Dezeen Magazine

Dezeen's International Women's Day power list 2024

The 50 most powerful women in architecture and design

Today is International Women's Day and to celebrate, we've compiled a list of the 50 most influential women in architecture and design.

Paola Antonelli
Photo by Marton Perlaki

Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA

Having joined the Museum of Modern Art in 1994, Paola Antonelli is now the institution's senior curator and founding director of research and development.

A recipient of the London Design Medal in 2020, Antonelli is a thought leader on designing a better future for the planet, curating the Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival exhibition held at the 2019 Triennale Milano.

Find out more about Paola Antonelli ›

Architectural Digest editor-in-chief Amy Astley
Photo courtesy of Architectural Digest

Amy Astley, global editorial director of Architectural Digest

Since 2016, Amy Astley has been global editorial director of Architectural Digest, having previously been the founding editor of Teen Vogue.

Under her leadership, the century-old luxury architecture and interiors magazine has grown an enormous online presence partly thanks to its profiles on celebrity homes, with close to 10 million Instagram followers and more than 6.5 million YouTube subscribers.

Deborah Berke
Photo by Winnie Au

Deborah Berke, dean of the Yale School of Architecture

Deborah Berke is one of the most significant architecture educators working today. In 2016, she was appointed dean of the Yale School of Architecture, becoming the first woman to take the role having taught at the prestigious Ivy League university since 1988.

Her architecture studio, now called TenBerke, was founded in 1982, with projects including the Rockefeller Arts Center and the Cummins Indy Distribution Headquarters in Indianapolis.

Berke also holds positions at several design institutions, including sitting on the jury for the Pritzker Architecture Prize. In 2022, she earned the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for architectural education.

Find out more about Deborah Berke ›

Signe Byrdal Terenziani
Photo by Egon Gade

Signe Byrdal Terenziani, managing director of 3 Days of Design

Signe Byrdal Terenziani is the founder and managing director of 3 Days of Design, an annual design festival held in Copenhagen that showcases both emerging and established designers across a range of disciplines.

The fair has grown dramatically since its beginnings in 2013, with a lineup of over 250 exhibitors on display for this year's upcoming edition, compared to an initial four.

"The programme, whilst highly curated, aims for diversity and balance to further the industry at large," said Terenziani in a statement celebrating the fair's 10-year anniversary in 2023.

Find out more about 3 Days of Design ›

Portrait of Valentina Ciuffi
Photo by Piercarlo Quecchia

Valentina Ciuffi, co-founder of Alcova and founder of Studio Vedèt

The co-founder of Milan design week flagship exhibition Alcova, Ciuffi has played a prominent role in discovering and supporting emerging designers in Italy.

The exhibition, which launched in 2018 and moves into different spaces each year, recently expanded internationally with a launch in Miami, giving Ciuffi more influence globally.

Ciuffi also founded visual design agency Studio Vedèt, which has curated shows including Metallic Wave at Nilufar Gallery, and was a Dezeen Awards judge in 2020.

Find out more about Alcova ›

Ilse Crawford portrait for the London Design Medal
Photo by Marsy Hild Thorsdottir

Ilse Crawford, founder of Studioilse

British designer Ilse Crawford has been a significant presence in the interior-design world for decades, notably since founding the British edition of Elle Decoration in 1989, where she held the editor-in-chief title for 10 years.

A pioneering force behind linking design to people's quality of life, Crawford founded the Man and Well-Being department at Design Academy Eindhoven in 1999, which she ran for 21 years before stepping down.

In 2003 she started her own practice, Studioilse, which has designed interiors for Soho House and Aesop, as well as furniture for IKEA.

Find out more about Ilse Crawford ›

Eames Institute chief curator Llisa Demetrios
Photo by Aaron Wojack

Llisa Demetrios, chief curator of the Eames Institute

The youngest granddaughter of mid-century designers Ray and Charles Eames, Llisa Demetrios has been the chief curator of the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity since 2018 – a non-profit organisation based on the Eames Ranch in California dedicated to educating the public through the Eames' work.

