Pakistan’s first female architect, Yasmeen Lari, and Princeton University’s Beatriz Colomina have been awarded the top honors at this year’s W Awards.
Formerly known as the Women in Architecture Awards, the program is now in its eighth year and celebrates women who’ve impacted the industry beyond just where they work. The Architectural Review and Architects’ Journal, AN’s counterparts in the U.K., helped select Lari and Colomina as the recipients of the 2020 Jane Drew Prize for Architecture and the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for Contribution to Architecture, respectively.
Born in 1941, Lari studied design at the Oxford School of Architecture prior to moving back to Pakistan and starting her own firm, Lari Associates, in Karachi. Her most famous works include the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Finance and Trade Center, and the Pakistan State Oil House. Though she retired from the field 20 years ago, Lari has continued to take on humanitarian and historical conservation projects throughout her native country. On Lari’s five decades of work, The Architectural Review editor Manon Mollard said:
“From landmark buildings in Karachi to crisis shelters and community centres made of earth and bamboo, Yasmeen Lari’s work has shown that grand schemes are not the only way to make an impact—that architecture that uplifts, provides dignity to the marginalized, can make real and meaningful change.”
Colomina, an architecture historian and theorist, began teaching in her native country of Spain after graduating from the Universidad Politécnica de Barcelona. Now a globally-celebrated educator, she’s best-known for starting Princeton University’s Program in Media and Modernity as well as for serving as a long-time professor and director of Graduate Studies in the architecture school. She’s also the author of multiple books including, X-Ray Architecture, Manifesto Architecture: The Ghost of Mies, Are We Human? Notes on an Archeology of Design (based on the 2016 Istanbul Design Biennale), and Privacy and Publicity.
“Beatriz Colomina’s rich and rigorous career has shaped the way we think about architecture, right back to Sexuality & Space—still a much-needed text in architectural education,” said Mollard. “Her writing, her curation, and her teaching have been part of the backbone of architectural theory for many years, and will continue to inspire in years to come.”
Last year’s winners of the Jane Drew and Ada Louise Huxtable prizes included Liz Diller and Swiss photographer Hélène Binet, respectively, while Sheila O’Donnell was named Architect of the Year. This year’s winners of The Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture and the MJ Long Prize for Excellence in Practice will be announced following a series of presentations in March from eight shortlisted women.