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Women in Architecture: Itsuko Hasegawa

As part of our ongoing “Women in Architecture” series, we’re celebrating the incredible work of Itsuko Hasegawa, a trailblazer in the worlds of design and architecture. Hasegawa’s unique blend of traditional Japanese elements and modern design techniques has established her as a leading figure in the architectural realm, inspiring us with her innovative and thoughtful creations.

The Life of Itsuko Hasegawa
Born in 1941 in Yaizu, Japan, Itsuko Hasegawa was raised in a post-war era brimming with opportunities for growth and innovation. Hasegawa’s early life was marked by an exposure to education, a privilege that paved the way for her future achievements. After graduating from Kanto Gakuin University in 1964, she further honed her skills at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. It was during this period that Hasegawa’s architectural philosophy began to take shape, influenced by both modern advancements and the rich tapestry of traditional Japanese design.

A pivotal moment in Hasegawa’s early career was her time working with the renowned architect Kiyonori Kikutake, a leading figure in the Metabolist Movement. This experience significantly impacted her design approach, blending modernist techniques with an inherent appreciation for natural and cultural harmony.

Itsuko Hasegawa sofa
A sofa designed by Itsuko Hasegawa held in the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, Photo from Wikipedia

Notable Works and Achievements
In 1979, Hasegawa established her own firm, Itsuko Hasegawa Atelier, marking the beginning of a series of groundbreaking projects that would define her career. Her work is characterized by a deep sensitivity to the environment and a unique understanding of space.

Shonandai Cultural Centre in Fujisaw
Shonandai Cultural Centre, Itsuko Hasegawa Atelier, 1987, Photo from Wikipedia

One of Hasegawa’s most acclaimed projects is the Shonandai Cultural Centre in Fujisawa.

Built in 1987, this cultural hub is a testament to her ability to create dynamic and fluid spaces that resonate with the community. The build features a mixture of various forms, including two domed structures and a scattering of hut-like forms that resemble flowers blooming and defy traditional architectural arrangement.

Another significant work is the Sumida Culture Factory in Tokyo, a project that underscores her commitment to functional and engaging public spaces. Built in 1994, the complex acts as another example of Hasegawa’s creation of a landscape. The factory features various interconnected design elements, including a grand dome and two defining catenary roofs.

Sumida Culture Factory
The Sumida Culture Factory, Tokyo, Itsuko Hasegawa Atelier, 1994, Photo from Google Maps

Her contribution to architecture has been recognized with several awards, including the Architectural Institute of Japan’s Design Prize for the Brizan Hall, the Japan Cultural Design Award, the Japan Art Academy Award and the prestigious Royal Academy of Art’s Architecture Prize.

Hasegawa’s influence extends beyond her architectural projects. Her roles as a professor and lecturer in various international institutions have allowed her to impact the next generation of architects, advocating for greater diversity and creativity in the field.

Itsuko Hasegawa’s journey is not just about building structures; it’s about building dreams and inspiring change. Hasegawa’s legacy is a powerful reminder of how architecture can transcend mere buildings to become a medium for cultural expression and community engagement.

A Brief History of the Streamline Moderne Movement

At Optima, we have a deep appreciation for architectural movements that have shaped our surroundings. Today, we’re taking a closer look at Streamline Moderne, an influential style born from the Art Deco movement, celebrated for its embodiment of speed, efficiency, and the modern era.

Origins of Streamline Moderne

Emerging in the 1930s, Streamline Moderne was a testament to the rapidly evolving technological landscape of the time. Influenced by aerodynamic design and born from the advancements in transportation and manufacturing, the movement represented a shift from the ornamental flourishes of Art Deco to a sleeker, more functional aesthetic. It mirrored the streamlined shapes of airplanes, ships, and automobiles, encapsulating the era’s romance with speed and progress.

Los Angeles’ Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Plummer, Wurdeman and Becket, 1935, Photo from Floyd B. Bariscale
Los Angeles’ Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Plummer, Wurdeman and Becket, 1935, Photo from Floyd B. Bariscale

Architects and designers, inspired by the sleek, aerodynamic lines of the modern machine age, began incorporating these elements into buildings, household appliances, and even consumer products. This shift marked a distinct move towards simplicity and efficiency, a response to the economic constraints of the Great Depression.