Demetrios has curated nine exhibitions for the institute and recently opened The Eames Archives in Richmond, California, which brings together much of its collection within a new headquarters and gallery space.

Alongside her curatorial work, Demetrios has also been a bronze sculptor for over 20 years, continuing her family's legacy as designers and makers.

Es Devlin, set designer
Photo by Hollie Fernando

Es Devlin, set designer

From Beyoncé's record-breaking Rennaisance world tour to U2's viral opening performance at the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas, Es Devlin has had a hand in some of the most recognisable sets in the history of modern touring.

Since starting her career in theatre in the 1990s, the prolific set designer has continued to work across disciplines, staging everything from operas to Olympic ceremonies.

Find out more about Es Devlin ›

Photo by Geordie Wood

Elizabeth Diller, co-founder of Diller Scofidio + Renfro

American architect Elizabeth Diller co-founded Diller Scofidio + Renfro with her partner Ricardo Scofidio in 1981 and has since become a powerful force within design, architecture research and education.

Her firm's long list of projects include the provocative Blur Building in Switzerland and some of the most significant buildings in recent New York history, including the High Line, an 88-storey skyscraper at 15 Hudson Yards and The Shed in Manhattan, which features a retractable shell.

Diller is also a professor of architectural design at Princeton University. She received the 2022 Wolf Prize for architecture, the 2019 Royal Academy of Arts architecture prize and has been twice named on Time magazine's most-influential list.

Find out more about Elizabeth Diller ›

Kimberly Dowdell portrait
Photo courtesy of the AIA

Kimberly Dowdell, AIA president and principal at HOK

Detroit-born architect Kimberly Dowdell is a principal at the international architecture studio HOK, where she serves as director of strategic relationships.

In 2022, Dowdell was elected the first Black woman to lead the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as president in 2024. Her platform for the year-long presidency includes a focus on climate change and navigating the architectural world through technological changes.

Previously, she was president of the National Organization of Minority Architects.

Find out more about the AIA ›

Li Edelkoort speaks to Dezeen live in our Screentime series, part of Virtual Design Festival
Photo courtesy of Li Edelkoort

Li Edelkoort, trend forecaster

Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort has been making cultural predictions since the 1980s – not least her accurate warnings about the impact of Covid-19 in early March 2020, first published on Dezeen ahead of global lockdowns.

After starting her career in fashion, Edelkoort has been a prominent trend forecaster since the age of 21 and has worked with global brands including Google, Nissan, Siemens and Accenture.

Recently, she spoke to Dezeen about her prediction that the emergence of robots and artificial intelligence will result in a resurgence of Arts and Crafts as people seek out their inner child.

Find out more about Li Edelkoort ›

Frida Escobedo portrait
Photo by Karla Lisker

Frida Escobedo, founder of Frida Escobedo, Taller de Arquitectura

Frida Escobedo is a Mexican architect recognised for designing with simple materials and forms in her eponymous architecture studio, which she founded in 2006.

She was the recipient of this year's Le Prix Charlotte Perriand annual prize, awarded to her by the Créateurs Design Association for "ushering in a new era of architecture".

In 2018, Escobedo became the youngest Serpentine Pavilion architect and the second solo woman to take on the project, following the inaugural commission by Zaha Hadid in 2000.

Find out more about Frida Escobedo ›

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects
Photo courtesy of Grafton Architects

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, co-founders of Grafton Architects

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are Irish architects who founded Dublin-based studio Grafton Architects in 1978 and are among the most decorated figures in the profession today.

Grafton Architects won the inaugural RIBA International Prize in 2016 for a university building in Peru and a few months later, Farrell and McNamara were invited to curate the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, which they titled Freespace.

In 2020, the duo won the RIBA Royal Gold Medal, the first all-woman pair to do so, and were awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize for their approach to building and conducting their studio. The following year, Grafton Architects won the 2021 RIBA Sterling Prize for Kingston University London – Town House.

