50 Influential African Women Architects


In the vibrant tapestry of African architecture, women are carving out their own remarkable legacies, reshaping skylines, and redefining the boundaries of design. From bustling urban centers to remote rural landscapes, their visionary contributions are leaving an indelible mark on the built environment. Here, we present a curated list of African women architects whose innovative work spans continents, cultures, and contexts.

This compilation is a testament to the rich diversity of talent and expertise found among African women architects. Thesearchitects represent a multitude of nations and cultures, each bringing their unique perspectives and experiences to the forefront of architectural discourse.

Listed in alphabetical order, each architect’s name is a testament to her dedication, creativity, and commitment to excellence. From Algeria to Tanzania, these architects hail from diverse backgrounds, bringing with them a wealth of experiences and perspectives that enrich the architectural landscape of Africa and beyond. Their contributions span a wide range of specialties, from sustainable design and community engagement to historic preservation and urban planning.

As we navigate through this list, it becomes evident that African women architects are not only leaving a mark in their respective countries but also making waves on the global stage. Their innovative approaches, coupled with a deep commitment to addressing societal challenges, serve as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring architects and professionals across the world.

In showcasing these diverse talents, we celebrate not only the achievements of individual architects but also the collective spirit of innovation, collaboration, and progress that defines African architecture today and into the future.

Below is a curated list, in alphabetical order, highlighting 50 Influential African Women Architects:

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Portrait of Akosua Serwah Obeng Mensah

1. Akosua Serwah Obeng Mensah, Ghana

Akosua Obeng Mensah is an architect known for her passion for sustainable building practices. Having studied architecture at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana, she honed her skills working on projects such as the Queen Mary’s Hospital in the UK before returning to Ghana to join firms like RhayCAD and Environ4. Her journey led her to Orthner Orthner Associates (OOA), where she became a partner in 2016. Beyond her professional commitments, Akosua actively engages in social and environmental initiatives, serving as the social secretary for the Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA) and contributing to programs like the IFC EDGE Green Building Students’ competition. CNN recognized her as a “rising star in the world of architecture” in 2016, highlighting her commitment to sustainable architecture and positive impact projects. Her dedication to sustainable design continues to inspire change in the architectural field both locally and internationally.

Portrait of Alia Bengana
Portrait of Alia Bengana

2. Alia Bengana, Algeria

Alia Bengana is an Algerian architect, has cultivated a diverse expertise in regenerative materials, bioclimatic designs, earthen architecture, and sustainable materials, influenced by her global educational and professional journey spanning Europe, Algeria, and Asia. Founding her architectural practice in Paris in 2009 after completing her degrees at the École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Paris-Belleville and ETH Zürich, Bengana has emerged as a leading figure in environmentally conscious design. Her approach is characterized by a deep understanding of context and ecology, evident in projects like the B house and Cedar Street house in Algiers, which showcase her meticulous attention to detail and innovative use of sustainable materials. Beyond her architectural endeavors, Bengana is deeply involved in education, teaching at various design schools and contributing to research initiatives such as the ALICE laboratory at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Her commitment to sustainability extends to her role as a writer and researcher, where she explores alternatives to conventional building materials like concrete, contributing to a broader discourse on environmentally responsible architecture.

Portrait of Anya Van Der Merwe
Portrait of Anya Van Der Merwe

3. Anya Van Der Merwe, South Africa

Anya Van der Merwe is an architect, professor, and businesswoman known for her significant contributions to the architectural landscape of South Africa. Graduating with distinction from the Bachelor of Architecture program in 1984, she continued her studies in London, earning an Architectural Association Graduate Diploma in History and Theory in 1987. Alongside her partner Macio Miszewski, she co-founded Van Der Merwe Miszewski Architects (VDMMA) in 1991, where she served as a director until 2016. Under her leadership, VDMMA garnered numerous awards and accolades for its innovative designs, including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architecture, making Van Der Merwe the first woman architect in South Africa to receive this honor. Passionate about academia, she also served as an adjunct Professor of Architecture at the University of Cape Town, emphasizing the importance of research and participation in academic activities to inform sustainable design solutions. Although she departed from VDMMA in 2016, her legacy continues through the firm’s commitment to environmental sustainability and participation in initiatives like the Green Building Council of South Africa.

image of Assumpta Nnaggenda-Musana
image of Assumpta Nnaggenda-Musana

4. Assumpta Nnaggenda-Musana, Uganda

Assumpta Nnaggenda Musana is a Ugandan architect, academic and instructor, holds the distinction of being the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Architecture in Uganda. With a keen focus on improving the livelihoods of the urban poor, Musana’s research delves into topics such as low-income housing, informal settlements, and sustainable urban development. As a lecturer at Makerere University, she shares her expertise in architecture and urban planning, inspiring future generations of architects. Throughout her career, Musana has advocated for affordable housing solutions and sustainable urban settlements, emphasizing the importance of community participation and green spaces. Her groundbreaking work has earned her recognition both locally and internationally, making her a pioneer in the field of architecture and urban planning in Uganda.

Portrait of Aziza Chaouni
Portrait of Aziza Chaouni

5. Aziza Chaouni, Morocco

Aziza Chaouni is a Moroccan architect and civil engineer renowned for her dedication to creating sustainable built environments, particularly in the Middle East deserts. With degrees from Columbia University and Harvard Graduate School of Design, she founded Aziza Chaouni Projects and serves as an associate professor at the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. Chaouni’s transformative work integrates architecture and landscape while actively engaging with communities to ensure projects benefit society socially, economically, and environmentally. Born in Fez, Morocco, her lifelong passion for her hometown’s Fez River led to a decades-long commitment to revitalizing it from a polluted sewer to a vibrant public space. This endeavor, initiated during her graduate studies, epitomizes her ethos of collaborative innovation and sustainable urban renewal, making her a prominent figure in global architectural discourse. Furthermore, her contributions extend to historic preservation, including the restoration of the library at al-Qarawiyyin University, the oldest functioning library in the world, and the leadership of the restoration of Jean-François Zevaco’s brutalist Sidi Harazem Bath Complex, showcasing her multifaceted expertise in architectural conservation and renewal.