Streamline Moderne in Architecture

The Streamline Moderne movement left a profound impact with several notable examples still celebrated today. Among these, the Pan-Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles stands out with its sweeping, streamlined façade and stylized pylons, epitomizing the movement’s love for fluidity and motion.

The slew of Streamline Moderne hotels living on Miami’s Ocean Drive, Photo from State Archives of Florida

Another classic example is the Coca-Cola Building in Los Angeles. Its curved corners, elongated horizontal lines, and nautical elements like porthole windows perfectly illustrate Streamline Moderne’s aesthetic principles. These structures not only embodied the technological advancement of the era but also represented a desire for a design that was both functional and visually appealing.

In Miami, the Streamline Moderne movement found particularly fertile ground, with Ocean Drive hotels showcasing the style’s quintessential features. The smooth curves, chrome accents, and pastel colors of these buildings have become synonymous with Miami’s diverse architectural identity, drawing visitors and architecture enthusiasts from around the world.

Today, these structures stand as elegant reminders of an era captivated by the future. In Streamline Moderne, we find a celebration of simplicity, functionality, and beauty – principles that resonate with our approach at Optima. Streamline Moderne is a testament to design’s power in shaping not just buildings, but the character of entire cities and the imagination of generations to come.

Ellison Keomaka Art at 7190 Optima Kierland

Revisit the artistic genius of Ellison Keomaka, where he offers a deep dive into his vibrant creations for Optima Kierland 7190. The mixture of artwork includes a dynamic collaboration with David Hovey Sr. and features pieces that draw from his past work at Optima Lakeview and take inspiration from Alexander Calder’s famous mobile sculptures. Ready for another colorful journey with Ellison? Dive in below: 

What did the creative process entail when first conceiving and planning the artwork for Optima Kierland 7190? 

When I started by creating artwork for Optima Kierland 7190, I aimed to maintain a bold and vibrant aesthetic. The Mobiles series was the first series I did for 7190 that included the mobile likeness. As their name suggests, I took inspiration from Alexander Calder’s mobile styles and then added more of my own style with the texture and colors. Other works, like the Primary series, took inspiration from previous artwork I’ve done for Optima Lakeview.

MISC-ELE-002 by Ellison Keomaka at 7190 Optima Kierland
MISC-ELE-002 by Ellison Keomaka at 7190 Optima Kierland

What role do color and texture play in these works? 

Unlike some of my other artwork throughout the Optima Communities, all of the work I created for 7190 was done freehand with inks and paint. David Hovey Sr. has a particular affinity for bold colors, so I wanted to integrate that as a theme throughout my work. The Silhouette series is one of the boldest works I created for 7190. What makes this series stand out are the striking black backgrounds that are meant to hang on a white wall. I thought it framed the pieces well, giving the impression of a window through which you can view the colors behind.

From left to right, HYP-08 and HYP-06 by Ellison Keomaka at 7190 Optima Kierland
From left to right, HYP-08 and HYP-06 by Ellison Keomaka at 7190 Optima Kierland

You collaborated with David Hovey Sr. on one series at 7190 Optima Kierland. Can you describe this process and how these pieces differ from the other works in 7190? 

David Hovey Sr. and I bounced around several ideas in the Free Form series before landing on a style for the Celebration series. He had visited to review some pieces, and during his visit, I suggested the idea of incorporating a black line in them. As I commenced drawing the lines, we collaborated, and I created four or five smaller pieces in that style. It was a wonderful experience to work alongside David in this way. 

After sketching the lines and proposing some freeform shapes, David suggested adding some color, which we experimented with. It evolved into a fun reciprocal process that eventually yielded these vibrant pieces. These artworks blend influences from various fields, including automotive pinstriping and a touch of street art. In-person, they span 18 feet in width combined, making them quite impactful. There was no room for error with the black line, and since any adjustments would be noticeable, each piece had to be finalized in one take, freehand with inks and paint. 

L-REE-0024 by Ellison Keomaka in 7190 Optima Kierland
L-REE-0024 by Ellison Keomaka in 7190 Optima Kierland

Is there anything else we should know about the creative process for these pieces or the work itself? 

Managing the sheer volume of pieces is challenging and an art project in its own right. It requires shifting your mindset and thinking on a different scale constantly. For example, the Curiosity and Free Form series have so many individual pieces in the collection that my goal was to ensure that each stood out with its own unique look or style. So, these have been very interesting challenges that I find extremely rewarding.

