Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara were awarded the 2020 Pritzker Prize. It is the first time that two female architects receive this prestigious prize. They make the 2nd and 3rd Pritzker awardees to have been graduated from UCD – University College Dublin, Ireland.
The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.
The pair established Grafton Architects in 1978 in Dublin, where they continue to practice and reside. In just over forty years, they have completed nearly as many projects, located in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Peru.
Farrell and McNamara have designed and built several schools and architectural works for institutions and universities. They have won many international competitions and awards.
Their buildings consistently remain purposefully rich, yet modest, enhancing cities and lending to sustainability while responding to local needs.
As architects and educators since the 1970s, Farrell and McNamara create spaces that are at once respectful and new, honoring history while demonstrating a mastery of the urban environment and craft of construction. Balancing strength and delicacy, and upholding a reverence of site specific contexts, their academic, civic and cultural institutions, as well as housing developments, result in modern and impactful works that never repeat or imitate, but are decidedly of their own architectural voice.
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 architects are continuously conscious of the dialogue between the internal and external, evidenced by the mingling of public and private spaces, and the meaningful selection and integrity of materials.
For their integrity in their approach to both their buildings, as well as the way they conduct their practice, their belief in collaboration, their generosity towards their colleagues, especially as evidenced in such events as the 2018 Venice Biennale, their unceasing commitment to excellence in architecture, their responsible attitude toward the environment, their ability to be cosmopolitan while embracing the uniqueness of each place in which they work, for all these reasons and more, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are awarded the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize.Pritzker Architecture Prize, Jury Citation