Rahel Shawl was born and educated in Ethiopia. She co-founded Abba Architects in 1992 and founded Raas Architects in 2004. Her list of projects in local contexts, as well as international collaborative work, is extensive. She has designed and executed using both traditional and contemporary architectural approaches that are true to the environment and its users. Rahel Shawl received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007 for her work as architect of record on the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Addis Ababa; the AEA best Architecture Piece Award in 2017 for her collaborative works on the South African Embassy in Addis Ababa; the Abyssinia Award for Social Engagement in the fields of Architecture and Engineering in 2017; the Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2017; and various commendations of her work from the Association of Ethiopian Architects.

As an Ethiopian architect working in a complex ecosystem in Ethiopia, Rahel Shawl strongly advocates for the leading role that architects have to impact positively the construction sector, thereby assuring the health and wellbeing of communities, cities and the built environment. Based on positive engagement and examples of her design works and social interests, she manages to sustain an architecture firm based on the values of good practice and youth empowerment. Her firm is engaged in areas of design thinking where aspects of home, place and identity are all important. It also engages with young people to promote and share knowledge of architecture and advocate for equity in design practices.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture
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Rahel Shawl
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