How Architecture is Working to Combat Dementia

At Optima®, we’ve always believed that architecture is more than just buildings — it’s about creating environments that enrich lives. Today’s architectural innovations are showing remarkable potential for enriching lives, and specifically for supporting individuals with memory loss, offering not just safety and comfort but also a touch of joy in their daily lives.

Imagine a space that’s easy to navigate, where each corridor and room feels familiar and safe. This is the main goal when designing for dementia care. Simple layouts and clear signs help reduce confusion, making spaces feel more like a home and less like an institution. Safety is also paramount, but so is the freedom to explore. Thoughtful design usually includes secure outdoor spaces where residents can enjoy a bit of nature without the risk. Indoors, non-slip floors and good lighting are essentials, not afterthoughts.

But it’s not all about functionality. Sensory engagement through architecture can bring immense comfort. Picture a room bathed in natural light, offering views of a serene garden, or the soft melody of a familiar tune playing in the background. These elements can awaken memories and provide a sense of calm to those with dementia.

The Village’s nature walk
The Village’s nature walk, Courtesy of Départment Landes YouTube

Social spaces are also crucial to these designs. A well-designed common area can invite residents to interact, participate in activities, or simply enjoy each other’s company, all of which are vital for emotional well-being.

One of the leading examples of architecture designed to combat these diseases is the Alzheimer’s Village in Dax, France, the first of its kind in the country. Designed by the Danish architecture studio NORD Architects, the village features a handful of design elements that pull from Dax’s old town to create sensory familiarity for its residents.

The Alzheimer’s Village design is one brimming with intention. Pulling on the ideas of recognition and readability, the village is arranged in a bastide-like structure, broken up into four clusters that each house around 30 residents. The village features a grocery store, a restaurant and a hairdresser in its main square to help welcome familiarity. The thoughtful design, however, goes much deeper than just the facilities. 

An overhead view of one of the village’s four clusters
An overhead view of one of the village’s four clusters, Courtesy of Départment Landes YouTube

NORD architects purposely used local materials like timber planks, plaster and clay tiles to bring forth textures, colors and forms that are familiar to the residents. Other design elements, like the pattern of concrete arches and the inclusion of gardens and greenery throughout the community, all call back to the bastide design of old Europe.

Architecture, in its most profound sense, is about creating spaces that resonate with human needs. For those living with dementia, a thoughtfully designed environment, like the Alzeimer’s Village, can offer a semblance of normalcy, comfort, and dignity. It’s a bridge between the challenges of memory loss and the pursuit of a fulfilled life.

Women in Architecture: Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky

As part of our ongoing “Women in Architecture” series, we’re turning our attention to Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky — an architect whose visionary designs and commitment to social consciousness have left an indelible mark on the field. Her story stands out as a testament to creativity, resilience, and an unwavering dedication to innovative design. Join us as we dive into the extraordinary life and career of this influential figure:

The Life of Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky was born on January 23, 1897, in Vienna, Austria. Growing up in this vibrant city, she was captivated by its blend of historical charm and modern ambition, fostering a deep appreciation for architecture from a young age. The dynamic cityscape became a canvas for her budding architectural imagination.

Frankfurt Kitchen, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, 1926

Her educational journey began at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, where she faced the challenge of being the first woman to attend the school. Undeterred, Lihotzky excelled in her studies, laying the foundation for a groundbreaking career. In school, she studied under the famed Australian architect, Oskar Strnad and before graduating, was awarded a handful of prizes for her work.

Notable Works and Achievements

Schütte-Lihotzky’s architectural legacy is defined by designs that transcend mere structures, becoming narratives of history, environment, and society. Much of her early work involved designing settlements and affordable housing projects across Europe. Eventually, she was approached by German architect, Ernst May, to help construct an affordable public housing project called New Frankfurt.

Frankfurt Kitchen, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, 1926

Perhaps her most groundbreaking contribution to New Frankfurt is the Frankfurt Kitchen, a marvel of efficiency and modern design. This kitchen was a pioneering attempt to apply scientific principles to domestic kitchen design. It aimed to optimize space and workflow, featuring built-in storage, sliding doors, and specialized work areas—a revolutionary concept that transformed the way we think about kitchen spaces.

