Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara win 2020 Pritzker Prize

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara win 2020 Pritzker Prize

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Dublin-based architecture practice Grafton have been awarded the prestigious 2020 Pritzker Prize for their high quality, site-specific work

Grafton’s Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have been announced as the winners of the prestigious Pritzker Prize for architecture for 2020. The award, which is given annually to an outstanding individual or partnership in the field, is widely considered to be architecture’s highest honour. 

The pair, who has completed a wide range of projects, from cultural spaces to commercial offices, and a range of education facilities – of which they have revealed a number of critically acclaimed ones in the last ten years especially – started their joint studio in Dublin in 1978, over 40 years ago.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have worked together for 40 years

They have since delivered numerous architectural commissions, curated the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, entitled ‘Freespace’, as well as winning numerous awards along the way; more recently scooping the coveted RIBA Gold Medal 2020. 

The jury – made up of eight experts in the field, including past winners Wang Shu and Kazuyo Sejima – was particularly impressed by the pair’s high quality of work, which features a strong sense of consistency and service to humanity, as well as their considerate and site-specific approach.

‘Their approach to architecture is always honest, revealing an understanding of the processes of design and construction from large scale structures to the smallest details,’ the jury citation mentions. ‘It is often in these details, especially in buildings with modest budgets, where a big impact can be felt.’

Farrell and McNamara are the 47th and 48th laureates of the Prize, as well as the first ever recipients from Ireland. §

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