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RIBA Gold Medal 2015 Winners

Irish Architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey Win Royal Institute of British Architects Award, England, UK

4 Feb 2015

The Winners of the Royal Gold Medal for architecture for 2015

Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey receives the 2015 Royal Gold Medal for architecture

The renowned Irish architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey have today received the 2015 Royal Gold Medal, the world’s most prestigious architecture award.

O’Donnell Tuomey - RIBA Gold Medal 2015 Architect Winners
photograph : Morley von Sternberg

Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey : Royal Gold Medal Winners

Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence “either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture”. Awarded since 1848, previous Royal Gold Medallists include Frank Gehry (2000), Sir Norman Foster (1983), Frank Lloyd Wright (1941) and Sir George Gilbert Scott (1859).

A tour de force in contemporary Irish and British architecture, Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey co-founded their practice O’Donnell and Tuomey in Dublin during 1988, having previously worked together for internationally renowned architects Stirling Wilford Associates and Colquhoun & Miller in London. Their new practice coupled Sheila’s quiet, studied ‘rationalism’ alongside John’s fluent, rhetorical ‘constructivism’ and through their buildings, publications, exhibitions and teaching they have forged a confident new identity for Irish architecture.

RIBA Gold Medal 2015
photograph : Morley von Sternberg

In the early 1990s, O’Donnell and Tuomey were part of the ‘Group 91 Architects’ group whose collective skill in masterplanning spearheaded the regeneration of Dublin’s neglected Temple Bar. It was the pair’s first permanent building, the Irish Film Institute (1991) that brought them profile and acclaim for its dynamic contribution to the revitalised Dublin quarter.

Their early work, from a private home in Navan to schools, public housing and community buildings, provided the canvas for them to experiment and evolve their unconventional creative approach and celebrated style. More recent projects include the modest but brilliant Photographers’ Gallery in Soho and the exceptional 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize-shortlisted Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics.

Speaking when it was announced they would receive architecture’s highest honor, Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey said:

“We’re delighted to have been chosen for this unexpected honour. We’re humbled to find ourselves in such a company of heroes, architects whose work we have studied and from whose example we continue to learn. We believe in the social value and the poetic purpose of architecture and the gold medal encourages us to prevail in this most privileged and complicated career.”

RIBA Gold Medal 2015
photograph : Morley von Sternberg

RIBA President Stephen Hodder said:

“O’Donnell + Tuomey’s work is always inventive – striking yet so well considered, particular to its place and brief, beautifully crafted – and ever developing. It is an absolute joy and inspiration to hear them describe their work, and always a delight to experience one of their buildings. Sheila and John are at the vanguard of contemporary Irish architecture and I am delighted they are to receive this lifetime honour.”

O’Donnell + Tuomey have been shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize a record five times, in 1999 for Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School (Dublin, Ireland), 2005 for the Lewis Glucksman Gallery (Cork, Ireland), 2011 for An Gaeláras Irish Language Arts and Cultural Centre (Derry, Northern Ireland) and 2012 for Lyric Theatre (Belfast, Northern Ireland) and in 2014 for the London School of Economics Saw Swee Hock Students’ Centre (London, UK).

They have exhibited three times at the Venice Architecture Biennale and are both alumni of the School of Architecture at University College Dublin where they continue to teach and inspire the next generation of architects.

Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey was presented with the 2015 Royal Gold Medal at a special event at the RIBA at 66 Portland Place, London W1.

Riba Gold Medal 2015
photograph : Morley von Sternberg

RIBA Gold Medal 2015 Winners information from RIBA

Location: RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London W1, UK

Royal Gold Medal for architecture

RIBA Gold Medal 2015 : O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects

Peter Zumthor to receive the Royal Gold Medal for architecture

Peter Zumthor
Peter Zumthor
photograph : Gerry Ebner

RIBA Gold Medal 2013 : further information – the full citation

RIBA Gold Medal 2012 : Herman Hertzberger

RIBA Gold Medal 2011 : David Chipperfield

RIBA Gold Medal 2010 : I M Pei

RIBA Gold Medal 2009 : Alvaro Siza

RIBA Gold Medal 2008

RIBA Awards

RIBA Stirling Prize
photo : Roland Halbe

Comments / photos for the RIBA Gold Medal 2015 Architect Winners page welcome

Website : Royal Gold Medal 2014 Winner