Find out more about Grafton Architects ›

Nora Fehlbaum
Photo by Tom Ziora

Nora Fehlbaum, CEO of Vitra 

Since becoming CEO of Swiss furniture brand Vitra in 2016, Nora Fehlbaum has led the company towards a focus on sustainability.

Vitra was founded by Fehlbaum's grandparents in 1950 and today is one of the world's biggest and most influential furniture brands.

In a recent interview with Dezeen, Fehlbaum said she is "willing to take risks" over changing the appearance of some of the brand's most iconic pieces in order to reduce their environmental impact.

Find out more about Vitra ›

Beatrice Gallilee portrait
Photo by Sangwoo Suh for PIN-UP

Beatrice Galilee, co-founder of The World Around

"The most exciting design comes from those on the sidelines," Beatrice Galilee told Dezeen during the Dezeen 15 festival in 2021.

This sentiment offers an insight into the work of the New York-based critic and curator, who is a champion of those advancing the field of architecture from its peripheries.

Galilee does this primarily through The World Around, a non-profit platform she launched at the end of 2019 to host discussions about the most pressing issues facing contemporary architecture including climate change, social equity and ecology.

Before that, she made waves as the first curator of contemporary architecture and design at The Metropolitan Museum of Art – a position she held from 2014 to 2019.

Find out more about Beatrice Gallilee ›

Portrait of Jeanne Gang
Photo by Saverio Truglia

Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang

Jeanne Gang, founder of US architecture firm Studio Gang, gained recognition for her design of the Aqua Tower skyscraper in Chicago, which was the tallest woman-designed building in the world at the time of its completion in 2009. The title now belongs to St. Regis Chicago, which was also completed by Gang in 2020.

Gang became the second-ever winner of the Le Prix Charlotte Perriand award in 2023, and she also featured in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people for 2019 – the only architect to be listed.

She is outspoken about gender equality in architecture. In 2018 she closed the gender pay gap at Studio Gang and, in an interview with Dezeen, urged other studios to follow suit as a starting point to root out sexism in architecture.

Find out more about Jeanne Gang ›

Lina Ghotmeh
Photo by Dezeen

Lina Ghotmeh, founder of Lina Ghotmeh Architecture

Designer of the 2023 Serpentine Pavilion in London, French-Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh established her eponymous practice in 2016 with a commitment to sustainable and ecologically responsible architecture.

Ghotmeh has received international acclaim for her firm's archeological, research-focused approach to design and was recently shortlisted for the Designers of the Year award at Dezeen Awards 2023. Her Stone Garden apartment block in Beirut was named architecture project of the year at Dezeen Awards 2021.

Find out more about Lina Ghotmeh ›

Alexandra Hagen is CEO of White Arkitekter
Photo courtesy of White Arkitekter

Alexandra Hagen, CEO of White Arkitekter

With some 700 employees, Swedish studio White Arkitekter is one of Scandinavia's largest architecture firms.

Having joined the studio as a junior architect in 2001, Alexandra Hagen became CEO in 2018. Under her leadership, White Arkitekter has cemented its reputation as a global leader in sustainable building, setting a pledge in 2020 that all its new projects will be carbon neutral by the end of the decade.

The firm was named architect of the year at Dezeen Awards 2023.

Find out more about White Arkitekter ›

Mette Hay
Photo courtesy of Hay

Mette Hay, co-founder of Hay

Mette Hay is creative director and co-founder of Danish design brand Hay. The company has established itself as a global brand at the forefront of product design, and was named one of the 50 most newsworthy forces in world design in Dezeen's 2017 Hot List.

Operating in more than 50 countries, Hay was founded by Mette Hay alongside her husband Rolf Hay and businessman Troels Holch Povlsen in 2002.

