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Grafton scoops Venice silver lion prize

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Dublin-based Grafton Architects has won the prize for most promising practice at the Venice Biennale

The silver lion award was given in recognition of the studio’s exhibition focussing on the Peruvian capital where it won a job to design a new university campus.

Grafton’s contribution to the international architecture festival (pictured) featured comparative sketches of Ireland’s abandoned Skellig Michael monastery and Peru’s mountain-top Machu Picchu ruins.

Also included were representations of Mendes da Rocha’s Serra Dourada football stadium in Brazil and models made in collaboration with sculptor Eileen Mac Donagh.

The judges’ citation praised the installation for its ‘impressive presentation of a new University campus in Lima, connecting to the ideas of Paulo Mendes da Rocha.’

It said: ‘The jury believes that the conceptual and spatial qualities of this installation demonstrate the considerable potential of this architectural practice in reimagining the urban landscape.’

Jimmy Deenihan, Ireland’s minister for arts, heritage and the gaeltacht, said: ‘I congratulate Grafton Architects on winning the prestigious Silver Lion Award. This is a remarkable achievement and will highlight the dynamism and creativity of Irish architecture worldwide.’

Culture Ireland chief executive Christine Sisk added: ‘Culture Ireland is delighted that Grafton Architects has received the Silver Lion Award for their fantastic presentation in Venice which they so deserve and which reflects the strong regard for Irish architecture globally.

‘This presentation along with the Heneghan Peng and O’Donnell Tuomey exhibitions gave an outstanding sense of contemporary Irish architecture at this important international showcase.’

This year’s Irish Pavilion at Venice was curated by John McLaughlin and was conceived by Heneghan Peng.

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