Irish architecture practice O'Donnell + Tuomey were presented with the prestigious RIBA Gold Medal for 2015 during a ceremony at the institute's headquarters in London last night. This makes the Dublin and Cork based practice directors, Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey, two of the youngest recipients ever to be part of the honour and some of the few Irish ones to have done so.
The inspiring studio - originally founded in Dublin in 1988 - has completed a wide array of impressive buildings in Ireland and the UK. All of them maintain a strong relationship to their context, while their sculptural forms subtly allow them to stand out. Their calm, yet expressive nature is one of their defining characteristics. The practice aims to balance landscape, formal composition and interior architecture; its designs always informed by the outside, as well as previous projects and experiences. 'Ideas and methods pile up,' said O'Donnell at Monday's RIBA Gold Medal Lecture. 'Nothing is wasted.'
Highlights of the practice's work range from the recent LSE Saw Swee Hock Student Centre and The Photographers' Gallery, both in London, to the Irish Language Cultural Centre in Derry and several private houses in the partners' home country.
O'Donnell + Tuomey are in good company. The medal has been given out in recognition of a lifetime's work to a fantastic group of well known architects and previous medal winners that include Le Corbusier (1953 and Toyo Ito (2006), Herzog and de Meuron (2007) and Peter Zumthor (2013). The 2014 recipient was architect, critic, historian and writer Joseph Rykwert.