Portrait of Chinwe Ohajuruka
Portrait of Chinwe Ohajuruka

6. Chinwe Ohajuruka, Nigeria

Chinwe Ohajuruka is a green architect and social entrepreneur, hailing from Nigeria and making significant strides in sustainable housing solutions both in her home country and internationally. With a Master’s degree in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, she founded Comprehensive Design Services (CDS) in 2005, driven by a deep-seated commitment to addressing Nigeria’s housing crisis with eco-friendly solutions. Through CDS, Ohajuruka implements innovative techniques like Bio-Climatic Design and Earthbag Technology, emphasizing locally-sourced materials and renewable energy systems. Her accolades include being named the Sub-Saharan African Laureate for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards in 2015 and receiving grants from institutions like National Geographic and the Chenving Foundation. Ohajuruka’s tireless advocacy for sustainable development has earned her international recognition, cementing her position as a leading figure in green architecture and social entrepreneurship.

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Portrait of Chris Sutherland

7. Chris Sutherland, Ghana

Chris Sutherland is a Ghanaian Architect and the Founder and Principal Architect at Sutherland & Sutherland in Ghana. Notable among her firm’s projects is the Ashesi University campus masterplan, which stands as a testament to Sutherland’s commitment to blending modern design with Ghanaian heritage. This expansive project reimagines traditional family courtyards on a larger scale, linking intersecting courtyards and outdoor rooms with contoured walkways clad in local stone. The result is a campus that harmonizes with the lush landscape of the Eastern Region while providing a conducive environment for learning. Additionally, Sutherland’s firm has contributed to the development of the Databank Headoffice, showcasing their perceptive approach to modern Ghanaian architecture. Another significant project is the Children’s Park at Kakum National Park, which reflects Sutherland’s dedication to creating spaces that celebrate Ghana’s natural beauty while providing recreational opportunities for its people.

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Portrait of Danièle Diwouta-Kotto

8. Danièle Diwouta-Kotto, Cameroon

Danièle Diwouta-Kotto is a Cameroonian designer and architect, renowned for her contributions to African design, architecture, and urban development. Born in Cameroon and trained in France, she founded her firm Passerelle Sud in 1986 and later established AGG Cabinet d’Architecture Diwouta. A pioneer in her field, Diwouta-Kotto’s work often reflects her commitment to preserving architectural heritage and promoting sustainable urban transformations. Notably, she authored the publication “Suites architecturales: Kinshasa, Douala, Dakar” in 2010, shedding light on the evolution of African colonial buildings. Her notable projects include the creation of the Kiosque à eau in Douala’s Bessengue neighborhood, commissioned by doual’art, and the Mobilier Planeur furniture line, showcasing her fusion of contemporary creativity with local socio-cultural environments. Diwouta-Kotto’s visionary approach emphasizes the importance of art in shaping cities and fostering inclusivity, earning her recognition as a leading figure in Cameroon’s architectural landscape.

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Portrait of Dominique Petit-Frère. Image by CARLOS IDUN-TAWIAH

9. Dominique Petit-Frère, Ghana

Dominique Petit-Frère is the co-founder of Limbo Accra, a spatial design practice operating from Ghana and beyond. Dedicated to innovative forms of place-making, Petit-Frère’s visionary approach bridges contemporary African architecture with youth development through social interventions. Her practice encompasses architectural projects, art installations, and urban design initiatives, with a keen focus on the geopolitical and environmental implications of urban phenomena. Notable collaborations include projects with Virgil Abloh’s Freedom Skatepark in Accra, Ghana. Recognized for her visionary approach, she was honored with the inaugural Black Design Visionaries program by Instagram Design, Meta, and the Brooklyn Museum in 2021, followed by the Monocle Design Awards 2022. Through Limbo Accra, Petit-Frère aims to redefine the future of African cities, breathing new life into incomplete concrete structures and fostering community engagement with each endeavor, including the studio’s pioneering built project—a recreational skate park in Ghana.

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Portrait of Elsie Owusu OBE

10. Elsie Owusu OBE, Ghana

Elsie Owusu OBE is Ghanaian-British architect and urban designer, stands as the principal of Elsie Owusu Architects, where her visionary approach has shaped numerous projects spanning the UK, Nigeria, and Ghana. Specializing in conservation architecture, Owusu’s current endeavors include pioneering rural community-led zero-carbon schemes and conservation initiatives in Ghana, alongside eco-home developments in Sussex. Notably, she played a pivotal role in co-leading the refurbishment of the UK Supreme Court and contributing to the redesign of London’s Green Park Station during her tenure at Feilden+Mawson. With an illustrious career marked by advocacy and leadership, Owusu has held various esteemed positions, serving as a trustee of the UK Supreme Court Arts Trust, a former member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Council, and the Founding Vice-Chair of the London School of Architecture. Additionally, she has lent her expertise to the London Mayor’s Panel of Design Advocates and served as a Board Member of the Commonwealth Heritage Forum. Owusu’s commitment to fostering educational and cultural exchange between Ghana and the UK is evidenced by her directorship of JustGhana Ltd, which promotes education, architecture, arts, and creative industries. Recognized for her significant contributions to architecture, Owusu was honored by The Queen in 2003 for her services to the field and emerged as the runner-up for the Presidency of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2018, further solidifying her status as a trailblazer in the architectural community.

Portrait of Emma Miloyo
Portrait of Emma Miloyo

11. Emma Miloyo, Kenya

Emma Miloyo is a distinguished Kenyan architect and the co-founder and director of Design Source, an architecture and interior design firm based in Kenya. In 2017, she made history by becoming the first woman to serve as President of the Architectural Association of Kenya. Her remarkable achievements have earned her prestigious recognition, notably as one of Kenya’s “Top 40 under 40 Women” by Business Daily Africa in both 2011 and 2018. Emma is deeply passionate about empowering young women to pursue careers in architecture and actively contributes to education initiatives, serving as a director at Kiota School. Graduating with top honors from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in 2006, Emma remains dedicated to preserving Kenya’s rich architectural heritage. Through her groundbreaking work and tireless advocacy, she continues to shatter barriers and inspire more women to thrive in the field of architecture.