Find out more about Hay ›

Diane Hoskins portrait
Photo courtesy of Gensler

Diane Hoskins, global co-chair of Gensler

Diane Hoskins is the global co-chair of Gensler – by far the largest architecture firm in the world by number of architects as well as revenue.

She assumed the role this year alongside fellow architect Andy Cohen, with the pair previously having served as co-CEOs since 2005. Under their leadership, the firm tripled in size to around 6,500 staff across 100 countries and grew its annual revenues from $300 million to $1.7 billion.

Find out more about Gensler ›

Francine Houben, founding partner of Mecanoo
Photo by Marco van Rijt

Francine Houben, founding partner of Mecanoo

Under the helm of Francine Houben, Mecanoo has become one of the Netherlands' most prominent architectural practices – and one of the only ones led by a woman.

Over her four-decade-long career, the architect has worked on a slew of high-profile public architecture projects around the globe, most recently the midtown outpost of the New York Public Library and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington DC.

"Libraries are the most important public buildings, like cathedrals were many years ago," Houben told Dezeen in 2013. The interview came shortly after Mecanoo completed Europe's largest public library in Birmingham, which was later shortlisted for the Stirling Prize.

Find out more about Francine Houben ›

Rossana Hu
Photo courtesy of Neri&Hu

Rossana Hu, founding partner of Neri&Hu

Born in Taiwan, Rossana Hu founded architecture office Neri&Hu with her husband, Lyndon Neri, in Shanghai in 2006. The studio quickly rose to become one of the most well-known in China, with noteworthy projects including The Waterhouse at South Bund and a stone-clad distillery for Pernod Ricard in Sichuan. The studio was named architecture studio of the year at Dezeen Awards 2021.

In addition to her practice, Hu is active in architecture education. She is the chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, having previously served as the chair of the Department of Architecture in the College of Architecture & Urban Planning at Tongji University, as well as holding visiting professor positions at Berkeley, Harvard and Yale.

Hu has also been a supporter of the design scene in China as the co-founder of the Festival of Design in Shanghai, organised annually by Neri&Hu's own furniture retail brand, Design Republic.

Hu was the architecture judge for the inaugural edition of Dezeen Awards China in 2023.

Find out more about Rossana Hu ›

Mariam Kamara portrait
Photo by Stephane Rodrigez Delavega

Mariam Issoufou, founder of Atelier Masōmī

Mariam Issoufou (formerly Mariam Kamara) is the founder of Niger-based studio Atelier Masōmī, a rapidly growing architecture practice focused on creating empowering spatial solutions for communities in the developing world.

Kamara is an avid educator, having taught at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, and was appointed professor of architecture heritage and sustainability at ETH Zurich in 2022. She has won several international accolades for her firm's work and was a judge for Dezeen Awards 2020.

In 2022, it was announced that Kamara would collaborate with South African architect Sumayya Vally to design a presidential library in Monrovia dedicated to former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Find out more about Mariam Issoufou ›

Anne Lacaton portrait
Photo by Philippe Ruault

Anne Lacaton, co-founder of Lacaton & Vassal

Anne Lacaton is the only French woman ever to have won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, and only the sixth female laureate since it was established in 1979. She was awarded the prize in 2021 for her work as part of Lacaton & Vassal, the studio she co-founded in 1987 with fellow French architect Jean-Philippe Vassal.

Lacaton has been a long-term advocate of retrofit and social housing – which have risen to become two of the most important topics in the industry today – with the restoration of three social-housing blocks in Bordeaux among her most prominent projects.

"Transformation is the opportunity of doing more and better with what is already existing," Lacaton once said. "Demolishing is a decision of easiness and short term. It is a waste of many things – a waste of energy, a waste of material, and a waste of history. Moreover, it has a very negative social impact. For us, it is an act of violence."

Find out more about Lacaton & Vassal ›

Yasmeen Lari portrait
Photo by Anam Baig

Yasmeen Lari, founder of the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan

Yasmeen Lari, who was the first female architect in Pakistan, is known for her philosophy of "barefoot social architecture" that aims to help communities in socially and environmentally sustainable ways.

