cortadas and Laura Pérez, to form B01 arquitectes. The study lends special dedication to the field of sustainability, they carry out rigorous researchs and innovation projects in the field of new technologies and materials, among which the DOM prefabrication system stands out. B01 is a member of the Green Building Council Spain and it has an accredited LEED-Green evaluator on its team.

Nathalie De Vries

Nathalie de Vries (Appingedam, the Netherlands, 1965) is a co-founder and principal architect and urban designer of MVRDV, an interdisciplinary studio that works at the intersection of architecture and urbanism. The award-winning Dutch practice was set up by De Vries alongside Winy Maas and Jacob van Rijs in 1993 and has established an international identity with a wide variety of building typologies and scales that are self-generated, innovative, experimental, and theoretical.

Over the past 25 years she has designed and realised projects  such as Villa VPRO (1997), Silodam Housing (2003), and the Spijkenisse Library (2012) as well and the masterplans for Nieuw Leyden (2013) and Westerpark West in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2015). Recent projects include the award winning Baltyk office Tower in Poland (2012), as well as office projects in Łódź, Shanghai, and Colombo, housing projects in Rennes, France, San Francisco, USA and Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She also worked on Resilient by Design San Francisco and created leisure masterplans for sites in Shanghai and Thailand.

Her projects also include designs for three national monuments: the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (2014), the award-winning Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam (2004) and Buitenplaats Koningsweg in Arnhem (2010). As Chief National Railroad Architect De Vries has built up experience in transport infrastructure which she has translated into a series of projects.

In addition to her work for MVRDV, De Vries engages as Professor of Architectural Design at Delft University of Technology and Chairman of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects. She regularly lectures at renowned universities and engages in international juries. In the past she held various positions, among them Professor of Architecture Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and Technical University of Berlin, Germany; Visiting Critic at Harvard GSD, Boston; Chief Railroad Architect for ProRail/NS; The Morgenstern Visiting Critic Chair at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Besides this she is and has been a board member of various Dutch art and design museums and institutions, among them the Groninger Museum and Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art.

Currently she is curating an exhibition at AUT in Innsbruck, Austria, about MVRDV’s typologies which will open mid-2019.

Ana Elvira Vélez

Ana Elvira Vélez, born in 1966 in Colombia, is an architect trained at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Her most notable work is her proposal for the Botanical Garden in Medellín. She was a professor at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, lecturer and jury in numerous universities and architecture meetings. As a young girl she was passionate about painting and drawing.

She began studying architecture at the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Colombia, then moved to London where he finished her diploma in the AA in 1992. During 1991 and 1992 he worked in the firm of architect Wiel Arets in Maastricht, Holland. She returned to her country and opened an office in Medellín, working on the design of collective housing and public space, obtaining several distinctions in national and international biennials.

Winner of the Germán Samper Gnecco Award in 2004 with the La Playa Apartments Project (with Architect Juan B Echeverri) at the XIX Colombian Biennial, and the Urban Design and Landscape Award in 2010 with the Botanical Garden Medellín - Exterior Perimeter (with the Arq. Lorenzo Castro) in the XXII Biennial of Colombia. And at the XXIIII Colombian Biennial in 2014 she received a Mention in the Architectural Project Category with the Alto del Mercado Project in Marinilla, Antioquia (with Arch. Juan B Echeverri).

In the XXVI Biennial of Architecture Colombia she was awarded another Mention for the Hispania Educational Park and second place for Reconstruction of Salgar. She has been a jury in several national competitions and jury of the VII Ibero-American Architecture and Urbanism Biennial (BIAU) 2010. Lecturer of national and international events such as the VII Architecture and Design Congress of Arquine; "Caja Box" - Ciudad de México, 2006; "Colombia at Columbia" Avery Hall Columbia University - New York, 2012; 1st Congress of Sustainable Collective Housing - Barcelona, ​​2012; National Congress of New Zealand NZIA and Cornell University - USA in 2015 and Radcliff Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University in 2017.

Since 2014, she has been a teacher of the "Urban and Environmental Processes" Master's Program Urbam EAFIT and a consultant for the same school where she leads the Casa + Entorno line, and currently directs the Housing and Habitat Laboratory in COMFAMA with collective housing projects in Medellín and the region of Antioquia.

María Augusta Hermida

María Augusta Hermida Palacios, was born in 1967 in Ecuador. She is a founding partner of Durán & Hermida arquitectos, a firm that has won several awards and contests. She completed her PhD at the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña (2011), a Master in Computerization of Architectural Projects (2003) at the same University and a Master's Degree in Architectural Projects (2009) approved by the University of Cuenca, Ecuador where she graduated as an architect in 1999.

