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Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara win Jane Drew Prize

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The fourth annual Jane Drew Prize has been awarded jointly to Grafton Architects co-founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara for their ‘massive influence’ on the architectural profession

The award, which has previously gone to Zaha Hadid (2012), Eva Jiricná (2013) and Kathryn Findlay (2014), was given to the Dublin-based duo in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the status of women in architecture.

The pair, who set up Grafton Architects in 1978, were described by the jury, which included Norman Foster and Patty Hopkins, as ‘extremely impressive and hardworking’.

The judges commented: ‘They are not afraid to speak in a language that is feminine yet they produce buildings which are robust and full of conviction.’

They added: ‘Grafton’s buildings are consistently high quality. Their approach is solid. They are business-savvy.’

Grafton Architects was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2013 for its scheme at the University of Limerick. It also picked up the World Building of the Year Award at the World Architecture Festival in 2008 for the School of Economics at Milan’s Università Luigi Bocconi. The practice is currently working on the construction of a new School of Economics for the Université  Toulouse 1 Capitole, a new campus for UTEC University in Lima, Peru, and its first UK project – a new building for Kingston University in south-west London.

Both Farrell and McNamara are well known for their teaching and were praised for being able to ‘convey their own experience and commitment’ in their approach, acting as ‘role-models’ for women in architecture. They have been visiting professors at the Accademia d’Architettura in Mendrisio, Switzerland; at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; and held the Kenzo Tange chair at GSD Harvard and the Louis Kahn chair at Yale University.

Farrell and McNamara will pick up the award at the AJ’s annual Women in Architecture Luncheon on 27 February, where the winners of the Emerging Woman Architect of the Year and the Woman Architect of the Year awards will also be revealed.

Timeline of key projects

2000

North King Street Housing, Dublin, Ireland

North King Street Housing, Dublin, Ireland

2002

Urban Institute of Ireland, University College Dublin, Ireland

Urban Institute of Ireland, University College Dublin, Ireland

2006

Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Ireland

Solstice Arts Centre, Navan, Ireland

2008

Waterloo Lane Mews, Dublin, Ireland

Waterloo Lane Mews, Dublin, Ireland

2008

Universita Luigi Bocconi, School of Economics, Milan, Italy

Universita Luigi Bocconi, School of Economics, Milan, Italy

2009

Offices for the Department of Finance, Dublin, Ireland

Offices for the Department of Finance, Dublin, Ireland

2009 [won by competition, now under construction]

Universite Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics, Toulouse, France

Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics, Toulouse, France

2011 [won by competition, now under construction]

University Campus UTEC Lima, Lima, Peru

2012

Medical School, Residences, Piazza and Pergola, University of Limerick, Ireland

Medical School, Residences, Piazza and Pergola, University of Limerick, Ireland

2013 [won by competition, awaiting planning permission]

Kingston University New Town House, Kingston-upon-Thames, London

Kingston University New Town House, Kingston-upon-Thames, London

2013 [won by competition, awaiting construction]

Institut Mines Telecom, Paris

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