The Poetic, Humanistic Architecture of Lina Ghotmeh
As far as architecture career paths go, Lina Ghotmeh’s is a bit of an anomaly. In 2005, at age 25, while working in London with the firms Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Foster + Partners, she moonlighted with two other young architects, Dan Dorell and Tsuyoshi Tane, to swiftly put together a competition entry for the Estonian National Museum. To their surprise and delight, their proposal won. (The success led the three to form a firm, DGT Architects.) Most architects can only dream of such a project, and very few begin with a commission of that scale or stature: Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, with the Pompidou Center in Paris, completed in 1977 when they were 34 and 38, respectively, is one rare exception; Maya Lin, who won with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1981 when she was just 21, is another. Shortly after finishing construction in 2016, the 364,000-square-foot Estonian National Museum, with its elegant, gently sloping roof and radical, metaphorical form, received the Grand Prix Afex, a prestigious French architecture prize. Around that time—project complete—Dorell, Tane, and Ghotmeh shuttered DGT and each took off in new directions.