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Portrait of Hayette Ndiaye

12. Hayette Ndiaye, Chad

Hayette Ndiaye is a pioneering architect from Chad, known as the first female architect in the country. Leading by example, she serves as the President of the National Order of Architects of Chad (ONAT), advocating for sustainable housing both nationally and regionally. With over 13 years of experience in the field, Ndiaye has actively promoted sustainable architecture tailored to Chad’s climate and environmental conditions. Her efforts have garnered international recognition, as she continues to champion the architecture of the Sahel on global platforms. Additionally, Ndiaye is the President of the Association of Women Daring to Succeed and Fight for Equity (FORCE), further demonstrating her commitment to empowering women in her community.

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Ilze Wolff in her architecture studio in Bo-Kaap. Image: Brett Rubin

13. Ilze Wolff, South Africa

Ilze Wolff is a Cape-Town based South African architect and co-founder and partner at Wolff Architects. With a deep commitment to developing architecture of consequence, Ilze brings a multidisciplinary approach to her practice. Alongside her role at Wolff Architects, she is also the co-founder of Open House Architecture, a research-focused endeavor dedicated to documenting Southern African architecture. Holding a B.Arch from the University of Cape Town and an MPhil in Heritage and Public Culture, Ilze’s academic background enriches her architectural vision, allowing her to explore intersections between heritage, architectural history, and public culture. Her work has been showcased internationally at prestigious venues such as the Venice Architecture Biennale and the Chicago Architecture Biennale, reflecting her dedication to uncovering narratives within the built environment. Through her diverse pursuits, Ilze exemplifies the myriad pathways to architectural practice and scholarship.

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Portrait of Irene Masiyanise

14. Irene Masiyanise, Zimbabwe

Irene Masiyanise is the Principal Architect of Masiyanise TI Architect (MTI Architect), with a rich background in architectural design and management. She obtained her Architectural Degree Program BA Hon Arch and PgD from the University of Portsmouth in the UK, and she is a registered member of both the Architects Council of Zimbabwe and the Architects Registration Board in the UK. Masiyanise honed her skills through professional experiences in various countries including the United Kingdom, Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, where she contributed to diverse projects ranging from exhibition entrances and spas to office buildings. In 2004, she founded Masiyanise TI Architect upon her return to Zimbabwe. Masiyanise’s portfolio showcases her versatility, having worked on projects spanning master plans, residential, commercial, healthcare, educational, and recreational facilities, among others. Notably, she has received accolades for her contributions to the construction industry, including the Women in Enterprise award in 2014 in the Construction Category. Additionally, Masiyanise has held prominent leadership roles in architectural organizations, such as serving as the Chairperson of ACZ and President of the IAZ, where she made significant strides as the first female and first Black female president, respectively. Her dedication to her profession and her community underscores her commitment to excellence and inclusivity in architecture.

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Portrait of Katherine Maree Otten

15. Katherine Maree Otten, South Africa

Katherine Maree Otten is a South African Architect and the founder of Kate Otten Architects, renowned for her innovative designs rooted in South African tradition. After completing her studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Otten established her own firm in Johannesburg in 1989, just a year after her graduation. Her architectural endeavors encompass a diverse array of projects, from community libraries to museum exhibition spaces, all deeply embedded in the South African context. Throughout her career, Otten has garnered numerous accolades for her work, including the SAIA Award of Merit for House Staude in 1998 and the Mbokodo Awards for Architecture and Creative Design in 2013. In 2020, she assumed the role of President of the South African Institute of Architects, demonstrating her commitment to advancing the architectural profession and advocating for women’s contributions within it.

Leigh Bishop
Picture of Leigh Bishop. © DHK Architects

16. Leigh Bishop, South Africa

Leigh Bishop is a South African architect and a partner and board member at DHK Architects, where she specializes in business development, particularly focusing on healthcare and public projects. With over 16 years of experience, Leigh studied architecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, including a semester in Copenhagen, Denmark, exploring co-housing. Prior to joining dhk, she founded Leigh Bishop Architects in Durban, overseeing projects in healthcare, high-end residential, and commercial sectors. Notably, Leigh is deeply involved in developing specialist hospital facilities in eSwatini and Botswana, and she is leading the conversion of inner-city buildings into luxury hotels. Her enthusiasm for architecture is matched by her dedication to providing considered design solutions with speed and efficiency. Moreover, Leigh is committed to inspiring inclusivity and gender equality in architecture, striving to motivate and create space for future female leaders in the industry.

Image: Festus Jackson-Davis; Courtesy of Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
Picture of Professor Lesley Lokko OBE Image: Festus Jackson-Davis; Courtesy of Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

17. Lesley Lokko, Ghana

Lesley Lokko OBE is a Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, and novelist with a profound impact on the global architectural landscape. She is the Founder and Director of the African Futures Institute (AFI) in Accra, Ghana, an independent postgraduate school of architecture and public events platform. After completing her education at the École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Paris-Belleville and ETH Zürich, Lokko embarked on a multifaceted career that spanned teaching, writing, and architectural practice. Notably, she established the Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) at the University of Johannesburg, a pioneering institution dedicated to postgraduate architecture education in Africa. Her commitment to architectural education earned her recognition, including the RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Architectural Education in 2020 and the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for Contribution to Architecture in 2021. In January 2024, Lokko was awarded the prestigious Royal Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), becoming the first African woman and only the second black architect to receive this honor since its inception in 1848. Her visionary leadership, progressive approach to education, and advocacy for equity and inclusion have left an indelible mark on the architectural profession, inspiring future generations to embrace diverse perspectives and design for a better world. Additionally, Lokko was appointed as the curator of the 18th Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2021, where she presented the exhibition titled “The Laboratory of the Future.” This groundbreaking exhibition focused on decolonization and decarbonization, offering a glimpse into future architectural practices that prioritize environmental sustainability and cultural diversity, further solidifying Lokko’s influence on the global architectural discourse.

