The winner of the third edition of the arcVision Prize – Women and Architecture, organised by Italcementi Group, is Angela Deuber. The young Swiss designer, born in 1975, was chosen for her genuinely “constructivist” approach in the true positive meaning of the term given to it by revolutionary architects. On this point, Deuber says “Construction is an essential and underestimated part of architecture which, since we stopped building with our own hands, has become obscure, remote and alien. In my work I endeavour to surmount this alienation”.
Deuber arrived on the international scene thanks to her Thal school Project in Switzerland which conjures up a glorious past of vanguard architecture. The international jury made up of Shaikha Al Maskari (Board of Directors of the Arab International Women’s Forum-AIWF), Vera Baboun (Mayor of Bethlehem), Odile Decq (owner of the architectural firm Odile Decq), Yvonne Farrell (founding member of the architectural firm Grafton Architects), Louisa Hutton (founding member of the architectural firm Sauerbruch Hutton), Suhasini Mani Ratnam (Indian actress, film producer and writer), Samia Nkrumah (president of the Pan-African Centre Kwame Nkrumah), Benedetta Tagliabue (owner of the Miralles Tagliabue EMBT architectural centre) and Martha Thorne (Pritzker Prize director, the “Nobel” of architecture), gave the following reasons for their choice:
“Angela Deuber is one of the youngest participants to have been nominated in this edition. In her work we have identified a new outlook for architecture; she successfully pinpoints important areas for structural research in construction and use of materials whilst encapsulating involvement and engagement of female architects in society”.
Indeed, this is what Italcementi's prize set out to accomplish in the first place. Its intent was to foster female ideas and projects having a high content of sustainable innovation and functionality, whilst being of service to society, ideas and projects which were capable of leading to (as only a woman can - editor's note) rebirth and redesign of forms of architecture both in the present day and in times to come.
50 female candidates from all over the world applied to compete in the third edition of the ArcVision Prize. The 21 designers who ended up on the short list come from 16 different countries (Spain, India, Mexico, Italy, France, Switzerland, Holland, the United States of America, Japan, Egypt, South Africa, Thailand, Morocco, Australia, Greece, Jordan); they all epitomise a female talent bent on defining a modern form of architecture - one which searches out unconventional, ethical and sustainable solutions suffused in wisdom and strength and increasingly tuned into the needs of society and mankind.
In addition to the main prize, the jury decided to give some honourable mentions; these went to: Kate Otten (South Africa) for her work so befitting of the historical upheavals of her country over the past decades; Patama Roonrakwit (Thailand), for her multidisciplinary approach, readiness to involve the population and her direct involvement of the local inhabitants; Samira Rathod (India) for her close attention to detail and materials in designs which reveal a public side despite being private. Last but not least in the context of the partnership with WE-Women for Expo, another award was given to the young architect Paula Nascimento (Angola) who is up and coming on the international architectural scene and has contributed to designing the Angola Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015.
“In the year that Milan hosts the Universal Exhibition - announces Carlo Pesenti, Managing Director of Italcementi - arcVision Prize wanted to involve the Ambassadors of WE- Women for Expo in this third edition of its own architectural prize, as it is firmly convinced that good architecture consists not only in creative and technical ability but also in imagination, feeling and heart. These are all qualities which women kindle well because their daily activities are steeped in meaningfulness and sensitivity whether they are playing a part, doing sports, running a business or designing a new building. The point of the arcVision Prize is to honour innovative, sustainable and society-oriented ideas and projects which combine beauty and functionality in building and living. Our prize aims to bring to the forefront that "feminine" hand in architecture which knowingly combines technology with the environment, materials and forms, style and efficiency and so doing regenerates cities and the land they lie on”.