Breaking Ground

“I was told girls don’t go to technical universities.”

–Itsuko Hasegawa
Sofia von Ellrichshausen

Jane Hall edited this informative book for Phaidon Press to shine a light on the incredible work that women architects have delivered to the world around us.

Itsuko Hasegawa is one of those women, and one of Japan’s most important architects. She became the first winner of the Royal Academy of Arts’ Architecture Prize in 2018, with the jury claiming that her ‘buildings exude an optimism that could be interpreted as utopianism’. Hasegawa started her career working with Japan’s Metabolist group of architects and then collaborated with Kazuo Shinohara. She set up her own practice in Tokyo in 1979 and became the first woman architect to design a public building in Japan in 1990 with the Shonandai Cultural Centre in Fujisawa, conceived as a reduced model of the universe.

Sofia Von Ellrichshausen

Von Ellrichshausen founded Chile-based studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen with Mauricio Pezo in 2002. The practice marries art and architecture, and their buildings utilize unusual, elegant forms and are carefully crafted. The firm’s work has been exhibited at various institutions – including the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Art Institute of Chicago. Von Ellrichshausen has lectured widely and holds the position of design critic in Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Patricia Patkau

Canadian architect Patricia Patkau graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1973, and received her master’s in 1978 from Yale. Along with John Patkau, she established Patkau Architects in 1978, gaining a reputation for a design style that draws on the principles of modern architecture while simultaneously being inspired by the traditions and landscape of
the Pacific Northwest. The firm works across various scales and typologies of buildings, from cultural and institutional projects to schools and residences. Patkau is a professor at the University of British Columbia.

Patricia Patkau
Patricia Patkau

Francine Houben

Dutch architect Houben published her seminal manifesto Composition, Contrast, Complexity in 2001, and was curator of the first International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam two years later, bringing the theme of the aesthetics of mobility to the forefront of international design consciousness. In 2010 Houben was granted lifelong membership of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and in 2015 she was presented the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prize by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands for her oeuvre, which includes many award-winning libraries.

Sharon Johnston

Johnston co-founded the Los Angeles-based design firm Johnston Marklee with Mark Lee in 1998. Their buildings are diverse in scale and type, and have been described as operating at both the experiential and the intellectual level. They are also recognized for their interesting residential projects, the View House (Argentina, 2009), pictured here.

Sharon Johnson
Sharon Johnson