Leaders, innovators, activists, educators—the 2020 winners of RECORD's Women in Architecture Awards represent the best of the profession. Now in its seventh year, the program recognizes and promotes women who demonstrate a commitment to excellence both in their work and in the world.

Design Leader: Julie Eizenberg, FAIA

Julie Eizenberg, FAIA, photo courtesy Koning Eizenberg Architecture

A founding principal of Koning Eizenberg Architecture in Los Angeles, Julie Eizen­berg has given visibility to the design value and potential of community projects and people-oriented practice. With found­ing partner Hank Koning, Eizenberg received the AIA Los Angeles Gold Medal in 2012 and the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 2019. Notable projects include the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 28th Street Apartments (record, March 2013), and the Pico Branch Library and Geffen Academy. A teacher and lecturer, she holds an honorary Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of Melbourne.

New Generation Leader: Stella Betts

Stella Betts, photo courtesy LEVENBETTS

LEVENBETTS principal Stella Betts founded her New York–based firm with her partner, David Leven, in 1997. An adjunct professor at Yale University School of Architec­ture, Betts has previously taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Cornell University School of Architecture, Art, and Planning; Cooper Union, Parsons School of Design at the New School, and Syracuse University. She holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard Univer­sity’s Graduate School of Design, and a Bach­elor of Arts from Connecticut College. Her office—a 2007 Architectural Record Design Vanguard—is working on its fifth public library in New York as well as a Life Sciences Building in Manhattan and several single-family homes in upstate New York. Betts serves on the board of directors of the Arch­itectural League of New York.

Activist: Kimberly Dowdell

Kimberly Dowdell, photo courtesy HOK

The 2019–20 president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), Kimberly Dowdell is a licensed architect and frequent speaker on the topic of architecture, diversity, sustainability, and the future of cities, whose overarching mission is to improve the quality of life for people living in urban areas. Her career aspirations are rooted in her upbringing in Detroit, where she was initially driven to utilize architecture as a tool to revitalize cities. With the staff and board of directors of NOMA, Dowdell is working to increase the opportunities for women and for people of color to gain more equitable access to the design profession. A LEED-accredited professional, she holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and Master in Public Administration from Harvard University. Dowdell is a principal in the global design firm HOK’s Chicago office.

Innovator: Lisa Gray, FAIA

Lisa Gray, photo © Joyce George

A founding principal of Gray Organschi Architecture in New Haven, Connecticut, Lisa Gray’s work focuses on regenerative building. Ongoing research initiatives at the practice explore the potential of renewable, bio-based building materials and circular-economic construction techniques, to transform the built environment from a significant source of greenhouse-gas emissions into a powerful tool to mitigate climate change. Recent built work includes Common Ground High School, the Ecological Living Module, the Henry David Thoreau footbridge, and the Mill River Carousel pavilion. Gray is a frequent instructor and lecturer at Yale Univer­sity, where she has served as the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor of Archi­tecture. She and partner Alan Organ­schi received an architecture award from the Amer­i­can Academy of Arts and Letters. Gray holds a Master of Architecture from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Architecture from Yale College.

Educator: Monica Ponce de Leon

Monica Ponce de Leon, photo © MPdL Studio

Founding principal of MPdL Studio, Monica Ponce de Leon became dean of the Princeton Uni­ver­sity School of Architecture in 2016, where she is also a professor. As dean and educator, Ponce de Leon has spent her career focused on diversifying the profession; linking research, pedagogy and practice; and increasing access to technology. From 2008 to 2015, she served as dean of Taubman College at the University of Michigan, and taught at the Harvard Grad­uate School of Design prior to that. She has been honored with the Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Award in architecture and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ academic award in architecture, and she was named a USA Target Fellow in Architecture and Design by United States Artists. In 2016, Ponce de Leon was inducted into the National Academy of Design. 

The winners were chosen by an independent jury: Tomas Rossant, design partner, Ennead Architects; Jing Liu, principal, SO – IL; Claire Weisz, FAIA, principal-in-charge, WXY; and John King, urban design critic, San Francisco Chronicle.

The awards will be conferred during ­RECORD's virtual Women in Architecture forum on Thursday, October 29, 2020, at 5 p.m. EDT.