Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Image: Courtesy Alice Clancy

Pritzker Prize goes to Grafton Architects

The announcement of the Pritzker Prize is an eagerly awaited annual event which never fails to deliver a surprise. The lucky winner from the architectural world not only receives the award, which comes with 100,000 in prize money – they also become a star. Past winners of this coveted prize, first awarded in 1979, include the great architects of the last few decades: Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Tadao Ando, Shigeru Ban, Jean Nouvel, Rem Koolhaas, Peter Zumthor and Gottfried Böhm. Previously, Zaha Hadid and Kazuyo Sejima, together with their business partner Ryue Nishizawa, were the only two female architects to have received the award. This year, the prize goes to Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara and their Dublin-based firm, Grafton Architects. As the jury explained, these two architects, who have worked together since 1978, have always seen architecture as an art, with a clear mandate to serve the users of the buildings and to establish a logical connection between people and architecture. Or, as Shelley McNamara once put it in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “It’s one thing to make something functional. But that is not enough. Architecture gives us the scope to improve a place.”

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