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Portrait of Linda Mvusi

18. Linda Mvusi, South Africa

Linda Mvusi is a multi-talented figure, renowned as both an actress and architect based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her historic win as Best Actress at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival for “A World Apart” solidified her position as a trailblazer in the industry. Seamlessly transitioning between her roles in the arts and architecture, Mvusi’s architectural endeavors are equally remarkable. With over four decades of experience, including 34 years leading her own firm, Mvusi’s architectural journey has spanned continents, from Africa to Europe and the USA. Notable among her diverse portfolio are her contributions to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and her groundbreaking work in designing spaces for marginalized communities, such as women’s shelters and cultural centers. In her early career, Mvusi tackled projects ranging from hotels like Pamodzi and Intercontinental in Lusaka, Zambia, to government offices, schools, hospitals, and even high-security facilities across central Africa. Focusing on public and community-oriented projects, Mvusi notably designed significant urban landmarks like the Soweto Railway Stations and Johannesburg’s Park Station, emphasizing “space and place making for Freedom to happen.” Her urban design projects, including the Newtown Cultural Precinct and the Tirisano Urban Village (now ‘Brickfields’), reflect her commitment to creating inclusive urban spaces. Mvusi’s legacy of social impact and dedication to architectural excellence continue to shape the built environment in South Africa and beyond. President Nelson Mandela’s Houghton Johannesburg house, a rare exception to her focus on public projects, also stands as a testament to her architectural prowess and reverence for historic significance.

Portrait of Magda Mostafa
Portrait of Magda Mostafa

19. Magda Mostafa, Egypt

Magda Mostafa is an architect, Principal of StudioTM, and Professor of Design at the American University in Cairo (AUC). With a focus on autism-inclusive design, she is internationally renowned for her groundbreaking work in developing the ASPECTSS™ design guidelines, the world’s first research-based framework for autism. These guidelines have been instrumental in informing architectural projects across five continents and have earned Mostafa prestigious accolades, including the UIA International Research Award in 2014, with a rare second award in 2023. Her expertise extends to collaborations with global practices such as Mimar, Ab Rogers, and JSA/MIXdesign, where she serves as Autism Design Lead. Mostafa’s impactful contributions have been showcased at prestigious events like the Venice Architecture Biennales in 2021 and 2023. Additionally, she co-directs the UNESCO-UIA education commission, shaping architectural education policies worldwide. Through her research and teaching, Mostafa continues to push the boundaries of inclusive architecture, addressing challenges faced by marginalized communities, including those living in informal settlements.

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Portrait of Maliam Mdoko

20. Maliam Mdoko, Malawi

Maliam Mdoko is the Projects Manager at the Press Trust, a leading charitable institution in Malawi focused on public welfare projects in education, health, social welfare, and housing sectors. Starting as a Project Officer in 2010, Mdoko has risen through the ranks within the organization. She brings to her role a commitment to embracing change and a positive outlook on life, attributes shaped by her interactions with diverse people in her profession. Balancing projects for the Press Trust with private architectural work, Mdoko is vocal about anti-corruption initiatives in the construction industry, advocating for a corruption-free environment where architects can contribute effectively to creating safe and improved living spaces in Malawi. As the first female president of the Malawi Institute of Architects (MIA), Mdoko is a trailblazer in her field, striving to foster a conducive environment for architectural innovation and development in the country.

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Portrait of May al-Ibrashy

21. May al-Ibrashy, Egypt

May al-Ibrashy is an Egyptian architectural engineer with close to 30 years of field experience in conservation and heritage management in Historic Cairo. Holding a BSc in Architectural Engineering from Ain Shams University, an MA in Art, Architecture, and Archaeology, and a PhD in Archaeology from the University of London, al-Ibrashy is the co-founder and principal of Megawra, an Egyptian architectural practice. She is also the chair of Megawra-Built Environment Collective (BEC), focusing on community engagement projects through heritage conservation, rehabilitation, preservation, and re-signification in Cairo’s marginalized communities. Alongside her role at Megawra, al-Ibrashy coordinates Athar Lina, an initiative promoting heritage conservation for community development in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. As an adjunct lecturer of architecture at the American University in Cairo and Cairo University, she advocates for socially responsible heritage restoration and urban revitalization. Her significant contributions have earned her several awards, including the 2022 Prince Claus Impact Award and recognition as a finalist for the 2023 ArchDaily Diversity in Architecture DIVIA Award.

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Mariam Issoufou photographed at the 2021 Venice Biennale, standing in front of the Rolex pavilion. Photo credit: STÉPHANE RODRIGEZ DELAVEGA

22. Mariam Issoufou Kamara, Niger

Mariam Issoufou Kamara is a Nigerien architect and founder and the principal of Atelier Masomi, an architecture and research firm based in Niamey, Niger. Born in Saint-Étienne, France, Kamara initially pursued a career in computer engineering, earning degrees from Purdue University and New York University. However, she later transitioned to architecture, obtaining a master’s degree from the University of Washington. In 2014, she established Atelier Masomi, which focuses on various projects ranging from public and cultural to residential and urban design. Kamara’s work emphasizes the integration of sustainable practices and community engagement, with notable projects including the Niamey 2000 Housing project and the Hikma Community Complex. She has received numerous accolades for her innovative designs, including the LafargeHolcim Awards for sustainable construction and the Prince Claus Prize in the Netherlands. Furthermore, Kamara’s influence extends beyond her architectural practice, as she was named one of the creatives on the 2023 list of Africa’s Most Influential People and recognized by The New York Times as one of 15 Creative Women of Our Time. Additionally, her firm has been listed on the AD100 since 2021, underscoring its significant contributions to the architectural field.

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Portrait of Mélissa Kacoutié

23. Melissa Jeannette Kacoutié, Ivory Coast

Mélissa Kacoutié is an Ivorian architect and the founder of Jeannette Studio Architecture, a firm aimed at infusing poetry into the architectural landscape of Ivory Coast. With a belief that architecture is a multifaceted canvas for artistic expression, Kacoutié challenges the predominant focus on technical aspects by integrating creativity and functionality. Her projects, ranging from residential and commercial spaces to installations and public realms, exhibit a distinctive identity marked by subtlety and softness. Kacoutié’s approach emphasizes the use of local and environmentally friendly materials, advocating for sustainability in architectural design. Notably, her work on Le Bazar, a lightweight structure designed for Bain de Foule Studio, showcases her ability to create versatile spaces that fluidly adapt to various purposes. Through Jeannette Studio, Kacoutié aims to contribute to the evolution of Ivorian architecture by embracing cultural influences and championing innovative solutions that resonate with the local context.

