2020 Pritzker Prize awarded to Grafton Architects’ Concrete Connoisseurs

The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honor a living architect or architects for great achievements in the discipline of architecture. This year, this award has been given to Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Ireland’s Grafton Architects.

This award has been given to them for the prestigious designs of various projects. With a focus on ventilation and natural light to make functional interior spaces, the Grafton Architects’ concrete connoisseurs create huge buildings but also pay attention to the little details that make life easier for those inside.

Brief introduction of the projects is as under.

1-The University of College Dublin’s Urban Institute of Ireland

The project was completed in 2002 within record time and budget. This is a research and development center for planners, architects, geographers, economists, and scientists.

The materials use for the external finishing work are greatly resembled to surround buildings and direction setting of the building allows the maximum natural light to come in. The building has been designed according to the specification of Sustainable Energy Ireland.

2-Universita Luigi Bocconi, Milan

The project was completed in 2008 which won the World Building of the Year prize that year. The  building comprises massive stone-cladding, Its interior include offices ,meeting rooms, lecture theaters library and cafeteria on upper floors while there is  a big   hall on ground floor.


3- Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC), Peru

The project was completed in 2015. Grafton Architects designed this project in collaboration with local firm Shell Arquitectos. The project was located between a busy road and a ravine. It comes up with a mountain which provides meeting places at upper level and class rooms at ground level. The shape of the building creates sitting area for students which is suitable both for study and leisure. The building was declared the winner of the inaugural RIBA International Prize.

“The collaboration between Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara represents a veritable interconnectedness between equal counterparts,” says the Pritzker Prize’s press release. “They demonstrate incredible strength in their architecture, show deep relation to the local situation in all regards, establish different responses to each commission while maintaining the honesty of their work, and exceed the requirements of the field through responsibility and community. Farrell and McNamara have mastered proportion to maintain a human scale and achieve intimate environments within tall and vast buildings.”


The annual Pritzker Prize is architecture’s most prestigious honor and the list of previous winners include Arata Isozaki , Balkrishna Doshi Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and others.

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