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4 Female Powerhouses That Have Dominated Malaysia’s Architectural Ecosystem

Datuk Tan Pei Ing

Dubbed the 'Iron Lady of Architecture' in Malaysia, Datuk Tan Pei Ing has been spearheading the charge for female architects in Malaysia for more than a decade, having established her own practice, PI Architects, in 1989.

Since then, her career has seen her work on a slew of high-level projects ranging from shopping malls to commercial and residential developments—the most recent being IOI City Mall—that goes to show her dedication to the industry. She has been a Member of the Board of Architects where since 2001 and was the first female head of the Malaysian Institute of Architects.

Serina Hijjas

As the daughter of renowned Malaysian architect, Hijjas Kasturi, Serina Hijjas has the love of architecture written in her blood. A graduate from London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, Serina has taken the male-dominated industry by storm as the foremost pioneer for energy conscious and sustainable design in Malaysia.

Coming into her own at Hijjas Architects and Planners, founded by her father, she has been responsible for projects such as the Telekom Tower (TM Tower) and Heriot-Watt University Malaysia located in Putrajaya, leading the firm to drive for a greener future through bold ideas.

Eleena Jamil

Penang native Eleena Jamil has been heralded as a visionary in the field for her contemporary approach to local architecture that proves that bigger isn't always better, blending cultural touchpoints with modern design.

Under her leadership, Eleena Jamil Architect (EJA), founded in 2005, has created quite a reputation for itself as one of the nation's leading architectural firms and has only been growing over the years, boasting an internationally awarded portfolio of work.

Lillian Tay

The Vice President of VERITAS Design Group, Lillian Tay has long been on the pursuit of growing the local architectural community by providing them with the opportunities to flourish, a goal she carried with her even during her time as the President of Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) and advocated for the conservation of urban architectural heritage as a Council Member of the Heritage Trust of Malaysia.

Having joined VERITAS in 2005, she takes lead of the firm's design team where she was responsible for the development of the most notable projects in Kuala Lumpur including W Hotel, One Sentral and Menara Binjai.


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