A floorplan for Lihotzky’s Frankfurt Kitchen, University of Applied Arts Vienna

Later in her career, Lihotzky provided her expertise to projects across the world, from the creation of the kindergarten schools in Bulgaria and Germany to consultant jobs in China and Cuba. Alongside her revolutionary work, she has received various design awards and achievements, including the Architecture Award from the City of Vienna in 1980 and the Austrian Decoration for Science and Arts in 1992.

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky’s enduring legacy lies not just in her architectural creations but in the inspiration she provides for architects, especially women. Her life’s work serves as a reminder that architecture is a powerful medium for storytelling, heritage preservation, and the design of a sustainable future.

Culinary Modernism: Cloth and Flame

From mountain sides and deserts to urban rooftops and beyond, Cloth & Flame has been curating extraordinary dining experiences as experiential journeys — transcending the bounds of traditional restaurants and leading diners into a world where nature, architecture, and gourmet cuisine intertwine.

Cloth & Flame is the brainchild of the Phoenix-based husband-and-wife team, Matt Cooley & Olivia Laux, visionaries who believe that dining could be so much more than just food on a plate. To them, it’s about fostering connections and creating memories. With events in breathtaking locations across all 50 states, from Alaskan mountainsides and Arizona deserts to Oregon forests, their reach is as vast as their vision. Their events offer a respite from the digital age’s hustle, transporting guests to serene locales.

Cloth and Flame Event in Arizona. Photo: Cloth and Flame

In a recent event promoted as “Flagstaff Fadeway,” Cloth & Flame brought an exclusive long-table dinner to the stunning lawn of the High Country Motor Lodge in Flagstaff, part of a weekend music festival inspired by the beauty of Northern Arizona. The festival offered its few hundred guests the opportunity to experience deeply intimate musical performances, kicking off with a five-course menu.

In an era when dinner events can be predictable, routine affairs, Cloth & Flame breaks the mold, ensuring that every event is a surprise and that no two experiences are the same. And with all of the outdoor venues, Cloth & Flame demonstrates profound respect for the environment. They look for spectacular settings and provide the landowners an alternative income source, potentially preserving these areas from development. Moreover, a portion of their dinner proceeds is directed to conservancies dedicated to protecting our planet’s wild and wonderful spaces.

Aspen Forest, Arizona. Photo: Hailey Golich

At Cloth & Flame dinners, strangers become friends under starlit skies, conversations flow unhindered, and in this temporary commune, bonds are forged that last a lifetime. Cloth & Flame’s invitation is open to everyone. Whether you have a culinary dream to chase or are simply open to exploring theirs, gastronomic adventure is on the horizon.

Cloth & Flame serves up a return to authenticity, to the raw beauty of nature, and to the simple pleasure of a meal shared in good company. So, the next time you yearn for a break from the ordinary, remember that somewhere, atop a mountain or in the heart of a desert, a table awaits you. And at this table, you’ll not just find food, but an experience, a story, and perhaps, a piece of yourself that you never knew existed.

Interested in embarking on a culinary journey with Cloth & Flame? Follow the link here.

Chicago Architectural Biennial 2023: This Is a Rehearsal

As Chicago’s architectural landscape continually evolves, the fifth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial offers a fresh, reflective look into the heart of urban transformation. Beginning September 21, 2023, CB5 invites locals and visitors alike to participate in a series of immersive events and discussions. Here’s what you can expect from the 2023 Biennial This Is a Rehearsal.

Diving into this year’s theme, This Is a Rehearsal, serves as an exciting reminder that cities, much like the instants of life, are in endless evolution. Through this lens, CB5 emphasizes the importance of continuous dialogue, trial, and reinvention in urban designs. CB5 explores how countries around the world share political, environmental and economic issues and how each may address them differently through art, architecture and public involvement. It’s not just about the buildings but the stories they tell and the communities they foster.

Floating Museum, a Chicago-based arts collective, is the lead artistic team behind CB5, pushing boundaries and charting new territories in urban discourse. Their integrative approach promises an engaging mix of conversations, challenging conventions, and setting the stage for tomorrow’s architectural landscape. CB5 expands on Floating Museums’ existing beliefs and work, all exploring the relationships between the built environment and ourselves. 

