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O'Donnell + Tuomey

O’Donnell + Tuomey

O'Donnell and Tuomey win RIBA Gold Medal

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Irish architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey have won the 2015 RIBA Royal Gold Medal in recognition of their lifetime’s work

The pair, described by the RIBA as a ‘tour de force’ in contemporary architecture, join the likes of Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto and Mies van der Rohe to have been handed the prestigious award.

The Dublin-based married couple founded their practice O’Donnell + Tuomey in 1988 having worked for Stirling Wilford Associates and Colquhoun & Miller in London.

Among the practice’s most recent work is the ‘brilliant’ Photographers’ Gallery in Soho and the ‘exceptional’ Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics (LSE) which the architects hope will give them their first Stirling Prize victory.  The practice has had five buildings shortlisted for the award since 1999 but has so far missed out on the top prize.

Its ‘startlingly original’ brick building at the LSE, however, is currently the bookmakers’ runaway favourite at 11/8.   

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.’

The two architects, who are both in their early sixties are among the youngest recipients of the Medal, were nominated by Niall McLaughlin and 2014 Royal Gold Medallist Joseph Rykwert.

McLaughlin and Rykwert praised O’Donnell and Tuomey’s wider contribution to ‘architecture’ beyond their buildings.

The citation reads: ‘They are, of course builders first of all: but they are writers and teachers as well as professionals, active through the Architectural Association of Ireland in whose recent revival they were instrumental, so that their presence on the Irish scene is a powerful one, and their influence as teachers and writers has been extremely important.’

O’Donnell and Tuomey will be the third husband and wife team to receive the Royal Gold Medal following on from Charles and Ray Eames in 1979 and Michael and Patty Hopkins in 1994 when they collect the award in February.

The accolade is approved personally by the Queen and is given each year to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence ‘either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture’.

O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects’ Stirling Prize-shortlisted projects

Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, LSE

O'Donnell + Tuomey's Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics

Shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014

Lyric Theatre

O'Donnell + Tuomey's Lyric Theatre

Shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2012

An Gaelaras Irish Language Arts and Cultural Centre

O'Donnell + Tuomey's An Gaelaras

Shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2011

Lewis Glucksman Gallery

O'Donnell + Tuomey's Lewis Glucksman Gallery

Shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2005

Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School

O'Donnell + Tuomey's Ranelagh Multi-denominational School

Shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 1999

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