Blueprint Award for Critical Thinking 2018
Winner: Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara
Image Credit: Jess Lowe
Nominated by our Judges, voted for by Blueprint readers
Architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are the founding partners of Grafton Architects in Dublin and were the joint curators of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.
The pair graduated from University College Dublin, where they later taught from 1976 to 2000 and became adjunct professors in 2015. They have held the Kenzo Tange chair at Harvard GSD and the Louis Kahn chair at Yale University and have been visiting professors at EPFL, Lausanne, and Accademia d’Architettura, Mendrisio, where they were appointed as full professors in 2013. They have been external examiners at numerous universities including The University of Cambridge and The Cass, London Metropolitan University.
Founded in 1978, Grafton Architects is a multi-award-winning practice, with completed buildings around the world, from Lima to Limerick. The practice is particularly strong in the education sector, with stand-out buildings including the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan (2008) and University Campus for Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología, in Lima (2015).
The building in Peru formed a significant part of their exploration of the theme of Common Ground, which they investigated as part of David Chipperfield’s Venice Biennale in 2012. This year Farrell and McNamara took on the full role of Biennale curators themselves, imposing the theme of Freespace on the event jointly describing it thus: ‘Freespace describes a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture’s agenda, focusing on the quality of space itself.’
Grafton Architects is currently working on a number of high-profile projects including the new Marshall Building for the London School of Economics, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the new School of Economics for University Toulouse and The New City Library in their hometown of Dublin.
Liz Diller, Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Grafton Architects
Category sponsored by Turkish Ceramics