French architect Elizabeth de Portzamparc was born in Brazil and practiced conceptual art in Rio de Janeiro from an early age. In 1970, she started studying urban sociology in Paris, then continued with an urban planning course. In 1977, she founded the Urban Public Participative Studio in the arrondissement of Antony, near Paris. She met her husband Christian in 1981. Together, they have two children.
In 1984, as part of the French government’s construction program, she founded the first intermunicipal urban planning office. She continued her activities on urban design during the ‘90s, working on stations along the Bordeaux metropolitan tramway network in 1997, as well as undertaking many architectural projects and some prefabrication experiments for emergency housing.
Always concerned with social and environmental issues, Ms. de Portzamparc created a sustainable and multidisciplinary workshop 20 years ago, leading experiments to provide solutions to climate issues. She defined the principles that would apply to all her projects, which she called the ‘New Architecture’: a creative process aiming to develop a global vision for architecture, which was much broader than the traditional approach.
She is regularly invited to speak at major architectural events, such as the 2021 International Union of Architects World Congress, the 2020 Milan Triennial and the 2021 Beijing Urban and Architectural Biennale.
Ms. de Portzamparc recently received the Royal Institute of British Architects prize for “Living in the Leaves,” a manifesto against deforestation in Huizhou, China.
In 2022, she was designated a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the French government and was named architect of the year in Rio de Janeiro by the Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil, in recognition of her experiments and architectural work in a pioneering country of sustainable architecture.