Architecture Award Honors Five Women

The magazine Architectural Record is honoring five winners for outstanding achievement in the field in this year’s Women in Architecture Awards, which were announced on Friday. The winners are: Toshiko Mori, Sharon Johnston, Claire Weisz, Mabel O. Wilson and Dana Cuff.

“The range of smart, passionate talent in these different fields related to architecture and design is inspiring and it’s also informative,” John King, the architecture critic for the San Francisco Chronicle who was a member of the independent jury for the award, said in a telephone interview. “There is such talent that is working on very important and interesting design and social challenges.”

Ms. Mori was recognized in the category of design leader; she has been a prominent architect for decades and was the first woman to be tenured at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her work, Mr. King said, is an example of the “absolute mastery of craft.”

Ms. Johnston was recognized as a new generation leader — a category that Cathleen McGuigan, the editor in chief of Architectural Record, said was intended to honor a woman who is “rising in her profession.” Ms. Johnston is the co-founder of the firm Johnston Marklee, whose projects have included the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston and the U.C.L.A. Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios in Culver City.

The award’s other categories are “innovator,” “educator,” and “activist.” Ms. Weisz, based in New York, was recognized for her innovative work in public spaces, including the Spring Street Salt Shed and the post-Hurricane-Sandy redesign of the Rockaways.

Mabel O. Wilson, a scholar, curator, practitioner and professor of architecture and African-American and African Diasporic Studies at Columbia University, was honored for her work as an educator and mentor. She is an advocate of fair labor practices in building and the founder of the collective “Who Builds Your Architecture?”

In the activist category the honoree was Dana Cuff, a professor at U.C.L.A. and the founder and director of the urban research group cityLAB. She is an expert in affordable housing and has been a co-author of legislation to address housing shortages in California.

The awards were born in 2014 after a special issue of Architectural Record spotlighted women in the field.

“One of the things we learned is that women architects don’t want to be known as women architects,” Ms. McGuigan said by telephone. “They want to be known as architects.” The issue prompted conversation around gender in the field — which remains largely male dominated — and the magazine wanted to continue the conversation, according to Ms. McGuigan. “We wanted specifically to focus on design leadership in the field, ” she said.

Jill Lerner, a principal architect at the international firm KPF, has served on the jury since the award’s inception. She said that her favorite part of the process is hearing from the women who are chosen. “They want to talk about their work, not why they were a woman in the profession,” Ms. Lerner said in a telephone interview. “The focus is on their accomplishments and thinking and what they’re doing. That’s what’s always most exciting to me. ”

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