The world’s most influential women in architecture at the MAXXI Rome


The world’s most influential women in architecture at the MAXXI Museum in Rome

Some of the world’s most influential female architects and architectural personalities in history are featured in a new exhibition running at the MAXXI Museum in Rome until 11 September 2022.

Signe Hornborg, the first woman in the world to graduate in architecture in Helsinki in 1890; Zaha Hadid, the first woman architect to receive the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2004; Norma Merrick Sklarek, the first African American to enter the profession in 1954; Charlotte Perriand and Eileen Gray, two icons of modernist design; Ada Louise Huxtable, a pioneer in the 1960s of architecture criticism with her column in the New York Times, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1970. And then again, Elizabeth Diller, Kazuyo Sejima, Benedetta Tagliabue, Lina Ghotmeh, Francesca Torzo, and Lucy Styles. These are some of the protagonists of the exhibition “Good News. Women in architecture” at MAXXI.

Through a historical survey and an overview of international contemporary architecture, the exhibition tells the evolution of the architectural firms in the last century, a period in which the presence of women in architecture has become more and more authoritative. Curated by Pippo Ciorra, Elena Motisi, and Elena Tinacci, the exhibition is arranged in four thematic areas – entitled Stories, Practices, Tales, and Visions –  and is enriched with the site-specific installation ‘UNSEEN’ designed by Frida Escobedo.

Stories presents the work of 85 women who have had a lasting impact on architecture in the last 100 years.

Practices focuses on 11 contemporary female architects: Elizabeth Diller (Diller Scofidio + Renfro), Mariam Kamara, Lina Ghotmeh, Anupama Kundoo, Benedetta Tagliabue (EMBT), Lu Wenyu (Amateur Architecture Studio), Dorte Mandrup, Jeanne Gang (Studio Gang), Grafton Architects, Kazuyo Sejima, and Assemble.

Tales consists of eleven interviews with eleven influential women involved in the architectural design field.

Visions features five videos about the relationship between gender identity and architectural space.

From the curators’ statement: “GOOD NEWS is an important exhibition that allows us to tell an evolving architectural universe and to promote its best expressions.  There are at least three themes we would like to highlight. The first is the process of liberation of the architectural profession from prejudices and habits that had often harmed the success of women and “non-standard” architectural design entities (collectives, couples, open groups) in the past. The second is the belief that gender equality will contribute positively to the ability of architecture to address the main issues of the present, especially in terms of ecological sensitivity, inclusiveness, and social sustainability. The last theme is Italy, a country where we see many women among the best emerging (or emerged) designers, as an advanced example of this transformation”.

Cover image: Laundry Day, 2021, courtesy of Edit Collective


Lina Ghotmeh; photo by Gilbert Hage
LINA GHOTMEH | Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture, LGA, Parigi, France
Born and educated in architecture in Beirut, Lina Ghotmeh decided to complete her training in Paris, where she subsequently opened her architectural design office. Fascinated by craftsmanship, she likes to combine “handmade” architecture with state-of-the-art technology and digital tools. She founded Lina Ghotmeh Architecture after winning the competition for the National Museum of Estonia. Lina Ghotmeh is currently working on projects in France, Lebanon, and several other countries.


Lina Ghometh, Stone Garden. Resilient Living: An Archaeology of the Future; photo ©Iwan Baan.


Kazuyo Sejima; photo by Kohei Omachi

The professional office created by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa represents an exceptional example of “tailor-made” collaboration. In the same space SANAA, Sejima’s, and Nishizawa’s architectural offices coexist. Professional geometry varies according to the nature and scale of the commission. Studio Sejima was founded in 1987, SANAA in 1995. Sejima and  Nishizawa both come from a Japanese university background and an experience in Toyo Ito’s office. Projects by SANAA have been built in Asia, Europe, and North America.


Kazuyo Sejima & Associates/KSA, Design and Event Center a Puyuan. Photo by Takashi Homma.


Benedetta Tagliabue

BENEDETTA TAGLIABUE | Miralles Tagliabue EMBT, Barcelona, ​​Spain and Shanghai, China.
After the premature death of Enric Miralles, Benedetta Tagliabue has not only managed to preserve and expand the professional recognition of EMBT, the award-winning design office she had founded with him, but gave it new momentum by investigating novel research areas, such as that of textile architecture, and increasing its international presence, for example in China. Tagliabue joined Miralles in EMBT in 1994 and, since 2000, she is the only leader of an architectural office world-known for its multicultural vision and experimental approach. Among EMBT’s best-known projects are the new Parliament of Edinburgh, the Santa Caterina market in Barcelona, and the metro station in Naples.


Benedetta Tagliabue, Spanish Pavilion, Expo Shanghai, 2010;  photo by Shen Zhonghai,
courtesy of Architect Benedetta Tagliabue – Miralles Tagliabue EMBT

Good News. Women in architecture
MAXXI, via Guido Reni 4/A Rome
until 11 September 2022


Denise Scott Brown; photo Frank Hanswijk, courtesy of Venturi Scott Brown and Associates.

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