Her projects include an eco-friendly mud and lime-plaster stove and a prefabricated bamboo community centre.

She won the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2023 in recognition of the humanitarian work "she has undertaken since her retirement" – Lari closed her practice in 2000 but has since advised UNESCO and built homes for people affected by floods and earthquakes.

In 2020, she was awarded the Jane Drew Prize for raising the profile of women in architecture.

Find out more about Yasmeen Lari ›

Amanda Levete
Photo by Matt Holyoaks

Amanda Levete, founder of AL_A

British architect Amanda Levete established her studio, AL_A, in 2009, but was already a major figure on the UK architecture scene well before that. In 1999, she won the Stirling Prize together with her former husband, the late Jan Kaplický, for their Media Centre at London's Lord's cricket ground.

Known for its scientific approach to architecture, Levete's firm is currently working on the world's first magnetised fusion power plant. Other significant projects include an entrance courtyard and exhibition hall at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon, which attracted so many visitors to its opening that a nearby footbridge had to be closed.

She was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to architecture in 2017, and awarded the Jane Drew Prize in 2018.

Find out more about Amanda Levete ›

Portrait of Lesley Lokko
Photo by Festus Jackson-Davis

Lesley Lokko, founder of the African Futures Institute

Ghanaian-Scottish architect Lesley Lokko is the Royal Institute of British Architects' Royal Gold Medal winner for 2024 – the first African woman to receive the title.

Lokko is best known as the founder of the African Futures Institute (AFI), an independent school of architecture in Accra, Ghana, and has continued to work as a teacher, author and curator alongside practicing as an international architect.

She was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2023 ahead of curating the most recent Venice Architecture Biennale, which explored decarbonisation and decolonisation through the lens of Africa.

Find out more about Lesley Lokko ›

Portrait by Eva Lilja Löwenhielm, co-global design manager of IKEA
Photo courtesy of IKEA

Eva Lilja Löwenhielm, co-global design manager of IKEA

Every year, Eva Lilja Löwenhielm oversees the design of more than 2,000 new products from the world's best-known furniture company as one of IKEA's two design managers.

In an interview to mark IKEA's 80th anniversary, Löwenhielm revealed that her teams are also working on designing "things that are maybe five to 10 years ahead".

Before joining the business in 2019, the Swedish designer ran her own studio and produced work for brands including Asplund, Alcro, Filippa-K and Svenssons i Lammhult.

Find out more about IKEA ›

Ellen MacArthur portrait
Photo courtesy of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Former round-the-world sailor Ellen MacArthur has done more than perhaps any other person to raise awareness about the importance of circular design.

Since she retired from yachting in 2010 to launch the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, her non-profit has partnered with global governments and some of the world's biggest brands – from Amazon and Unilever to Gucci and H&M – to help them set and achieve ambitious circularity targets.

The foundation has also published a series of influential and widely cited reports, visualising the scale of the waste crisis and breaking down the economic benefits of a circular economy for the first time.

Find out more about the Ellen MacArthur Foundation ›

Danish architect Dorte Mandrup
Photo by Volker Renner

Dorte Mandrup, founder of Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter

Leading a team of 60 employees in Copenhagen, Dorte Mandrup is the creative director of architecture studio Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter. The firm, which she founded in 1999, is among the most prominent in Denmark.

The studio works internationally but is perhaps best known for the buildings it has contributed to the Nordic landscape, including a climate research centre in Greenland and an aluminium-clad children's centre in Copenhagen.

As well as working for her studio, Mandrup is on the board of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and a member of the Danish Historic Buildings Council.

Find out more about Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter ›

Stella McCartney in a coat
Photo by Mary McCartney

Stella McCartney, fashion designer

Stella McCartney founded her eponymous fashion label in 2001 based on an ethos of animal rights and environmentalism, opting out of the use of fur and leather in her designs since the company's founding.

