All hail the groundbreaking women in architecture

International Women's Day is upon us and publisher Hatje Cantz prepares to launch a new book – Women in Architecture – celebrating just that: the amazing female architects of past, present and future

Escola Massana, Art and Design Center
Escola Massana, Art and Design Center by Estudio Carme Pinós.
(Image credit: Duccio Malagamba)

German publisher Hatje Cantz's latest book follows up on the much-needed current debate about the role of women in architecture. Coming at a critical time, with reports of women being especially hard hit by the pandemic making headlines, and just in time for the 2021 International Women's Day, Women in Architecture highlights the amazing female architects of past, present and future.

The new title reaches far and wide across the globe and picks 36 internationally acclaimed women who have made their mark in the world of architecture. Names include Odile Decq, Elke Delugan-Meissl, Manuelle Gautrand, Annette Gigon, Itsuko Hasegawa, Anna Heringer, Anupama Kundoo, Lu Wenyu, Dorte Mandrup, Farshid Moussavi, Carme Pinós, Kazuyo Sejima, Annabelle Selldorf and Nathalie de Vries.

Women in Architecture, book cover

(Image credit: Duccio Malagamba)

Far from being a ‘simple' listing of the achievements, awards and projects of this incredible bunch, the book delves deep into the history of the role women have played in the architecture scene. Essays from the book's author, German historian, curator and lecturer Ursula Schwitalla, as well as contributors including Odile Decq and Beatriz Colomina, explore the past and architecture's painful lack of female representation.

The book names women that have been active in architecture and building since the Middle Ages – such as Katherine Briçonnet (1494-1526), key to the design of the Château de Chenenceau, and Plautilla Bricci (1616–1705), the first professional female architect recorded in Rome. It covers the Industrial Revolution and extends through the 20th century, with more well-known examples, such as the women of the Bauhaus.  

The historical essays and texts dedicated to prominent representatives of the past, such as Zaha Hadid and Eileen Gray, are followed by a rich portfolio show of each of the 36 living architects included in the book. Spanning continents and building typologies, this book is not about a single aesthetic style or even a specific overall conceptual approach; rather, it pays tribute to the undoubtable rich variety, powerful achievements and enormous potential the women in architecture have to offer.

Book Mountain by MVRDV

Book Mountain by MVRDV.

(Image credit: Daria Scagliola)

Bamboo hostels in China by Anna Heringer

Bamboo hostels in China by Anna Heringer.

(Image credit: Dominique Gauzin-Müller)

Ferrocement structure at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale by Anupama Kundoo

Ferrocement structure at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale by Anupama Kundoo.

(Image credit: Javier Callejas)

Wadden Sea Centre by Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter

Wadden Sea Centre by Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter.

(Image credit: Adam Mørk)

Judd Foundation by Selldorf Architects

Judd Foundation by Selldorf Architects.

(Image credit: Jason Schmidt)


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).