Architect Farshid Moussavi Collects Medal from Prince Charles, Designs for Harrods

Iranian-born British architect Farshid Moussavi, who was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) honor by the Queen last year, has joined the jury for the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture in 2020.

Her architecture firm, Farshid Moussavi Architecture (FMA), recently completed the redesign of the Harrods department store.

She received her OBE honor — in recognition of her services to architecture — from the hands of the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, in a ceremony last month.

“I am truly honored to receive an OBE from the Queen for Services to Architecture,” wrote Moussavi on her Instagram page.  “I am delighted that architecture is recognized and celebrated as a service to the nation.”

Moussavi is an internationally acclaimed British architect and Professor in Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.  She moved to the United Kingdom in 1979, where she trained in architecture at the University of Dundee and University College London before graduating with a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Prior to co-founding Foreign Office Architects in London, she worked with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Genoa and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam.

Moussavi first came to prominence in 1995, when together with her then husband and business partner, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, both aged about 30 at the time, they won the competition to design the Osanbashi Yokohama International Passenger Terminal in Japan, which went on to become one of their most critically acclaimed and award-winning international projects. Together, they founded Foreign Office Architects, in reference to her Iranian origins, his Spanish origins and the fact that they were working in London on a project in Japan.

[aesop_image img=”” panorama=”off” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”Farshid Moussavi. Photograph: David Parry
” captionposition=”center” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

Other projects she co-authored at FOA included the Spanish Pavilion at the 2005 Aichi International Expo in Japan; the John Lewis Department Store and Cineplex in Leicester; the Coastal Park with outdoor auditoriums in Barcelona, the Carabanchel Social Housing in Madrid; the Bluemoon Hotel in Groningen; and the Meydan Retail Complex in Istanbul.  FOA received several awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects, as well as the 2004 Venice Architecture Biennale Award and the Kanagawa Prize for Architecture in Japan in 2003.

Following her breakup with her then husband and business partner, Moussavi re-established her practice in her own name, Farshid Moussavi Architects (FMA) in 2011.  FMA completed the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, Ohio in 2012 and Victoria Beckham’s flagship store in London’s Mayfair in 2014.   Other projects include the Ilot 19 residential complex next to the Grande Arche in the La Defense district of Paris, as well as the La Folie Divine Residential Complex in Montpellier, and the 130 Fenchurch Street Office Complex in the City of London.

Moussavi was elected a Royal Academician in 2015. Two years later, she curated an architecture room at the Summer Exhibition there, and gave an interview to Kayhan Life.

Asked where she saw herself in 10 years’ time, she said: “I never make long-terms plans. But of course I would like to make lots of great buildings, and that doesn’t mean big buildings.”

Moussavi has been a visiting professor at UCLA, Columbia, and Princeton universities as well as at several architecture schools in Europe. She was Chair of Master Jury of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004, and served as member of the Award’s Steering Committee until 2015.  Moussavi is a member of the Board of Trustees of both the Whitechapel Gallery and the Architecture Foundation in London and the author of three books based on her research and teaching at Harvard.