Pritzker Architecture Prize 2020 Winner, Grafton Architects Awarded, Architects, News

Pritzker Architecture Prize 2020 Winner News

Grafton Architects Wins International Architecture Award News

Sep 30, 2020

Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate 2020 Ceremony

2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize Special 2020 Ceremony Video

The Pritzker Architecture Prize announces the release of a special video to honor 2020 Laureates, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, airing on October 6, 2020 at 10am EST, viewable on the website,

The video, produced in lieu of an in-person ceremony for the first time in the 42-year history of the award, discusses the meaning of the Prize, reveals the Laureates’ intimate reflections on architecture, and includes a personal message to embolden aspiring architects. The pair of Irish architects run Grafton Architects in Dubln.

“This is a time for new and agile thinking, not only about every space that we touch, but also for new thinking about our relationship with each other,” observes Tom Pritzker, Chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award. “It’s fitting, therefore, that this year’s Laureates, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, have first and foremost demonstrated that friendship, socialization and partnership are the wellspring for the humane ideals to which their built work is dedicated.”

Created as a documentary-style archival piece and featuring full remarks from the Laureates; Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland; Tom Pritzker; Justice Stephen Breyer, Jury Chair; and Martha Thorne, Executive Director; the video includes elements of a traditional Prize ceremony, while offering never-before-seen footage of the Laureates and photographs of their work.

Ms. Farrell articulates, “Architecture is an ancient art, which needs each of us to continue and transform it.” She later continues, “Each place on earth is unique. Celebrate that fact. Being an architect means that you add to the crust of this fragile planet.”

While gathering in physically meaningful locations reflects the history of past ceremonies, this year’s participants deliver speeches remotely, inviting viewers into public and private locations around the world including the Long Room, the main chamber of the Old Library at Trinity College Dublin, which was established in 1592; the State Reception Room in Dublin, founded in 1802 and used ceremoniously to welcome visiting Heads of State and appoint members of government, judges and foreign ambassadors within Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the President of Ireland since 1938; and Palacio de Liria in Madrid, built in the 18th century and with 20th century reforms by Edwin Lutyens.

Speaking from the Long Room, Ms. McNamara reveals, “Standing here almost alone in this room, celebrating this wonderful honor of the Pritzker Prize, with no audience, brings to mind the empty stage of a Samuel Beckett play. But of course, we are not alone. We are in a space which holds time, and knowledge, and treasures of the mind. We can feel the presences of all the great people who passed through this great space. We chose this room so that we could celebrate the power of architecture here in our own city. So that we would feel part of a bigger order, which of course is one of the functions of architecture.”

Past ceremonies have been held in sixteen countries on four continents, spanning North and South America to Europe to the Middle East to Far East Asia, at architecturally and historically significant venues throughout the world including UNESCO World Heritage sites, palaces, Heads of State residences and unfinished or new buildings. Each location pays homage to the architecture of other eras and/or works by previous Laureates of the Prize.

Ms. Farrell and Ms. McNamara are the 47th and 48th Laureates of the Pritzker Prize, and the first two Irish citizens to be awarded the distinction.

Mar 3, 2020

Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate 2020 Winner

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara Receive the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize

March 3rd, 2020, Chicago, IL, USA – Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Dublin, Ireland, have been selected as the 2020 Pritzker Prize Laureates, announced Tom Pritzker, Chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, which sponsors the award that is known internationally as architecture’s highest honor.

“Architecture could be described as one of the most complex and important cultural activities on the planet,” remarks Farrell. “To be an architect is an enormous privilege. To win this prize is a wonderful endorsement of our belief in architecture. Thank you for this great honor.”

The University of Engineering Campus (UTEC) in Lima, Peru, won the RIBA International Prize 2016:
Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia
photograph : Iwan Baan
Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia UTEC Lima

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.

“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,” states the 2020 Jury Citation, in part.

“Within the ethos of a practice such as ours, we have so often struggled to find space for the implementation of such values as humanism, craft, generosity, and cultural connection with each place and context within which we work. It is therefore extremely gratifying that this recognition is bestowed upon us and our practice and upon the body of work we have managed to produce over a long number of years,” says McNamara. “It is also a wonderful recognition of the ambition and vision of the clients who commissioned us and enabled us to bring our buildings to fruition.”

Their native Ireland, an island replete with mountains and cliffs, informs their acute sensitivities to geography, changing climates and nature in each of their sites. Their buildings consistently remain purposefully rich, yet modest, enhancing cities and lending to sustainability while responding to local needs. University Campus UTEC Lima (Lima, Peru 2015) is located on a challenging site with a highway sunk in a ravine on one side and a residential neighborhood on the other.