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Portrait of Miminat Shodeinde

24. Miminat Shodeinde, Nigeria

Miminat Shodeinde is a British Nigerian Architect, Artist and designer who founded Miminat Designs, a London-based interior architecture and design studio celebrated for its creation of functional art and serene, sophisticated spaces. By intertwining artistic expression with architectural precision, Miminat seamlessly merges the ordinary with the extraordinary, crafting timeless environments where artistry and functionality harmonize. Her studio specializes in luxury residential, commercial, hospitality, retail, and yacht projects worldwide, infusing each with a unique character and ambiance. Miminat’s sculptural design pieces, meticulously crafted by a team of skilled artisans, push the boundaries of design while honoring traditional construction techniques. Renowned for excellence, Miminat Designs has earned prestigious accolades, including a place in The House & Garden Top 100 Designers (2023), The Elle Décor A-List (2023), Frederick Magazine IT List (2023), and AD Middle East Top 100 (2023), underscoring its commitment to refinement, craftsmanship, and meticulous attention to detail.

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Portrait of Nada Elfeituri

25. Nada Elfeituri, Libya

Nada Elfeituri is an architect and writer from Benghazi, Libya, dedicated to urban development and community engagement. With 8 years of experience spanning Canada, the United Kingdom, Myanmar, and Libya, she has managed multi-million euro projects focusing on local development planning, participatory co-design processes, and post-crisis reconstruction. Nada’s expertise lies in community-led spatial development, alongside skills in graphic design, communications, and capacity building. Through her work, she strives to empower communities and promote sustainable urban development practices.

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Portrait of Nadia Tromp

26. Nadia Tromp, South Africa

Nadia Tromp is a South African architect and the founder of Ntsika Architects, known for her impactful work in social and public architecture, especially in healthcare across South Africa. Her career spans over 19 years, during which she has spearheaded notable projects like the Hillbrow Esselen Street Clinic and the Westbury Clinic, showcasing her dedication to serving marginalized communities. Tromp’s achievements have been recognized internationally, with prestigious awards such as the World Architecture Festival Award in 2017 for the Westbury Clinic project, marking her as the first African architect to receive this honor. Additionally, she has been honored with awards from institutions like the Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIFA) and the South African Institute of Architects (SAIA). Beyond her architectural practice, Tromp is actively involved in research and advocacy, serving as the President of Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIFA) and directing the UIA Work Program on Community Architecture and Human Rights. Her commitment to innovative design, environmental sustainability, and social justice continues to make a significant impact, earning her invitations to speak at influential conferences worldwide and exhibit her work at esteemed venues like the Venice Biennale.

Nana Akua Oppong Birmeh
Portrait of Nana Akua Oppong Birmeh

27. Nana Akua Oppong Birmeh, Ghana

Nana Akua Oppong Birmeh is a Ghanaian architect and the principal architect of Arch Xenus, an architectural firm she founded in 2011. Renowned for her innovative approach and commitment to family-friendly work environments, Birmeh has established herself as a prominent figure in her field. Her leadership at ArchXenus reflects her dedication to both professional excellence and supporting working parents. With a focus on designing buildings that positively impact their surroundings, Birmeh has led ArchXenus to undertake significant projects, including the acclaimed Tower Cascades and the Christ Temple Children’s Centre, which earned the firm an African Property Awards win. Her contributions have earned her international recognition, including being honored in the Forty under 40 Awards and named one of BBC’s 100 Women in 2017.

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Portrait of Nina Maritz

28. Nina Maritz, Namibia

Nina Maritz, is a Namibian Architect and the principal and founder of Nina Maritz Architects, and a member of Namibia Institute of Architects and South African Council of Architects. Her practice encompasses various private, government, and corporate projects, with a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability and community initiatives. One of her notable projects, The Habitat Research and Development Centre in Katutura, prioritizes addressing Namibia’s housing needs while integrating sustainable design elements such as optimized daylight usage, solar access, earth berm, water conservation, and appropriate building materials. Graduating from the University of Cape Town in 1991, Maritz is also a regular contributor to the NIA Digest of Namibian Architecture and has authored several papers on energy efficiency and sustainable building practices. Additionally, she co-founded GREENSPACE, an NGO dedicated to urban environment conservation, and SENS (Sustainable Energy Namibia Society), promoting sustainable energy adoption across the government and public sectors.

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Portrait of Noella Nibakuze

29. Noella Nibakuze, Rwanda

Noella Nibakuze is a Rwandan Architect and the Design Director at MASS, where she passionately envisions buildings as inclusive and transformative spaces that elevate people’s lives while preserving the environment. With a Master of Technology in Architecture from the Tshwane University of Technology, she brings a wealth of expertise to her role. At MASS, Noella has led various impactful projects, including the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA) and the Lagos Infectious Disease Institute, both pioneering initiatives in education and healthcare. Prior to joining MASS, she contributed to significant projects at Studio 4 Architects, notably the Vision City Estate. Noella’s dedication extends beyond design; she actively advocates for women in STEM and mentors aspiring designers at Rwanda’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment. Recognized as a finalist for the DIVIA Award in 2023, she continues to inspire as a role model and leader in the field of architecture.

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Portrait of Nzinga Biegueng Mboup © Festus Jackson-Davis

30. Nzinga Biegueng Mboup, Senegal

Nzinga Biegueng Mboup is a Senegalese architect based in Dakar, renowned for her expertise in bioclimatic design and construction using locally-sourced earth and biomaterials. After studying at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and gaining professional experience in Johannesburg, she pursued a Master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Westminster in London. Following her academic journey, she contributed significantly to the IFC headquarters project in Dakar during her tenure at Adjaye Associates. In 2019, Mboup co-founded Worofila, an architectural practice dedicated to promoting sustainable architecture that harmonizes with the local climate. Under her guidance, Worofila has successfully completed various projects, including residential homes and public facilities, showcasing her commitment to durability and environmental consciousness. Additionally, Mboup’s research endeavors, such as Dakarmorphose and Habiter Dakar, have shed light on the evolution of Dakar’s urban landscape and housing challenges. Her innovative approach to architecture and research has earned her recognition both locally and internationally, exemplifying her profound impact on Senegal’s architectural scene and beyond.