The fashion designer continues advocacy work on sustainability and recently presented a market of bio-based materials at the COP28 climate conference, which included a grape-based leather alternative and sequins made from tree cellulose.

"If everyone in the design world created a more sustainable product with more mindfulness, then it wouldn't even be a conversation," McCartney once said in an interview with Dezeen. "But they're not."

Find out more about Stella McCartney ›

Stella Mutegi
Photo courtesy of Cave Bureau

Stella Mutegi, co-founder of Cave Bureau

Stella Mutegi is a co-founder of the increasingly influential Kenyan architecture studio Cave Bureau. Over the past year, the studio's Anthropocene Musuem – "a living, roaming institution of imagination and community-based action" – has travelled around the world.

The project started with a major exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and finished with the transformation of a slaughterhouse into a museum at the Sharjah Architecture Triennial.

In 2023, Cave Bureau also contributed to architecture's most significant event, the Venice Architecture Biennale, by creating an installation focused on African archives.

Find out more about Cave Bureau ›

Titi Ogufere
Photo courtesy of Essential Media Group

Titi Ogufere, founder of Essential Media Group and Design Week Lagos

Lagos-based Titi Ogufere is the founder of Essential Media Group, which publishes three magazines including Essential Interiors Magazine.

She is also the founder of Interior Design Association Nigeria, which champions global interior-design standards and in 2019 established the annual Design Week Lagos.

Recently, Ogufere co-produced the Made by Design series on Netflix, celebrating the work of 13 architects and designers who live and work in Nigeria.

Find out more about Titi Ogufere ›

Tosin Oshinowo
Photo by Tom Ravenscroft

Tosin Oshinowo, founder of Oshinowo Studio

Nigerian Tosin Oshinowo is the founder of Lagos-based architecture studio Oshinowo Studio, which has designed a series of villas, stores and pool houses in the city, along with a village for a community displaced by Boko Haram.

Last year she curated the second edition of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial called The Beauty of Impermanence: An Architecture of Adaptability. The event showcased the work of numerous architects, with the majority of the participants coming from the Global South.

Find out more about Tosin Oshinowo ›

Andi Owen, CEO of MillerKnoll
Photo courtesy of MillerKnoll

Andi Owen, CEO of MillerKnoll

Formed through a $1.8 billion merger between Herman Miller and Knoll in 2021, MillerKnoll is one of the world's biggest furniture companies, owning 15 brands including HayMaharam and Muuto, and manufacturing many iconic pieces.

Owen became CEO of the newly formed firm having led Herman Miller since 2018. She attracted controversy in 2023 after telling employees concerned about their bonuses to "leave pity city", in a clip that MillerKnoll said had been taken out of context.

Find out more about MillerKnoll ›

Dezeen Awards 2022 Judge Maria Porro
Photo courtesy of Salone del Mobile

Maria Porro, president of Salone del Mobile

Maria Porro's career has spanned design and curatorial and coordinator positions in the art and theatre worlds. In 2021, she was appointed as the first woman president of Italian furniture fair Salone del Mobile, the biggest event of its type in the industry calendar.

Porro will oversee the 62nd iteration of the Salone del Mobile next month, bringing together more than 1,900 exhibitors as part of the Milan design week program.

"Capturing new trends, the evolution of an entire sector, by involving and listening to communities near and far, identifying new approaches, methodologies and technologies... this is still the ambition of the Salone del Mobile today," Porro said about the upcoming fair.

Find out more about Maria Porro ›

Portrait of Dezeen Awards 2019 judge Sonali Rastogi
Dezeen Awards 2019 judge Sonali Rastogi

Sonali Rastogi, founding partner of Morphogenesis

Sonali Rastogi co-founded the architecture and urban design studio Morphogenesis with partner Manit Rastogi in 1996. With offices in Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi, it is one of the India's largest architecture firms.