The result is a vertical and cascading building responding to both site and climatic needs. Its open spaces were designed to deliberately welcome cooling breezes of the ocean and minimize the need for air-conditioning. At the Offices for the Department of Finance (Dublin, Ireland 2009), the selection of local limestone used in thick panels grants strength to the building. Windows recessed or flush with the façade have grills below them to circulate fresh air throughout the building. Exposures on all sides of the building, atypical of the architecture in this city, offer panoramic views.

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. “What we try to do in our work is to be aware of the various levels of citizenship and try to find an architecture that deals with overlap, that heightens your relationship to one another,” illustrates Farrell.

Universita Luigi Bocconi (Milan, Italy 2008) fosters community between its occupants and the vibrant city that extends well beyond the vertical campus through its ground floor public space, which continues indoors, and its floating canopy that overlaps the ground below, engaging passersby with students. Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics (Toulouse, France 2019) is encased in concrete and stone that has been quarried from nearby Lake Iseo.

Its brick buttresses, ramps and courtyards are a metaphor for the city filled with bridges, walls, promenades and stone towers. North King Street Housing (Dublin, Ireland 2000) is intentionally void of external design elements to resonate with the restraint of the neighboring warehouses.

University Luigi Bocconi, Milan, Italy
Universita Luigi Bocconi Milan building by Grafton Architects
photo : Federico Brunetti
University Luigi Bocconi

“The collaboration between Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara represents a veritable interconnectedness between equal counterparts,” states Pritzker. “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.”

Farrell and McNamara have mastered proportion to maintain a human scale and achieve intimate environments within tall and vast buildings. “They have tried, with considerable success, to help us all overcome what is likely to evermore become a serious human problem,” explains Justice Stephen Breyer, Jury Chair. “Namely, how do we build housing and workplaces in a world with over half of its population dwelling in urban environments, and many of them who cannot afford luxury?”

A contoured theater floor at the Solstice Arts Centre (Navan, Ireland 2008) creates a physical nearness between audience members and performers. The generous placement of open spaces, windows, glass curtain walls and exposed ceilings allows natural light to filter through a passage of rooms, creating impressions of light through large and small spaces, and within the interlocking areas that compose Institut Mines Télécom in Palaiseau (Paris, France 2019).

University of Limerick Medical School and Pergola Bus Shelter, western Ireland
University of Limerick Medical School, Ireland building facade
photograph © Dennis Gilbert
University of Limerick Medical School

McNamara states, “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 continues, “At the core of our practice is a real belief that architecture matters. It is a cultural spatial phenomenon that people invent.”

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 are the 47th and 48th Laureates of the Pritzker Prize, and the first two recipients from Ireland.

Major Architecture Award for Grafton Architects

In February this Irish architecture practice was also announced as the RIBA Gold Medal for Architecture 2020 Winners.

Dublin-based architects practice Grafton Architects.

Pritzker Architecture Prize 2020 Winner images / information received 030320

Mar 5, 2019

Pritzker Architecture Prize 2019 Winner

Arata Isozaki Receives the 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Arata Isozaki, distinguished Japanese architect, city planner and theorist, has been selected as the 2019 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the award that is known internationally as architecture’s highest honor.

Arata Isozaki

Pritzker Prize

Pritzker Prize Architects : main page with current winner information

Location: Chicago, USA

Pritzker Architecture Prize – Past Winners

Pritzker Prize 2015 – Frei Otto selected as the 2015 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Ruta del Peregrino, Jalisco, Mexico – Alejandro Aravena (Elemental) Joint Project

Pritzker Architecture Prize Winner 2014
Shigeru Ban architect

A key building by this architect: Centre Pompidou-Metz, France:
Centre Pompidou-Metz in France
photo : Roland Halbe

Pritzker Architecture Prize Winner 2013
Toyo Ito Architect

Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture

Pritzker Architecture Prize Citation for 2013 – Toyo Ito

Pritzker Prize 2012 won by architect Wang Shu

Pritzker Prize 2012 winner : Wang Shu

Pritzker Prize 2011 won by architect Eduardo Souto de Moura

Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate 2011 : Citation from the Jury + The Jury + Eduardo Souto de Moura information

Pritzker Prize 2010 winner : Eduardo Souto de Moura

Pritzker Prize 2010 won by architects SANAA
SANAA, architects

Pritzker Prize 2009 won by architect Peter Zumthor
Peter Zumthor

Zaha Hadid architect : Pritzker Architecture Prize Jury member

SANAA, architects

Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate 2010 Citation + The Jury

Key Architecture Awards

Stirling Prize

Mies van der Rohe Awards

World Architecture Festival Awards

AR Awards for Emerging Architecture

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