She also studied Philosophy between 1991 and 1994, Sociology between 1989 and 1990, and Mathematics and Physics between 1985 and 1989. She is currently a full-time Professor at the University of Cuenca where she has been teaching since 2005, teaching the subjects of Architectural Design and Theory and History of Architecture. He was also a teacher of the Master of Architectural Projects. Previously, she held other positions at the University of Cuenca as Director of the Doctorate Program in Population, Territory and Good Living, Member of the Academic Council of Postgraduate Degrees, Director of Graduate Degrees at the Faculty of Architecture and Director of the Master of Architectural Projects.

She was also director of the Magazine A0 and of the Magazine PROYECTOS and President of the Academic Committee of the College of Architects of Azuay. She wrote about Ecuadorian architecture in her three compilatory books Miradas a la Arquitectura Moderna en Ecuador, linked to the Master's Degree in Architectural Projects of the University of Cuenca. She is an active defender of modern architecture, positioning herself against the demolitions of remarkable examples of this architecture in her country. Between 2012 and 2015 she was president of Do.co.mo.mo Ecuador and from 2012 to date she is a member of IForm Club Forma Moderna Internacional.

Regarding her career as a researcher, Augusta Hermida is currently the Director of the Interdisciplinary Department of Research in Space and Population and of the Sustainable Cities Group-LlactaLAB. Since 2015 she is a member of the Advisory Board of the magazine Reports of Construction. She is also Coordinator in Ecuador of the Energy Efficient Urban Communities Network, funded by CYTED. Her field of research is currently focused on issues related to urban design, sustainability and resilience of Latin American cities. He has given talks at universities in several countries: KU Leuven University, Ghent-Belgium; University of Jyväskylä, Helsinki-Finland; Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona-Spain.

Various institutions and international events have counted on his presence as a speaker, among them: Euro-ELECS 2015, Latin-American and European Conference on Sustainable Buildings and Communities, among others. Together with Javier Durán, her husband, she is the owner of the Durán & Hermida arquitectos studio. Within his professional practice he has received awards such as the National Mention of Architectural Design at the XIX Pan-American Architecture Biennial of Quito 2014 with the Paiguara Millennium Unit. His rehabilitation project of Plaza Víctor J. Cuesta received the National Urban Design Award at the XVI Pan-American Architecture Biennial of Quito 2008. His projects carried out in his Durán-Hermida Arquitectos studio have been published in several national and international magazines.

María Samaniego

María Samaniego was born in 1972 in Quito, Ecuador. Her family was interested in different cultural manifestations, pre-Columbian and colonial art, music, literature. She studied architecture in Quito. Her bachelor final project: Housing in Modern Architecture of Quito (authorship with Yadhira Alvarez and Catherine Mejía).

Later she was part of the research team of the Archives Museum of Architecture of Ecuador that is part of the Architects Association of Ecuador-Pichincha, and of the research team of the Architecture Guide of the City of Quito -modern period- of the Junta de Andalucía. In university, María Samaniego meets her classmate Adrián Moreno, and together decide to take on the task of designing a house for a family member, a project that later became the winner of the National Architecture Award shared at the X Pan-American Architecture Biennial of Quito in the year 1996.

She is co-founder of the Ecuadorian firm Arquitectura X. She finished her studies in 1998 and has a brief period of professional practice in Mexico. The work of Arquitectura X is awarded with the Special Honor Mention in the National Architectural Design category at the XII Pan-American Architecture Biennial of Quito for Casa MB6 in 2000 and Casa Santos Kronfle in the BAQ 2002 edition. Casa Samaniego and Casa MB6 were nominated for the Mies Van Der Rohe Prize for Latin American Architecture in 1998 and 2000 respectively.

In 2006 they were the winners of the National Ideas Competition to develop the Barranco de Cuenca megaproject, 2003. They were invited to the selection process for the Design Contest of the Nobel Center in Stockholm, 2012, and five times selected by Ecuador for the Ibero-American Architecture and Urbanism Biennial 2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, among other recognitions and mentions for their projects.

Samaniego has been a professor at the University of the Americas and Universidad San Francisco de Quito and jury of the Gold Medal University competition in the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Central University of Ecuador in Quito in the years 2011, 2012 and 2016.In 2010 she participated as a jury of the Ornato Award granted by the Municipality of Quito. In the same year she was General Coordinator of the Pan-American Architecture Biennial of Quito, BAQ 2010.



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