The studio was among the first in the world to report a "gender-positive pay gap", in which female employees are paid more than their male counterparts, following an effort headed by Rastogi to promote gender equality in the workplace.

Recent Morphogenesis projects include a New Delhi school with perforated walls and the world's largest office building.

Find out more about Morphogenesis ›

Alice Rawsthorn
Photo by Michael Leckie

Alice Rawsthorn, design critic

London-based Alice Rawsthorn is among the world's best-known design critics. Her books include Hello World: Where Design Meets Life, published in 2013, and Design as an Attitude, published in 2018.

She has held advisory roles at several institutions including the Whitechapel Gallery, the Design Council and the World Economic Forum, and has served on the judging panel of the Turner Prize, the Stirling Prize, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the BAFTAs, among others.

In 2014, Rawsthorn was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services to design and the arts. Her TED talk, on rebellious designers in history, has been watched more than a million times.

Find out more about Alice Rawsthorn ›

Carol Ross Barney
Photo by John Boehm

Carol Ross Barney, founder of Ross Barney Architects

Chicago-based Ross Barney Architects is well known for its work on public spaces across the US, particularly its revamp of the area surrounding the Chicago River. Carol Ross Barney founded the studio in 1981 and is a founding member of the advocacy organisation Chicago Women in Architecture.

She won the 2023 AIA Gold Medal for architecture, the highest designation bestowed by the institution. The jury citation for the award called Barney an "unrivaled architect for the people".

Find out more about Ross Barney Architects ›

Dezeen Awards 2022 judge Paula Scher
Photo by Christopher Garcia Valle

Paula Scher, partner at Pentagram 

Graphic designer Paula Scher has been a partner of New York-based design consultancy Pentagram since 1991.

Her work spans creating identity systems, environmental graphics, packaging and publications for clients that include the High Line, a menstrual product advocacy group and Citibank.

She has been the recipient of the National Design Award and the AIGA medal for her work, which brings together pop culture and fine art.

Find out more about Pentagram ›

Portrait of Kazuyo Sejima
Photo courtesy of The Japan Art Association

Kazuyo Sejima, co-founder of SANAA

Best known as the co-founder of Japanese architecture studio SANAA along with Ryue Nishizawa, architect Kazuyo Sejima was the second woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize over a decade ago and now sits on the awarding jury.

Sejima is also a designer, having completed independent projects ranging from a bag for Prada with detachable zip pockets and large-scale Japanese transport designs such as a mirrored commuter train and another with huge passenger windows.

Last year, Sejima received the Jane Drew Prize for Architecture for her contribution to elevating the profile of women in architecture.

Find out more about Kazuyo Sejima ›

Sheela Maini portrait
Photo by Flemming Leitorp

Sheela Maini Søgaard, CEO of BIG

With a background in business development, Sheela Maini Søgaard started working at architecture studio Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in 2008 as chief financial officer and has since become its CEO.

She has played an integral role in expanding BIG as a company, with the firm now one of the profession's most prominent global brands, based in Denmark and the US.

Outspoken about gender inequities in the architecture industry, Søgaard defended the gender balance of BIG's top team in 2017 after an Instagram post by studio founder Bjarke Ingels showed her as the only female partner among 12.

Find out more about BIG ›

Marina Tabassum Soane Medal for architecture
Photo by Barry MacDonald

Marina Tabassum, founder of Marina Tabassum Architects

Winner of the 2021 Soane medal, Marina Tabassum is a Bangladeshi architect and founder of her Dhaka-based studio Marina Tabassum Architects, which practices exclusively in Bangladesh.

Tabassum's work focuses on improving the lives of low-income communities across the country. Her architectural work is known for its use of local materials and response to local climatic conditions.

Find out more about Marina Tabassum ›

Kerstin Thompson
Photo by Jessica Lindsay

Kerstin Thompson, principal of Kerstin Thompson Architects

Architect Kerstin Thompson has been at the helm of her eponymous Melbourne-based studio since 1994 and was the recipient of the 2023 Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal.

