Pritzker Prize to Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara: the second "Nobel of Architecture" at USI Academy of Architecture
Institutional Communication Service
4 March 2020
This year, architecture's highest honour, the Pritzker Prize, has been granted to Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, the co-founders of Grafton Architects and Full Professors of “Architecture Design” at USI Academy of Architecture. It is the second “Noble of Architecture” at the Academy after the one awarded to Peter Zumthor in 2009. This represents further evidence of the leading role that the Academy plays in the global landscape of schools of architecture and the high level of its educational offering.
As stated yesterday by the jury, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara received the award 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”.
“The Academy is honoured to have Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara as part of our teaching staff and that such talented professionals have chosen to be a part of our educational programme. Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are not only exceptionally talented architects, but also people and teachers who show all their passion and generosity to our students, or rather our future architects, as Yvonne and Shelley like to address them. I am really impressed by their commitment and by their approach to the teaching curricula. They teach, but they also learn from their experience in class, and talk about their academic activities fondly also on many important occasions such as the awarding of the RIBA Gold Medal” observes USI Academy of Architecture Director Riccardo Blumer.
The fact that the "Nobel Prize for Architecture" has been awarded for the second time to professionals that are also active members of the Faculty staff at the USI Academy of Architecture “it represents a further recognition of the high level of our teaching method. A method that is solid and consistent in its choices, which for over twenty years has allowed young students to come into direct contact with leading names in architecture", comments USI Rector Boas Erez. "We are really happy to see our University grow. This new prestigious international recognition is a further incentive to strive for improvement and furthers our belief that USI is truly a project in which to believe and invest, for the benefit of the entire region".
The Pritzker Prize
The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually "to honour 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". Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the award is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation. The recipients receive a prize of 100,000 USD.
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara join a list of laureates that includes, among others, names such as Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano and the Swiss Peter Zumthor - former professor at the USI Academy of Architecture, (2009 laureate) -, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. The co-founders of Grafton Architects are the fourth and fifth women to win the award after Zaha Hadid in 2004, Kazuyo Sejima in 2010 (with Ryue Nishizawa) and Carme Pigem in 2017 (with Rafael Aranda and Ramon Vilalta).
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have designed and built numerous schools and buildings for institutions and universities, especially in Ireland - including the Dunshaughlin Civic Offices, Dublin City University offices, Parson's Building, the Trinity College in Dublin, the Government Department for the Office of Public Works in Dublin - while in Italy they have built the new building of Bocconi University in Milan and in Peru the campus of the UTEC - Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología in Lima. In the past they have won numerous international competitions including: Toulouse School of Economics; Kingston University Town House; Institute Mines Telecom Campus, Paris-Saclay. Together with Shaffrey Associates they won the competition for the new Dublin Library and were chosen to design the new faculty of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in Holborn, London. In 2018 they were appointed as 2018 co-curators for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia and in 2019 they received the RIBA Gold Medal, the highest award for architecture in the UK, personally approved by the Queen.
More information: https://www.pritzkerprize.com/laureates/2020