Female Irish duo win Pritzker Prize

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara from Ireland’s Grafton Architects have won the 2020 Pritzker Prize, described as "architecture’s highest honour".

The pair established Grafton Architects in 1978 in Dublin, with the Pritzker Prize’s jury citing several seminal projects for their win:

University Campus UTEC Lima (Iwan Baan)

University Campus UTEC Lima in Peru: Located between a sunken highway and a residential neighbourhood, the vertical cascading building contains open spaces for the ocean breeze reducing the need for air conditioning.

Offices for the Department of Finance (Dennis Gilbert)

Offices for the Department of Finance in Dublin: Clad in local limestone, the windows of the property contain grills to circulate air throughout and offer panoramic views of Dublin, unlike many other of the city’s buildings.

Universita Luigi Bocconi Milan (Federico Brunetti)

Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan: Which aims to link faculty staff with the city and its occupants

Université Toulouse 1 Capitole’s School of Economics (Dennis Gilbert)

Université Toulouse 1 Capitole’s School of Economics: Featuring brick buttresses, ramps and courtyards, which are metaphors for the city’s bridges, walls, promenades and stone towers.

McNamara says: "Architecture is a framework for human life. It anchors us and connects us to the world in a way which possibly no other space-making discipline can.

Farrell says: "At the core of our practice is a real belief that architecture matters. It is a cultural spatial phenomenon that people invent."

Farrell and McNamara are the 47th and 48th Laureates of the Pritzker Prize, the first two Irish recipients, and the fourth and fifth women.

The Pritzker Prize’s jury citation, says: "The collaboration between Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara represents a veritable interconnectedness between equal counterparts.

"They demonstrate incredible strength in their architecture, show deep relation to the local situation in all regards, establish different responses to each commission while maintaining the honesty of their work, and exceed the requirements of the field through responsibility and community."

In 2019. the Pritzker Prize went to Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, in 2018, Balkrishna Doshi won the award at the age of 90, and in 2017, the prize went to RCR Arquitectes, three architects based in Catalonia.

Top image: Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (Alice Clancy)

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