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Portrait of Olajumoke Adenowo

31. Olajumoke Adenowo, Nigeria

Olajumoke Olufunmilola Adenowo, born on October 16, 1968, is a Nigerian architect known for her pioneering work in the field. In 1994, at the age of 25, she established her own architecture and interior design firm, AD Consulting, which has since been involved in over 114 projects spanning institutional buildings, office complexes, residential spaces, and more. Adenowo’s design philosophy, “NeoHeritage Architecture,” emphasizes contemporary African architecture with a global impact, integrating elements of environmental sustainability and community engagement. Throughout her career, she has been recognized for her contributions to the field, earning titles such as “Africa’s Starchitect” by CNN and being lauded as “the face of Architecture in Nigeria” by The Guardian. Adenowo’s commitment to leadership, philanthropy, and women’s empowerment is evident through her various initiatives, including founding the Awesome Treasures Foundation in 1999. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her outstanding achievements, including recognition from the United States Congress and Forbes. Adenowo’s influence extends beyond her architectural practice, as she is also an author, public speaker, and advocate for social change.

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Portrait of Ola Uduku

32. Ola Uduku, Nigeria

Ola Uduku is a British Nigerian architect and serves as the Head of Liverpool School of Architecture. With a career spanning research, education, and advocacy, Uduku has made significant contributions to the field of architecture, particularly in Africa. Her academic journey began in Nigeria and continued in the United Kingdom, where she obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Cambridge, specializing in factors influencing school design in Nigeria. As a member of the Nigerian Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects, Uduku’s expertise extends to modern architecture in West Africa, the history of educational architecture in Africa, and contemporary social infrastructure provision for minority communities. She actively promotes equity within the architectural profession and co-leads AHUWA, a research center focusing on Architecture and Urbanism in Western Africa. Uduku’s commitment to documenting modernist buildings and landscapes in Africa and her involvement in various research networks highlight her dedication to advancing architectural knowledge and fostering inclusivity in the field.

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Portrait of Olayinka Dosekun-Adjei

33. Olayinka Dosekun-Adjei, Nigeria

Olayinka Dosekun-Adjei is a Nigerian architect and the Creative Director of Studio Contra, , an architectural practice based in Lagos, Nigeria, focusing on cultural and residential projects in the West African region. With a background in finance and a BA in Classics from the University of Oxford, Olayinka later pursued architecture, earning an M.Arch from Harvard University Graduate School of Design as a Kennedy Scholar. Before founding Studio Contra, she gained valuable experience at renowned architectural firms such as Barkow Leibinger in Berlin, Sheppard Robson in London, and MASS Design in Boston. Her expertise spans residential, commercial, cultural, and public spaces, with upcoming projects including the Institute of Contemporary African Art & Film in Ilorin, Nigeria.

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Portrait of Patti Anahory

34. Patti Anahory, Cabo Verde

Patti Anahory is a Cape Verdean architect, designer, and Co-Founder of Storia na Lugar, a platform dedicated to storytelling and counter-narratives. Her work revolves around exploring narratives of identity and belonging from an African island perspective, delving into geopolitical, memory, race, and gender constructs. Anahory’s contributions extend to her involvement in the pan-African multidisciplinary project Africa2020, where she co-created her(e), otherwise, a community focused on representing African-diaspora women spatial practitioners and thinkers. Recognized for her endeavors, Anahory was selected as the alternate for the Civitella Ranieri Foundation Architecture Prize in 2022 and received a Graham Foundation grant for her project. Additionally, she participated in Design Indaba’s collaborative initiative with Google Arts & Culture, showcasing the diverse stories of Africa through her architectural and design expertise.

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Portrait of Paula Nascimento

35. Paula Nascimento, Angola

Paula Nascimento is an Angolan architect and independent curator known for her interdisciplinary approach to architecture, urbanism, and visual arts. Graduating from the Architectural Association School of Architecture and LSB University in London, she co-founded Beyond Entropy Africa with Stefano Pansera, a research studio exploring the intersections of architecture, urbanism, and geopolitics. Her career includes collaborations with architecture studios in Porto and London, as well as consultancy roles for projects like the Angola Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 and Expo Dubai 2020. Nascimento is also a founding member of the Pés Descalços collective, based in Luanda, and serves as the curator of the African Galleries at Arco Lisboa. Her work extends internationally, with involvement in institutions and artist collectives across the African continent and beyond, including her role as associate curator of the VII Lubumbashi Biennale and recipient of the 2022 Okwui Enwezor Fellowship Research Grant from Independent Curators International.

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Portrait of Rahel Shawl

36. Rahel Shawl, Ethiopia

Rahel Shawl is an Ethiopian architect and the founder and principal of RAAS Architects in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Since 1991, she has been shaping the architectural landscape of her country, with a diverse portfolio including embassies, schools, healthcare centers, and residential buildings. Rahel’s work not only reflects her industry expertise but also her deep commitment to community impact. Her achievements have garnered prestigious awards such as the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007 and the Loeb Fellowship at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2017, cementing her status as a trailblazer in her field. Through RAAS Architects and her initiative abRen, Rahel mentors young professionals and advocates for women in architecture, aiming to cultivate a new generation of design leaders committed to sustainable and equitable practices in Ethiopia and across Africa. Her dedication to education and empowerment has earned her recognition as a role model and honorary goodwill ambassador, solidifying her legacy as a champion for positive change in the built environment.

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Portrait of Rosemary Orthner

37. Rosemary Orthner, Ghana

Rosemary Orthner is a Ghanaian Austrian Architect and the co-founder of Orthner Orthner Architects (OOA). She pursued her architectural studies at the University of Technology in Graz, Austria, and the University of Bath, UK, graduating with distinction in 2000. With a background deeply rooted in both Ghanaian and Austrian cultures, Orthner brings a unique perspective to her architectural practice. Co-establishing OOA Austria in 2003 and OOA Ghana in 2006 with her husband, Martin, she specializes in Project Management, Contract Administration, and Food Services Design. Orthner’s upbringing in Ghana within her family’s Construction Company, combined with her architectural education and practice in Austria, has facilitated successful collaborations with international and local clients. As the “Honorary Consul of Austria” and the “Austrian Foreign Trade Representative” to Ghana, Orthner plays a vital role in diplomatic relations between the two countries. OOA’s projects, such as Legon City Lofts, underscore Orthner’s commitment to sustainable and affordable housing solutions in Ghana, addressing the pressing housing shortage while integrating environmentally conscious design principles.

