Jane Drew: An Introduction

British architect Jane Drew was a woman rather ahead of her time.

Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry with model

Source: RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry with model

One of the leading champions of the Modernism Movement in architecture in London, she was also notable in that when forming her first office, she did so with the idea of employing only female architects in what was – and perhaps still is – a male dominated profession.

Remembered as an ally of luminaries such as Eduardo Paolozzi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, Drew began her career designing ergonomic kitchens, going on to design buildings internationally, as far afield as India, Iran and Nigeria.

Higher Secondary School, Sector 23, Chandigarh

Source: RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Higher Secondary School, Sector 23, Chandigarh

A forthcoming show at London’s ICA will look to explore her life and work through a series of beautiful photographs.

It’s a fitting home for the exhibition: Drew can be credited for securing the premises of the ICA (both at Dover Street in 1950 and The Mall in 1968) where she with others collectively re-designed the interiors, including the fittings and furniture.

In-keeping with the company she kept, Drew saw contemporary art as a crucial element in her designs, commissioning artworks as integral parts of her building projects, which included social housing and public infrastructure in London.

Jane Drew in Chandigarh

Source: RIBA Library Photographs Collection

Jane Drew in Chandigarh

During the 1950s she worked with her husband Maxwell Fry at their practice Fry & Drew, working on projects including designing low-income housing in Chandigarh, northern India.

Jane Drew (1911-1996): An Introduction runs from 12 February ­ 22 March at the Fox Reading Room, Institute of Contemporary Arts
The Mall, London, SW1Y

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