Dezeen Magazine

Portrait of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa

Kazuyo Sejima wins 2023 Jane Drew Prize for women in architecture

Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Kazuyo Sejima has won this year's Jane Drew Prize for Architecture for her contribution to raising the profile of women in architecture.

Sejima is best known as the co-founder of the Japanese architecture studio SANAA, which she founded with Japanese architect Ryue Nishizawa in Tokyo in 1995.

Portrait of Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa
Above: Kazuyo Sejima (left) has won this year's Jane Drew Prize for Architecture. Top image: she is the co-founder of SANAA with Ryue Nishizawa (right)

The Jane Drew prize is given annually as part of the W Awards, a programme held by The Architectural Review and Architects' Journal, which was previously known as the Women in Architecture Awards.

Sejima joins Denise Scott Brown and Yasmeen Lari on the list of trailblazing architects to have previously won the prize, which is named after the modernist pioneer Jane Drew.

Born in 1956, Sejima studied to become an architect at Japan Women's University, before going on to work for Toyo Ito. She started her own studio Kazuyo Sejima & Associates in 1987, where she employed Nishizawa when he was an architecture student at Yokohama National University.

Aerial photo of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa
The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa is among SANAA's best-known projects

The duo established SANAA in 1995 and went on to receive international recognition together with major projects including the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, which it designed in 2004.

In 2010, the studio won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which made Sejima the second woman to ever receive the prestigious award after Zaha Hadid.

"Beyond the formal, structural and material experimentation of her work, Sejima is one of too few female architects to have established themselves on the international stage," said The Architectural Review editor Manon Mollard.

"Her courage, tenacity and success are critical reminders that it is possible."

Among SANAA's other well-known projects are the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Rolex Learning Center in Switzerland and the more recent Sydney Modern – an extension to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Australia.

Sejima is also a designer in her own right, having created a commuter train with giant windows and a multifunctional bag collection for Prada outside of SANAA.

Coinciding with the Jane Drew Prize, Canadian architect, critic and philanthropist Phyllis Lambert has been named the recipient of the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for 2023.

The prize, named after American architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable, is given by the W awards to women who have contributed to the built environment while working in the wider architectural industry.

Lambert, now 96, commissioned and worked with Mies van der Rohe to design the Seagram Building in the 1950s and founded the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA).

Aerial view of Sydney Modern art gallery showing the many pavilions on the slope over Sydney Harbour with the city and Opera House behind
Sejima recently completed the Sydney Modern extension with SANAA

Sejima will speak at the W Lunch on 3 May at Battersea Arts Centre, where the winners of two other awards winners will be announced – the Moira Gemmill Prize and MJ Long Prize.

Last year, architect, educator and writer Farshid Moussavi was the winner of the Jane Drew Prize, while British-Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum won the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize.

In 2022, SANAA was named the architecture laureate of the Praemium Imperiale awards by the Japan Art Association.

The images are courtesy of The Japan Art Association/The Sankei Shimbun unless stated otherwise.