With over 80 contributors from Chicago and the global stage, the Biennial is a testament to diverse, inventive thought. The contributors, ranging from artists and architects to educators and thinkers, breathe life into various corners of the city, from Lakeview’s artful streets to North Lawndale’s historic boulevards. It’s more than just an exhibition; it’s a city-wide celebration of innovation. 

Local contributors include Grow Greater Englewood, Urban Growers Collective, Project Onward, the Poetry Foundation and the Southside Community Art Center. Contributors from around the United States and the globe include Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Buell Center at Columbia University, SpaceShift and Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Marking its commencement on September 21st, the Biennial unfolds various installations across the city. A special opening celebration is slated for November 1st, showcasing extensive exhibitions at renowned locations like the Chicago Cultural Center and the Graham Foundation. The programs invite viewers to engage in conversations around food and material production, water reclamation and discussions around construction and power in relation to land use and rights. Whether you’re a seasoned architect, a design enthusiast, or just a curious mind, there’s something for everyone.

Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park

At Optima®, we relish the opportunity to immerse our residents in experiences enriched by cultural discovery and aesthetic delight…which is exactly what you can expect when you wander through a captivating wonder nestled in the heart of Chicago – the Garden of the Phoenix.

Situated within the lush expanses of Jackson Park, the Garden of the Phoenix, once known as the Osaka Garden, gracefully expresses the timeless allure of traditional Japanese aesthetics. With a history that dates back to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, it stands as a picturesque landscape on its own, while also serving as the canvas for cross-cultural dialogue between Japan and the United States. 

As global nations joined the Exposition, Japan, in particular, sought to cast an enduring impression in Chicago. And with the inception of the Phoenix Pavillion between 1891-93, the U.S. received its first glimpse of the refined nature of Japanese architecture and landscape design. It even drew the attention of a young Frank Lloyd Wright and served as a revelation in his practice. 

In 1935, the land surrounding the Phoenix Pavilion was transformed into a picturesque Japanese strolling garden that harmoniously blended with its surrounding environment. However, the escalating tensions between Japan and the U.S. during World War II took a toll on the garden, which fell into disrepair for decades due to a lack of funding. In 1981, the Chicago Park District completed efforts to restore and reimagine the garden, working with luminary landscape architect Daneji Domoto. Once the work was completed, the garden was renamed ‘Osaka Garden’ to honor Chicago’s sister city relationship with Osaka, Japan, strengthening this unique cross-cultural bridge.

Over the past several decades the garden has enjoyed waves of transformation. In 2013, the garden welcomed a new resident, Skylanding, a mesmerizing art installation by Yoko Ono. With 12 large steel lotus petals rising from the earth, Ono’s vision of peace and harmony came alive, inviting visitors into a unique, multi-sensory encounter.

Yoko Ono's Skylanding
Yoko Ono’s Skylanding sculpture, Jackson Park. Photo: Richard Bartlaga

Today, the Garden of the Phoenix breathes harmony and balance within the energetic pulse of Jackson Park and will be home to the Obama Library. As a symbol of rejuvenation, resilience, and enduring friendship, the garden offers a cherished sanctuary within Chicago’s vibrant cityscape.

Nic Behrends Team Member Spotlight

At Optima®, every individual on our team brings a unique story and perspective that enriches our community. We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Nic Behrends, Optima Lakeview’s Leasing Consultant. From a rich background in hospitality to his heartwarming transition into the world of real estate, Nic shares his journey and insights about what makes Optima stand out. Dive in below:

Tell us a bit about your background and the role you play at Optima.

My background is actually not in real estate. I spent over two decades in hospitality during which I also ran a non-profit focused on bartenders for several years. During my time in hospitality, people kept telling me I would be a great real estate agent, so eventually, I was convinced to get my leasing license. I worked as an agent for a couple of years and realized chasing all over town wasn’t my cup of tea and that I would be much happier managing buildings. I learned that I can be an expert in one specific community and get to know the residents instead of grinding through different prospects, and now I’m one of Optima Lakeview’s Leasing Consultants!

How did you first begin your journey at Optima?

I interviewed with Optima and immediately fell in love with the team and how they illuminated the brand for me. Everything I learned about Optima was far more attractive than any of the other properties I had interviewed with, so I knew I had to work here. Everyone encouraged me to be myself and understand how I could bring my true self to the position, and once I was encouraged to bring that person out, sales just started erupting for me. It’s been great to work in a place where I know that I’m not judged because maybe I’m not the most proficient typist or super skilled in Excel, but I can relate to people. 

