2020 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture awarded to Grafton Architects

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, co-founders of Dublin-based Grafton Architects, were awarded the 2020 Royal Gold Medal for architecture, at a special ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Presented in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence ‘either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture’.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara co-founded Grafton Architects. With an impressive portfolio of projects, the practice has achieved global recognition most notably for its exemplary education buildings; in 2016 they won the inaugural RIBA International Prize for the bold new vertical campus building for Lima’s specialist engineering university (UTEC) in Peru.

Speaking about Grafton Architects, RIBA President, Professor Alan M Jones, said:

“From designing houses in wind-swept rural landscapes to substantial inner-city university projects, from curating and contributing to world class exhibitions to teaching within some of the world’s leading schools of architecture, the scale and scope of Grafton Architects’ influence is extraordinary. Their extensive talent and generosity of spirit are an inspiration, not only to me and my fellow architects but to all those who have had the pleasure of engaging directly with them and their work.

The breadth and quality of supporters for their Royal Gold Medal nomination was a roll call of significant names from the worlds of academia, arts and architecture, major clients and renowned architects.

Grafton Architects are impressive role models. Their work, philosophy and ambition are of profound importance, not just in their home country and the UK but across the globe. They show us all how architecture, practiced humbly and humanely, can make the world a better place.”