Actionable idealism advocate Jeanne Gang wins the 2023 Charlotte Perriand Award

The American architect and founder of Chicago-based Studio Gang has been announced as the honouree of the award that celebrates trailblazers in architecture.

by Zohra KhanPublished on : Oct 06, 2022

American architect, sustainability advocate, and educator Jeanne Gang has been announced as the recipient of the 2023 Les Prix Charlotte Perriand Award. The founder of Chicago-based architecture and urban design firm Studio Gang, the award celebrates her trailblazing spirit and contribution to the fields. Gang is the second honouree to have received the title, the first laureate being Ghanian-British architect Sir David Adjaye who received it last year. As someone who looks at architecture beyond its physical appearance and instead values its inherent nature in forging relationships, Gang has created spaces and environments that act as social activators inspiring collective change for the past 25 years.

Instituted as part of The Créateurs Design Awards, the architecture award is bestowed in memory of the celebrated French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand, whose pioneering work played an integral role in shaping the face of modern architecture and design in the 20th century. The establishment of this award also marks the first time Perriand’s family has permitted the use of her name beyond her immediate body of work.

American architect Jeanne Gang is the second recipient of the Charlotte Pierrand Award | Chicago | Charlotte Perriand Award | STIRworld
American architect Jeanne Gang is the second recipient of the Charlotte Pierrand Award Image: Poster by Gary Dadd, Courtesy of The Créateurs Design Awards

Speaking of the late designer who introduced machine-age aesthetic in the interiors, Gang describe Perriand as someone "who fearlessly adopted the advanced tools and techniques of her time, yet deployed them with care and intelligence, finding combinations between materials, the tools of industry, and traditional craft.” Much like her own approach to realising American architecture that affects people on a deeper level, the architect upheld Pierrand’s forward thinking desire which led her to create design that improved people’s quality of lives. The modernist designer’s pioneering works spread across her seven-decade career were the highlight of an exhibition, hosted last year by London’s Design Museum.

  • Charlotte Pierrand on the Chaise lounge basculante, B306, 1929- Le Corbusier, P. Jeanneret, C. Pierrand, circa 1928| Chicago | Charlotte Perriand Award | STIRworld
    Charlotte Pierrand on the Chaise lounge basculante, B306, 1929- Le Corbusier, P. Jeanneret, C. Pierrand, circa 1928 Image: © F.L.C / ADAGP, Paris 2019, ADAGP, Paris 2019, AChP
  • Pierrand’s Place Saint-Sulpice apartment-studio room recreation in the exhibition Charlotte Pierrand: The Modern Life by Design Museum, London | Chicago | Charlotte Perriand Award | STIRworld
    Pierrand’s Place Saint-Sulpice apartment-studio room recreation in the exhibition Charlotte Pierrand: The Modern Life by Design Museum, London Image: Felix Speller, With thanks to WOKE Management; Courtesy of Design Museum

Brought up in Belvidere, Illinois, Gang graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Illinois in 1986 and earned her Master’s in architecture in 1993 from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the university where she is currently a Professor in Practice. Before establishing Studio Gang in 1997, she worked with Rem Koolhaas at OMA in Rotterdamthe Netherlands.

Aqua Tower in Chicago, remains till date, the tallest building ever designed by a woman-led architectural firm| Chicago | Charlotte Perriand Award | STIRworld
Aqua Tower in Chicago, remains till date, the tallest building ever designed by a woman-led architectural firm Image: Courtesy of The Créateurs Design Awards

Recognised for challenging the aesthetical and technical possibilities of her field, Gang’s works span a spectrum of typologies, particularly high rise residential developments, cultural and institutional centres, higher education spaces, and government and civic buildings. Some of her most noted works are found in Chicago itself, the city she calls home, and these include the 82-storey undulating Aqua Tower, the Writers Theatre, O'Hare Global Terminal, and the Vista Tower. Besides her architectural contribution, Gang’s studio also works in developing research, publications, and exhibitions through a practice of actionable idealism – a theory that pushes design’s ability to create public awareness and inspire positive change.

  • St Regis, Chicago| Chicago | Charlotte Perriand Award | STIRworld
    St Regis, Chicago Image: Tom Harris, Courtesy of The Créateurs Design Awards
  • Vista Tower, Chicago| Chicago | Charlotte Perriand Award | STIRworld
    Vista Tower, Chicago Image: Courtesy of The Créateurs Design Awards

An elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and recipient of several coveted honours including the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Architecture, the Louis I Kahn Memorial Award, and the Marcus Prize, Gang’s focus of practice continues to broaden the horizons of architecture, moving beyond the systems of space, scale, and materiality to creating buildings that act as vessels of human connection, care, and well being. As someone who considers her engineer father to be her role model, the person who taught her values of a profession and the rigour of a practitioner, Gang is also often heard reminiscing her mother’s humorous idioms on life and the lessons she taught her in disguise. An optimist who draws her strength from nature and ecology, Gang has also been named amongst the 100 Most Influential list of Time Magazine’s 2019 issue. She was cited by award-winning actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith as someone with a “WOW factor”, who believes “architecture is not just a wondrous object, it is a catalyst for change.”

  • Writer's Theatre in Illinois by Studio Gang | Chicago | Charlotte Perriand Award | STIRworld
    Writer's Theatre in Illinois by Studio Gang Image: Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing, © Studio Gang
  • Solar Carve in New York City by Studio Gang | Chicago | Charlotte Perriand Award | STIRworld
    Solar Carve in New York City by Studio Gang Image: Tom Harris Photography, © Studio Gang
  • Polis Station – axonometric drawing by Studio Gang | Chicago | Charlotte Perriand Award | STIRworld
    Polis Station – axonometric drawing by Studio Gang Image: © Studio Gang

The award will be presented to Gang at the Créateurs Design Awards’ annual ceremony on January 21, 2023, in Paris. The evening will also include the presentation of the Andrée Putman Lifetime Achievement Award to the winner, Japanese architect and 1995 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, Tadao Ando.

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