(catalan) Women in Architecture

After Zaha Hadid’s unexpected and sudden death, a wave of articles was published analysing the subject from every possible corner: her amazing career, her origins, her office organisation, her lifestyle, her partner… However, a large part of them were focused on a subject much wider than a particular individual: women in architecture.

zaha hadid quote

We have How To Eliminate Gender Disparity in Architecture, According to Our Readers, published on archdaily on April 18th , that asks the readers to give their opinion on the subject and, afterwards, analyses all the answers to give a picture of the status quo and the possibilities on the matter.

I Am Not the Decorator: Female Architects Speak Out, published on the online version of the NY Times. On April 12th. Starting with a quote from Zaha Hadid “For a woman to go out alone in architecture is still very, very hard. It’s still a man’s world”

The article A Short Survey of Women in Architecture presents 11 worldwide architecture offices owned by women.

On Quartz article The devastating loss of Zaha Hadid for women in architecture focuses on the exceptional figure of the architect, analysing her personal difficulties when coping with the fact of being a women in a non-expected place: professional success.

“Her loss is devastating,” says Stratigakos, who also heads the architecture department at the University of Buffalo. “You lose heart when you can’t find role models. I worry about how few women architects there are not just in Pritzker prizes, but in novels, in films… I worry about my students.”

Some of the articles dealing with this subject seem to have listened to these words and taken the mission of finding new role models, either worldwide or in a particular region. So, let’s all try to transform it in a particular exercise: if we had to make a list of the iconic living female architects of our region, how long would it be?

In my case, I wanted to present the probably most admired female architect of Catalonia: Carme Pinós. After repeating to some people around me the same question: If you had to name a catalan successful female architect, who would it be? And always receiving the same answer the choice was made. We have lost a model, it is true, but let’s try to find new ones among all those women fighting every day to climb the slipping stairs and break the glass roof.

Carme Pinós

Carme Pinós

Carme Pinós i Desplat is a Catalan architect born in 1954 in Barcelona. She studied at the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, with Enric Miralles, who would after become her partner, both in the professional and sentimental field.


It is highly probable that her success was linked to the fact that she started her career next to Miralles, who would become a famous and respected figure among architects. When she speaks about that time she gives a mixed impression. She considers he opened her eyes and was a source of learning. However, at the same time, she recalls herself as feeling empty or superfluous.

However, after their break up, she continued producing alone and struggled to prove that the talent displayed on the common works was also hers. She fought and she won, becoming a recognised architect on her own and developing several widely appreciated projects, like the “Museo, Auditiorio y Centro Cultural Caixaforum in Zaragoza”

Nevertheless, it took her more than a decade to recover the place she had when she was working for Miralles in the 90’s.At first, nobody trusted her and it was difficult to find any project. However, foreigner architects were the ones asking where Carme Pinós had gone and bringing her back to the ring.

She considers that having a familiar life would have made impossible to dedicate herself 100% to her work. “ I do not have private life” she says “ I have made my office my family and my profession my life” Nowadays, she is usually placed at the same level of other iconic local architects, leading debates, giving conferences and being a role model for others to come, men and female.



So, who would you think of if you were asked the same question?


Author: Glòria Serra Coch