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

Universita Luigi Bocconi (2008)
Universita Luigi Bocconi (2008).
(Image credit: Federico Brunetti)

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

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have worked together for 40 years

(Image credit: press)

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.

Loreto Community School

Loreto Community School (2006).

(Image credit: Ros Kavanagh)

Institut Mines Télécom 2019

Institut Mines Télécom, Paris (2019).

(Image credit: Alexandre Soria)

Offices for the Department of Finance

Offices for the Department of Finance, Dublin (2009).

(Image credit: Dennis Gilbert)

Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics

Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics (2019).

(Image credit: Dennis Gilbert)

Town House Building, Kingston University 2019

Town House Building, Kingston University (2019).

(Image credit: Dennis Gilbert)

Urban Institute of Ireland

Urban Institute of Ireland (2002).

(Image credit: Ros Kavanagh)

University Campus UTEC Lima

University Campus UTEC Lima (2015).

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)



Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).