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Portrait of Salima Naji

38. Salima Naji, Morocco

Salima Naji is an architect and anthropologist based in Morocco, renowned for her innovative work in reviving traditional construction processes and preserving the country’s endangered heritage. With a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and a degree in Architecture from l’École d’architecture de Paris-La-Villette, she has dedicated over twenty years to protecting southern Morocco’s oasis heritage. Naji’s approach involves adapting varied vernacular traditions, such as clay, stone, wood, and palm fronds, for contemporary needs, promoting sustainability, preserving local knowledge, and honoring traditional artisans. Through her studio established in 2004, she specializes in the use of sustainable raw materials like earth, stone, and palm tree fiber, designing and restoring numerous bioclimatic buildings such as maternity hospitals, cultural centers, eco-lodges, and museums. Her efforts have earned her prestigious awards, including the Holcim Prize for Sustainable Development and recognition from the EDF Foundation and the Order of Architects of Morocco. Naji’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to heritage conservation have had a profound impact on Morocco’s architectural landscape and cultural resilience.

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Portrait of Samia Henni

39. Samia Henni, Algeria

Samia Henni is an architectural historian, writer, educator, and curator, known for her insightful exploration of built environments within colonial contexts. With a Ph.D. in Archaeology from ETH Zurich, she has lectured at prestigious institutions like Princeton University and the University of Zurich. Henni’s architectural practice delves into the intersection of the built and destroyed environments with colonial practices, evident in her acclaimed book “Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria.” As a curator, she has organized impactful exhibitions like “Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria,” showcasing her commitment to shedding light on historical narratives often overlooked. Henni’s contributions have garnered significant recognition, including the Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians and the Silver Book Award by the Festival International du Livre d’Art et du Film (FILAF). Currently, she is engaged in groundbreaking research on colonial psychiatry and psychology, reflecting her dedication to uncovering overlooked aspects of history through the lens of architecture.

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Portrait of Sarah Calburn

40. Sarah Calburn, South Africa

Sarah Calburn is a South African architect and the founder and director of Sarah Calburn Architects, establishing her practice in Johannesburg in 1996 after completing her Master’s in Architecture at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. With a distinguished academic background, including studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Calburn has worked extensively across various global cities such as Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Melbourne. Her architectural ethos revolves around the intersection of landscape and architecture, leading to the creation of multi-award-winning designs characterized by a creative and critical engagement with social and physical environments. Beyond her architectural practice, Calburn actively contributes to the architectural discourse in South Africa through teaching, lecturing, and writing on architecture and urbanism. She has been involved in initiatives aimed at creative urban development in Johannesburg, including serving as the Program Director of ArchitectureZA 2010, the first South African Architectural Biennale.

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Portrait of Sarah El Battouty

41. Sarah El Battouty, Egypt

Sarah El Battouty is an Egyptian Architect and the founder of ECOnsult, a pioneering environmental design and auditing company in Egypt. With over 18 years of experience in the field of green building and sustainable development, Sarah has garnered global recognition for her innovative approach to architecture. Her work extends from Egypt to Italy and China, where she collaborates with both private sector entities and governmental agencies to implement green projects aimed at fostering sustainability and environmental consciousness. Beyond her architectural endeavors, Sarah has been appointed as a senior advisor to the Egyptian president, focusing on sustainable community development. She has played a pivotal role in shaping Egypt’s environmental policy, including initiatives to raise awareness about energy and water conservation and the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement. Sarah’s commitment to promoting inclusivity and gender equality is reflected in her company’s policies of equal pay and gender-balanced leadership. As a staunch advocate for sustainable design and environmental stewardship, Sarah continues to make significant contributions to Egypt’s architectural landscape and the global fight against climate change.

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Portrait of Shahira Fahmy

42. Shahira Fahmy, Egypt

Shahira Fahmy is an Egyptian architect and the founder and principal of Shahira Fahmy Architects (SFA), a renowned architectural firm established in Cairo, Egypt, in 2005. Fahmy’s illustrious career spans interdisciplinary practices, encompassing building, art, pedagogy, and curatorial endeavors. Her architectural interests revolve around exploring narratives of identity and belonging from an African perspective, delving into geopolitical, memory, race, and gender constructs. Fahmy’s achievements include prestigious recognitions such as the Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2015 and the Berkman fellowship at Harvard Law School in 2016. She has also served as an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. With a diverse portfolio of international projects and a commitment to architectural education, Fahmy continues to make significant contributions to the global architectural discourse.

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Portrait of Shamla Fernandez

43. Shamla Fernandez, Kenya

Shamla Fernandez is an Indian Kenyan architect and principal of Shamla Fernandez Architect, a renowned architectural firm known for its innovative designs and functional spaces. Born in Kisumu and raised in Nairobi, Shamla navigated a predominantly male academic environment to graduate in architecture in 1988. Her career journey includes notable stints at Planning Systems Services Ltd and BeglinWoods Architects before she ventured out to establish her own firm, Shamla Fernandez Architect, where she has been at the helm for the past 21 years. A dedicated mother, Shamla’s decision to start her own practice was motivated by her commitment to balancing career aspirations with family responsibilities. Alongside her husband, who is also her partner at SFA, Shamla has spearheaded numerous impressive projects, combining her logical approach to space functionality with her husband’s expertise in form detailing and aesthetics.

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Portrait of Sithabile Mathe

44. Sithabile Mathe, Botswana

Sithabile Mathe is a Motswana architect and Managing Director of Moralo Designs, a prominent architectural firm she established in 2006. With 19 years of post-graduate experience and qualifications from Glasgow, Scotland, Sithabile leads Moralo Designs in offering a comprehensive range of services including Urban Design, Architectural Design, Landscape Design, Interior Design, and Project Management. Her expertise extends to contractual matters, project management, and financial viability assessments, reflecting her commitment to delivering high-quality and sustainable architectural solutions. Sithabile’s international work experience spans Botswana, South Africa, Norway, South Sudan, and Tanzania, where she thrives in diverse professional environments. Registered with four professional bodies, she holds key leadership roles including Chairperson of the Architect’s Registration Council of Botswana and Chairperson of the Botswana Housing Corporation Board. Additionally, Sithabile has made significant contributions to the Commonwealth Association of Architects, serving as Vice President for the Africa Region and Chair of CAA Validation.

