Regional Book Launch – 100 Women: Architects in Practice

Join us for the Middle East launch of the publication 100 Women: Architects in Practice in collaboration with the RIBA GULF Chapter.

The past decade has witnessed an increased awareness in the need for gender balance in architecture–a field in which women remain underrepresented, underpromoted and underpaid. This publication from the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), underscores, acknowledges and celebrates women’s contribution to the built environment. Authored by Professor Harriet Harriss, academics and writers Naomi House and Monika Parrinder and journalist Tom Ravenscroft, 100 Women: Architects in Practice is a rich, diverse, and fascinating survey of exceptional women architects currently making their mark in the architectural world.

After a short video presentation on the book by the authors, speakers comprising leading practitioners and industry voices will present their individual experiences. Later, as a panel, they will discuss the importance and enduring relevance of this publication and of women in the built environment in the years to come. Convened by UAE-based architect  Sandra Woodall, UAE Country Representative: RIBA GULF Chapter Committee, the event features architects Sumaya Dabbagh, Shahira Fahmy, Takbir Fatima, and Farah Naz, with a panel moderated by Prof. Dr. Gisela Löhlein.

As design heroes, diversity and inclusion idols, and women from across the Middle East who are changing the face of our industry, the speakers will tell their own will discuss the importance of documenting and publishing the experiences of practicing women architects in the region, as well as the value of empowering each other for equality, future generations, and all women within the communities and societies in which we live and work. 

This is a hybrid event, taking place in person at Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai and also streamed online for attendees abroad.  A live link will be sent to registered online attendees on the week of the event.


6:30 pm –  Welcoming open remarks by the RIBA Gulf Chapter Chair and Art Jameel 

6:40 pm – Video introduction of the book by the authors

6:50 pm – Speaker presentations by architects Sumaya Dabbagh, Shahira Fahmy, Takbir Fatima, and Farah Naz

7:30 pm – Panel discussion and audience Q&A session, moderated by Prof. Dr. Gisela Löhlein

8:15 pm – Open time for networking with refreshments. Book copies available for purchase on location via Art Jameel Shop.


Sandra Woodall is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Society of Arts and the Academy of Urbanism who has lived and worked in the UAE for 30 years. She leads tangramMENA’s design studio who are recognised for the delivery of regional, award-winning social and critical infrastructure projects, and recognised as pioneers in Sustainability and Climate Tech. Outside of her professional practice, Sandra engages in writing, publishing, teaching, presenting, and advocating for sustainable design and urbanism across the Middle East region, whilst, working to mentor, sponsor, support and promote women in the industry. Sandra is the UAE Country Representative at the RIBA GULF Chapter Committee.

Sumaya Dabbagh is a Saudi architect educated in the UK. She founded Dabbagh Architects in 2008. The practice set out to create a timeless Architecture that enhances people’s lives. It addresses themes of identity, place and context through its contemporary and innovative approach to Architecture. Dabbagh Architects are renowned for their culturally sensitive, contextual designs. The Mleiha Archaeological Centre and the recently completed Gargash Mosque have been globally recognized with multiple awards. Al Ain Museum is currently in the making will be a further addition to a new emerging Architecture in the region being carved out by Dabbagh. 

Shahira Fahmy is an architect, urbanist, and creative researcher, who was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. She is the Founder and Principal of SFA, Shahira Fahmy Architects (2005) in Cairo, the same year she was awarded the Bibliotheca Alexandria Young Architect Award, and now splits her time between Cairo & London. She is a three-time recipient of Harvard’s post-doctoral fellowships for her ground-breaking and award-winning work: a LOEB fellow at the Graduate School of Design (2015); a Hutchins Fellow at W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (2016); and a Berkman Klein fellow at Harvard’s Law School, (also 2016). In 2019, she was a recipient of “Tamayouz Excellence Award, for the Near East and North Africa”.

Takbir Fatima is an architect, educator, and entrepreneur. She is the Director of the interdisciplinary design and experimental architecture studio, DesignAware, which she started as a student of the Design Research Lab at the Architectural Association, London. Takbir created the Fractals Workshop, a generative design and computation workshop, as well as the fabrication and construction initiative, BuildAware. She is Course Developer and Adjunct Faculty at the Boston Architectural College Takbir is an acclaimed and published designer, a TEDx speaker, and has delivered keynotes at Apple Dubai, SPACE10, UIA World Congress of Architects 2023 and the Indian Institute of Architects. 

Farah Naz is an award-winning climate change strategist, Zayed Inspirer and Authored Middle East Regions’ first books on NetZero titled “Net Zero City” and “Mission Zero”- a climate change book for children. She has 20 years’ experience in the built environment gained in the US, UK, Southeast Asia and most recently the Gulf Region. In 2024, Farah won the Most Influential Women of the year, 2024 award by Khaleej times & Filmfare MiddleEast, winner of Sustainability Consultant of the year award in 2023 and 2022. Farah has been steering sustainability and innovation agenda in the built environment across the Middle East. Her name is synonymous with implementable sustainability and energy strategies, and she has supported several iconic projects across the region. Farah is the Director of ESG and Innovation, Middle East and Africa, at AECOM Middle East.

Prof. Dr. Gisela Löhlein is a renowned academic executive administrator and a professor in architecture and design. Having held senior positions in academia in the USA, China, and the Middle East, where she taught, researched, and supervised students and faculty in the fields of architecture, engineering, and sustainability. Professor Gisela is an active board member of ICCC, where she advocates for sustainability, coordinates scholarship awards, and organizes student design competitions. She is driven by the mission of creating innovative and sustainable solutions for the built environment and the society. Professor Gisela has an extensive international portfolio where she has steered policy alignment, internal quality assurance initiatives, recruitment, retention, and business development serving as advisor to senior leaders, organisations, governments, and universities around the world on capacity building and internalisation bringing innovative and meaningful change to the future of higher education architecture and design.