Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Grafton Architects
The Royal Academy welcomes curators of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale and founders of Grafton Architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara to deliver the 28th Annual Architecture Lecture.
It will be the first chance to hear the pair speak in the UK following the opening of the Biennale and they will discuss their work in relation to the show’s theme of Freespace.
In their own words, Freespace describes a ‘generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity, something that is at the core of architecture’s agenda, focusing on the quality of space itself’. That generosity is one of the key features of Grafton Architects’ award-winning international portfolio.
Farrell and McNamara founded Dublin-based Grafton Architects in 1978. The practice’s thoughtful and crafted work includes residential, public and civic projects. In recent years they have grown their work outside of Ireland and have particularly thrived in the education sector with current projects including a school of economics in Toulouse, a masterplan for an engineering institution near Paris, a scheme for the London School of Economics and another for Kingston University.
In 2013, Grafton Architects’ University of Limerick Medical School was shortlisted for the 2013 Stirling Prize, in 2008 the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan was crowned World Building of the Year, and most recently, in 2016, the practice’s new University Campus for UTEC Lima, Peru won the inaugural RIBA International Prize.
Both Farrell and McNamara are well known for their teaching and work outside of traditional architectural practice. Throughout their career, they have curated exhibitions and taught at some of the world’s top universities, viewing projects as an opportunity for research to further their thinking.
Their work has been exhibited widely, and they represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2002, exhibiting there again in both 2008, 2012 and 2016. Entitled Architecture as New Geography, the practice’s 2012 contribution, which showcased their plans for the UTEC campus in Lima alongside the work of Paulo Mendes de Rocha, won them the Silver Lion.
In 2014, they were part of the Royal Academy’s Sensing Spaces exhibition and it is with great pleasure that we welcome them back to the Academy for this lecture that promises to be a highlight of London’s architectural calendar.
Photo © Alice Clancy