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Portrait of Stella Mutegi

45. Stella Mutegi – Kenya

Stella Mutegi is the director and co-founder of Cave_bureau, an architectural studio based in Nairobi, Kenya, which she co-established in 2014 alongside Kabage Karanja. With a pragmatic yet lateral attention to detail, Stella brings a wealth of experience to the creative and delivery phases of the projects undertaken by Cave. Leading the technical department, she orchestrates the seamless coordination of ideas into built form and is known as the problem solver for all design issues within the office. Stella’s expertise extends to geological and anthropological investigations, particularly in caves within the Great Rift Valley, reflecting her commitment to exploring the limitless curiosity of our early ancestors. Additionally, she actively engages in playful and intensive research studies aimed at decoding the pre- and post-colonial African city. Stella’s architectural journey began with her education at the University of Newcastle in Australia, where she completed her architectural studies before returning to Kenya, where she qualified as an architect in 2009. In recognition of her expertise, Stella Mutegi was appointed as an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning & Preservation in 2023.

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Portrait of Sumayya Vally. © Justice Mukheli

46. Sumayya Vally, South Africa

Sumayya Vally is a South African artist and the founder and principal of Counterspace, an architecture firm based in Johannesburg and London. Born in Pretoria in 1990 and raised in Johannesburg, Vally’s diverse cultural background influences her innovative designs. She completed her studies in Architecture at the University of Pretoria before earning a master’s degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2014. In 2020, she became the youngest architect commissioned to design the Serpentine Pavilion in London, showcasing her commitment to creating inclusive spaces. Vally’s work has earned her several awards and accolades, including recognition on the Time 100 Next list in 2021. She has taught and lectured widely, most recently as Pelli Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Vally leads a new master’s programme, Hijra هجرة, at the Royal College of Art and is an Honorary Professor of Practice at The Bartlett School of Architecture. As Artistic Director, Vally curated the inaugural Islamic Arts Biennale taking place in Jeddah in 2023. Through her advocacy for social justice and sustainability, she continues to push the boundaries of architectural practice, making her a leading figure in the industry.

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Portrait of Tatu Gatere

47. Tatu Gatere, Kenya

Tatu Gatere is an architect, entrepreneur, and advocate for change in Kenya’s construction industry. As the Co-Founder & CEO of Buildher, she spearheads efforts to empower disadvantaged young women with construction skills, challenging gender norms and promoting equality in a traditionally male-dominated sector. With over 15 years of experience, Tatu has devoted her career to bridging cultural perspectives with the built environment, fostering community engagement, and driving socio-economic development. Buildher’s impactful work has garnered recognition, including awards from the UKAID-Kenya Catalytic Jobs Fund and Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls. In 2020, Tatu’s contributions were celebrated as she was honored among Africa’s 100 Women of Excellence.

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An image of Tosin Oshinowo, captured by Bashar Belal.

48. Tosin Oshinowo, Nigeria

Tosin Oshinowo is a Lagos-based Nigerian architect, designer, and the principal architect of Oshinowo Studio, an architectural firm she founded in 2013. With a focus on socially responsive architecture, Oshinowo has led her studio to undertake a wide range of civic, commercial, and residential projects across Nigeria. Notably, she collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme to create a new community in northern Nigeria for those displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency, showcasing her commitment to addressing pressing social issues through innovative design solutions. She worked in the offices of Skidmore Owings & Merrill in London and the Office of Metropolitan Architecture Rotterdam, where she contributed to the design of the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge in 2008, highlighting her international experience and expertise. Oshinowo’s portfolio also includes partnering with Lexus on conceptual design exploration for Design Miami/ 2020 and the Maryland Mall in Lagos, showcasing her versatility in designing both large-scale and retail spaces. As a registered architect in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Oshinowo’s dedication to advancing architecture as a catalyst for positive change is evident in her multifaceted career. She co-curated the second Lagos Biennial in 2019 and curated the second Sharjah Architecture Triennial in 2023, further solidifying her reputation as a leading figure in contemporary architectural discourse.

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Portrait of Valerie Mavoungou Rodriguez

49. Valerie Mavoungou Rodriguez, Congo

Valérie Mavoungou is Congolese-Ukrainian Architect and the founder of l’Atelier tropical. Graduating from the Paris Belleville National School of Architecture in 2012, she combines European training with expertise gained from Asian institutions in sustainable design for tropical climates. With roots in Congo and Ukraine, and a childhood spent in Sub-Saharan Africa, Mavoungou is committed to ecological practices on the continent. Since establishing l’Atelier tropical in 2016, she has collaborated with local partners across Central, West, East, and Southern Africa, overseeing projects from conception to execution, emphasizing modern aesthetics tailored to their tropical environments while adhering to international construction standards.

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Portrait of Victoria Marwa Heilman

50. Victoria Marwa Heilman, Tanzania

Victoria Marwa Heilman is a Tanzanian architect who holds a Doctorate degree in Architecture from the University of Stuttgart in Germany, a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, DC, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. As the founder and director of VK Green Architects Limited in Dar es Salaam, she is a staunch advocate for sustainable design and construction, a philosophy that permeates her teaching, research, and professional projects. Dr. Heilman also serves as the chairperson of Tanzania Women Architects for Humanity (TAWAH), an NGO she co-founded in 2010 with the goal of providing decent shelters for marginalized communities in Tanzania. Through TAWAH, she implements innovative and cost-effective building technologies to reconstruct homes after natural disasters, involving the affected communities and empowering women. Leveraging her Eisenhower Fellowship in 2016, Dr. Heilman expanded TAWAH’s initiatives and fostered strategic partnerships, with a focus on enhancing housing, sanitation, and educational facilities for marginalized groups. Her unwavering dedication to sustainable development and community engagement has left an indelible mark on Tanzania’s architectural landscape and promoted social inclusivity.

In celebrating these extraordinary women, we honor their dedication, resilience, and unwavering passion for shaping a better future through architecture. Let their stories serve as a testament to the transformative power of women in the field of architecture and as a reminder of the endless possibilities that lie ahead.

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