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Brazilian Architect Carla Juaçaba has been named as the winner of the first arcVision Prize – Women and Architecture, an international social architecture award for female designers instituted by the Italcementi Group

The winner was chosen by a Jury composed of Shaikha Al Maskari (Member of the Steering Committee of the Arab International Women's Forum-AIWF), Vera Baboun (Mayor of Bethlehem), Odile Decq (head of the ODBC architectural firm), Victoire de Margerie (Chairman Rondol Technology), Yvonne Farrell (with Shelley McNamara head of the Grafton Architects architectural firm), Samia Nkrumah (President of the Kwame Nkrumah Pan African Center), Kazuyo Sejima (with Ryue Nishizawa head of the SANAA architectural firm), Benedetta Tagliabue (founder with Enric Miralles of the EMBT architectural firm), Martha Thorne (Director Pritzker Prize).

The Jury met in Bergamo on March 6-7, 2013, and was assisted by the Scientific Director of the Prize, Stefano Casciani.The Jury also awarded three Special Mentions, to Izaskun Chinchilla from Spain for her non conventional approach, Anupama Kundoo from India for her skill in researching materials, and Siiri Vallner from Estonia for her sensitive interpretation of spaces.

The Prize winner was announced today in Bergamo at i.lab, the Italcementi research and innovation centre recently completed from a project by Richard Meier and one of the first buildings in Europe with LEED Platinum certification, the top international recognition for sustainable construction.

Carla Juacaba, 37 year old Brazilian architect, trained at Santa Ursula University in Rio de Janeiro (1999) is the first winner of the arcVision Prize – Women and Architecture by unanimous decision of the Jury.

Born in 1976, since 2000, Carla Juaçaba developed her independent practice of architecture and research based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her most exciting project in this research area, the Umanidade 2012 pavilion for Rio Mas 20 (the UN conference on sustainable development), was designed and built together with an artist, Bia Lessa, who also developed the design concept. The symbolic value of the pavilion, an impermanent structure, is heightened by the fact that Rio Mas 20 was an important opportunity for a global assessment of what is being done or not being done to save the Earth from environmental disaster. The best is achieved with low-cost, easily dismantled and continually recyclable constructions.

Carla Juacaba embodies those qualities necessary in an architect of courage in approaching her profession, creativity in seeking unconventional solutions and enormous sensitivity to the context in which her works will reside. The Jury praised the functionality and appropriateness in her proposals to make sure that fully serve their purpose, and do so contributing to the beauty and quality of life of those who will use and inhabit her buildings. The Jury felt she embodies a “complete” architect, embracing all aspects of each commission:- context, environment, nature, parameters, materials….

When we telephoned the winner, she said “I am extremely pleased, I wasn’t expecting it, I didn’t know which approach the Jury would choose and what they would have given importance to. I think it is really special to have thought of a Prize only for women. I was never ‘invited’ to all the work I’ve done so far. I have always had to struggle to prove that I was capable. I’m not saying this just because I am a woman, but I think that for us it is a little more complicated. So it is really great to have such a Prize to highlight this effort, because all work requires hard work. I am really very excited”.

The arcVision Prize is intended as a contribution to the development of a sustainability culture sensitive to women and to women’s specific approach to architecture, with special attention to people, the town and the environment. Contemporary architecture has fostered the development of an increasingly important role for female designers. The emergence of new female architects is one of the most interesting social and cultural trends in project design in the construction sector.

“With this award we want to highlight the growing importance that female designers have been assuming in architecture in recent years and pay tribute to a “positive discrimination” in favor of women,” said Italcementi CEO Carlo Pesenti. “Hopefully, in sectors traditionally governed by men, women will come to assume a central role and overcome every form of discrimination or exclusion from decision making and production. Men and business need the energy and sensitivity of women to grow and achieve ever greater results.”

The aim of the arcVision Prize is to recognize every year a female architect whose research and design work displays significant qualitative excellence and attention to the core issues of construction – technology, sustainability, social and cultural implications – with preference for women working in conditions of particular complexity in terms of type of project and local conditions. The nominees were selected by a group of professionals indicated by advisors and then assessed by a technical-cultural commission, who made the final selection of nominees and presented them to the international Jury.

The 2013 short-list of finalists consisted of 19 designers from 15 countries: Brazil, Egypt, Estonia, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, USA.

The nominees for the Prize were required:

• to have designed at least one significant work that has been constructed (or is under construction) in the area of social infrastructures (education, healthcare, culture, information, general services), presenting substantially innovative solutions and values from a functional and technical viewpoint, with particular attention to sustainability;

• ideally to have performed research – in the field or at academic level – on the development of innovative solutions in construction systems. The Prize is a two-week research workshop at i.lab, the Italcementi Group R&D Center in Bergamo, and an amount of € 50,000, part of which may be devolved to social projects, at the discretion of the winner.

On the completion of the workshop the winner will recount her experience in a lecture delivered at i.lab, during Milan Design Week, as part of the new series of Italcementi Group “Millennium”meetings with the world of Architecture.

Humanidades Pavilion<br />Foto Carla Juaçaba

Humanidades Pavilion
Foto Carla Juaçaba

Architect Carla Juaçaba wins the arcVision Prize – Women and Architecture

Italcementi Media Relations
Milão, Itália


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