How do you view the concept of community at Optima? How does it differ from other properties/buildings?

It’s unique that with Optima, we are all a part of this community. The fact that I see our chief engineer working out in the gym alongside a resident, sharing tips with each other, or I see another staff member at the pool with his partner exemplifies that we’re not just the staff here, we’re also members of the community, and the residents respect that and treat us as neighbors since we’re all here together. In most of the other communities that I interacted with as a broker, there was always an issue with control or power, and there is usually a disconnect between the residents and the staff. But at Optima, everyone is heard. Residents see that we care about what’s going on in their lives and it makes everything much more warm and happier. 

Optima has a unique set of values that differentiates it from other company cultures. How does that affect the quality of your work life? What values matter most to you?

Being bold. It takes a lot to put your true self out there and to let the walls down. And to be in a building that lets me do that has allowed me to progress in my career very rapidly. Becoming not only successful but also happy in this career has come from the opportunities that being bold has given me. All of our work here is done with intent and purpose, so in every action, we’re acting bold. It’s been an amazing opportunity to work with Maike and the team here because everyone truly embodies that value. 

What are some things you’ve learned during your time at Optima?

What I’ve learned most here at Optima is that there is a way to do this business that is beneficial to both the property owner and the residents. When you produce a premium building that you can stand behind, you’ve got to be willing to put in the effort and show residents that we’re invested in their lives and are here to help them at all costs. Too often, at other properties, the solution is a rebuttal with a demand that you live with it, and here, we’re always looking for a way to solve problems. 

What makes you most proud to be a part of the Optima team?

What I’m most proud of is the fact that I made a huge career change after doing the same thing for 20-plus years and made it into an environment that makes me feel valued. I walk into the most amazing building and am greeted by spectacular residents every morning. I work with a team that is not only going to work as hard or harder than me but also respects me for who I am. I’m over the moon to tell everybody how happy I am here and how proud I am to know I made it onto this team. 

Odile Decq: The Rockstar of Modern Architecture

In the dynamic world of architecture, there are creators, and then there are revolutionaries – those who dare to redefine the conventions of the craft. Today, we shine a spotlight on one such rockstar of the architectural world – Odile Decq. Born in Laval, France, Decq first delved into the disciplines of history and art history, later shifting her focus to the vast, creative expanse of architecture. This foundational base in the arts became the cornerstone for her future architectural exploits, fueling her rebellious yet constructive spirit.

Decq’s works echo her unique vision, transcending conventional design norms and boldly experimenting with innovative elements. Every project she has embraced manifests her distinct design philosophy – a play of bold geometric forms, the artful manipulation of light, and the fluidity of lines. It’s as if each design is an architectural manifesto that dares to defy the ordinary and push boundaries.

A prime showcase of her ethos is the Phantom Restaurant within Paris’s Opera Garnier. Here, Decq’s prowess is fully displayed in her ability to juxtapose contemporary design elements within a historic setting, engendering an intriguing dialogue between the past and the present, between tradition and modernity.

L’Opéra Restaurant, Palais Garnier, Paris│ | © Art2welp / Wikimedia Commons

Beyond her design exploits, Decq has made significant contributions to architectural education. With the establishment of the Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture in Lyon, France, Decq was able to translate her design philosophy into an educational context, fostering innovation and creative problem-solving in future architects.

Decq’s architectural flair and contributions have not gone unnoticed. She has been recognized with prestigious accolades, including the 2016 Jane Drew Prize and the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Her rise to prominence in the industry has been marked not only by the brilliance of her designs but also her unrelenting commitment to equality and progressive thinking in architecture.

Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies, Lyon, France. Photo: Jeanne Menjoulet

Her legacy extends far beyond the physical structures she has designed and the students she has mentored. As a true rockstar of modern architecture, Decq has blazed a trail for future generations, particularly for women in a traditionally male-dominated field. Her work continues to inspire, challenging conventions and reshaping the architectural landscape.

Today, as we celebrate Odile Decq and her remarkable journey, we honor her pioneering spirit and her unique contribution to the field of architecture. Her commitment to challenging norms, her avant-garde designs, and her impactful initiatives truly exemplify the essence of a rockstar architect, who not only shapes the world around us but also how we perceive and interact with it.

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