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Celebrating women in the built environment

Zaha Hadid GlasgowTo commemorate International Women’s Day, we at MCP chose five women who have had, or are having, a positive impact on our built environment.

  1. For us, Jane Jacobs stands alone. Her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities is one of the most influential books on urban design. Jane literally took on City Hall, when she challenged Robert Moses’ plan to drive a highway through Greenwich Village, and won.
  2. The late but great Dame Zaha Hadid needs no introduction. Born in Iraq but educated at London’s Architectural Association, she was the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize and twice won the Stirling Prize. Her buildings, such as the Glasgow Museum of Transport (right), are a testimony to her genius.
  3. Co-director of the Serpentine Gallery, and as instigator of the annual Serpentine Pavilion, Dame Julia Peyton-Jones shone a spotlight on contemporary architecture within the beautiful surrounds of Kensington Gardens. Londoners got to see some of the world’s top architects, such as Frank Gehry and Oscar Niemeyer and some great architecture, up close and personal.
  4. As co-founders of Dublin based Grafton Architects Shelly McNamara and Yvonne Farrell won the World Building Award in 2008 for their Bocconi University extension. The practice went on to win the inaugural RIBA International Prize in 2016 for the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Lima, and the team will be taking on the challenge of curating the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2018.
  5. President of the RICS, Amanda Clack is spending her tenure travelling the globe meeting some of the RICS 120,000 members world-wide and speaking up for a more diverse industry. Amanda also has a day job at E&Y as head of infrastructure and has a passion for the creation of smart and sustainable cities of the future.