Female architects behind incredible Expo 2020 Dubai pavilions consider the future of urban design

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DUBAI, – A cast of talented female architects are behind some of the most spectacular Country Pavilions across the Expo 2020 Dubai site, including the national pavilions of Australia, Canada, Italy, Lithuania, New Zealand, Oman, Poland and Malaysia.
 
Expo 2020 Dubai’s Urban & Rural Development Week, which runs until 6 November, has been examining how we can live and grow in harmony with our planet – including events dissecting the way forward for more people-centric, sustainable architecture and how gender may play a role in this.
 
Monika Löve, Project Manager/Senior Architect, Carlo Ratti Associati, one of the architectural firms behind the Italy Pavilion, said: “I believe in the value of diversity at all levels, particularly in architecture. For me, it is less about gender balance and more about bringing together people from different cultures and disciplines – from interaction designers to prototyping specialists, as we try to do at Carlo Ratti Associati. If we are able to create this varied, collaborative mix, we end up with a much more stimulating team than if we were to just stick to a specific profession or gender.
 
“I believe that cities require a multifocal perspective. Blurring boundaries between different cultures, backgrounds and disciplines is a key aspect to tackle important issues of contemporary cities such as accessibility, inclusivity and wellbeing.”
 
Edita Bružikaitė, Architect/Co-Founder, MB BAUKAS, the architects of the Lithuania Pavilion, said: “I am not sure if gender of the designers may have specific impact on how we will design the cities. I believe nowadays decisions and ideas come from different theories and methodologies we choose. However, I could imagine that female architects might act as successful mediators between communities, investors and authorities in the design phases in the future.”
 
Marta Sękulska-Wrońska, Architect and Partner, WXCA, one of five female architects who worked for WXCA on the Poland Pavilion, said: “I consider myself as an architect, not a female architect, which is why I see my colleagues in the same way. It is not a gender that makes a different perspective, just your professional skills or talent and how you make use of your knowledge. Every design team member brings a different perspective; each idea a unique value. I met many powerful women and men on my professional path. From my perspective, it will always be a question of quality in architecture, not the quantity of female architects.”
 
Meanwhile, the architects are already noticing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on urban design and how it has modified attitudes about where we live and work.
 
Bružikaitė said: “In the field of architecture, I recognise that my colleagues, architects, structural engineers take more attention to the design perspectives of temporary structures and buildings that can be erected in a very short time, for example, temporary hospitals, offices or housing. Also, we started to think more and more about flexible scenarios of the spaces we design and a multifunctional approach, even designing single-family houses.”
 
Löve said: “Observing cities in history, their form has never been affected by dramatic changes as much as the way we live. Rather than the hardware, I think the main changes concern the software. I believe that the COVID crisis has changed values and expectations towards cities, while reclaiming more public spaces and a better integration between nature and the built environment. New technologies follow a parallel growth as we tend to improve the quality of our lives: at some point, these changes will converge in the long-term.”

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