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Awards scheme highlights female vision of architecture in today's world

The trend in architectural design must be to balance the different approaches to materials and construction processes, conservation of the natural environment, and care for local and cultural values, according to female architects sitting on an awards jury.

The all-woman panel decided the final winner in this year's "arcVision Prize - Women and Architecture" contest, conducted by Italy's Italcementi Group.

Jury member Martha Thorne, associate dean for external relations at the IE School of Architecture in Madrid, said architectural design was changing due to new technology and changes in raw materials.

This supports the goal of an architect's building design and other architectural work to be symbolic in each location, she said.

This year's winner of the arcVision Prize - Women and Architecture, Portuguese architect Ines Lobo, designed her building to match the location and used natural materials to fit in with the environment.

In this year's competition, 21 female architects from 15 countries sent in projects for final consideration.

Austria, Chile, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan, India, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States were all represented.

The Kingdom's participant was Kanika Ratanapridakul, making her the first Thai contestant in an event whose inaugural edition was held last year.

Prize-winner Lobo was recognised for the ability to work on different scales, integrating new buildings within the existing urban fabric and creatively attacking complex architectural problems.

The central design theme of her projects is the use of materials to manage the light entering the new building. She also creates an interesting facade that changes throughout the hours of day and night.

"It's fascinating to see what women are doing in architecture," said arcVision Prize jury member Benedetta Tagliabue, founder with Enric Miralles of the EMBT Miralles/Tagliabue architectural practice in Spain.

"[This is] because we don't know yet whether we women can create a slightly different, more sensitive architecture, and whether we can run an architectural practice in our own way. Last year, we awarded the prize to architect Carla Juacaba, in recognition of her creative intelligence and eco-sustainability, which for architects should be a contemporary issue, not an issue for the future. This year, we also have the creative design from our woman architect," she said.

Italcementi CEO Carlo Pesenti said the arcVison Prize - an initiative inspired by the Italcementi entrepreneurial vision - recognised the innovation and sustainability of the projects and constructions presented, with a special focus on the standards of technological innovation, environmental quality, cost-effective use of resources, social responsibility, functional and aesthetic research.

"New design concepts, different approaches to materials and construction processes, conservation of the natural environment, care for local social and cultural values - narrated through the professional experience of female designers from all over the world, who have brought techniques aesthetic sensitivities and different colours from all over the world," he said.

With this award, the company wants to highlight the female vision of architecture as it changes and moulds itself to today's new social and human models, he added.


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