Thompson and her firm have delivered landmark projects in Australia and New Zealand including the Melbourne Holocaust Museum, which was completed two years ago. Also finished in 2022, the studio designed an inhabitable flood bridge among other buildings for the Bundanon Art Museum in New South Wales.

Find out more about Kerstin Thompson Architects ›

Patricia Urquiola
Photo courtesy of Patricia Urquiola

Patricia Urquiola, founder of Studio Urquiola

Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola is the founder of Milan-based architecture and design firm Studio Urquiola and art director at Italian furniture company Cassina.

Urquiola's accolades include winning Dezeen Awards interior designer of the year in 2023, and she returns to Dezeen Awards as a judge in 2024. Magazines Wallpaper and Elle Decor International have also previously named her designer of the year.

Find out more about Patricia Urquiola ›

Sumayya Vally
Photo by Marilyn Clark

Sumayya Vally, founder of Counterspace

South African architect Sumayya Vally sprung into the international spotlight when her studio Counterspace was awarded the Serpentine Pavilion commission in 2020, and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

She has since been named one of Time magazine's 100 leaders of the future and curated the inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah, drawing attention to the work of numerous architects and designers from the Muslim world.

She was named emerging architect of the year at Dezeen Awards 2023.

Find out more about Sumayya Vally ›

Portrait of Valerie Vaughan-Dick, RIBA CEO
Photo courtesy of the RIBA

Valerie Vaughan-Dick, chief executive of the RIBA

Previously the chief operating officer at the Royal College of General Practitioners, Valerie Vaughan-Dick was appointed chief executive of the Royal British Institute of Architects (RIBA) early last year.

She has identified an ambition to ensure "sustainability is top of the agenda" at the professional membership body for British architects.

Among the organisation's responsibilities is awarding the prestigious RIBA Royal Gold Medal as well as the Stirling Prize, given annually to the UK's best building.

Vaughan-Dick has also been a chair of heritage properties regeneration organisation Woolwich Creative District Trust and is the chair of Wandle Housing Association.

Find out more about the RIBA ›

Kate Wagner portrait
Photo by Tomaž Černej

Kate Wagner, architecture critic at The Nation

Kate Wagner is a Chicago and Ljubljana-based architecture critic who writes for The Nation.

An acerbic writer with a large online following, in 2016 Wagner launched the architecture blog McMansion Hell, which aims to educate people on architecture theory and history while poking fun at "the world's ugliest" suburban houses.

Having gained popularity for its humorous approach to architecture critique, McMansion Hell has been featured in publications such as the Huffington Post, Slate, Business Insider and Paper Magazine, and its Instagram account has over 37,500 followers.

In February this year, Wagner announced she is writing a book exploring why buildings today have "come to be so dull, hostile and ugly".

Dezeen Awards 2021 judge Kelly Wearstler
Photo courtesy of Kelly Wearstler

Kelly Wearstler, interior designer

Kelly Wearstler founded her California-based studio in the mid-1990s and has since become contemporary interior design's most recognisable name, with 2.2 million followers on Instagram and six published books.

Especially well-known for creating distinctively textured and eclectic interiors, her portfolio includes the Proper Hotel group, which has a timber-filled location in Austin and another colourful outlet in Downtown Los Angeles, which won a Dezeen Award in 2022. She has served as a judge for the UK-based competition and its China edition.

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Portrait of Victoria Yakusha
Photo by Denis Manokha

Victoria Yakusha, founder of Yakusha Design

Ukrainian designer Victoria Yakusha founded her multidisciplinary studio Yakusha Design in 2006, working across architecture, creative direction, and interiors. She is also the founder of furniture brand Faina.

In 2021, she opened Yakusha Gallery in Antwerp, which aims to showcase contemporary Ukrainian design.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Yakusha has created a number of projects to draw attention to the conflict, including a cultural complex designed to house artefacts saved from the war and a furniture collection created in homage to Ukraine.

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