Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.

Tullamore native awarded highest honour in world of architecture

A Tullamore native was recently awarded the most prestigious honour in the world of architecture.

Earlier this month Yvonne Farrell and her business partner Shelley McNamara, co-founders of the Dublin based firm Grafton Architects, were named Pritzker Prize laureates, widely regarded as the highest international accolade in their field.

Founded by Farrell and Clare native McNamara in Dublin in 1978, Grafton has established itself as one of the most respected and in-demand architectural firms in the world.

In Ireland, the firm have designed some of the most innovative buildings in the last four decades, including the Mechanical Engineering building in Trinity College, Solstice Arts Centre in Navan, Ardscoil Mhuire in Ballinasloe, the Mechanical Engineering building in Trinity College, the Offices for the Department of Finance (2009), Offices for the Department of Finance (2009) and the Urban Land Institute in UCD Belfield.

Farrell and McNamara gained international recognition in 2008 when their design of the new economics faculty building for Milan's Bocconi University won the World Building of the Year award, while in 2016 they won the inaugural RIBA International Prize in 2016 for their Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología building in Lima, Peru.

In the citation from the Pritzker Prize Jury, they were praised “for their integrity in their approach to both their buildings, as well as the way they conduct their practice, their belief in collaboration, their generosity towards their colleagues, especially as evidenced in such events as the Venice Biennale, their unceasing commitment to excellence in architecture, their responsible attitude toward the environment” and “their ability to be cosmopolitan while embracing the uniqueness of each place in which they work”.

Yvonne Farrell is the sister of the Tullamore-based solicitor Tom Farrell of Farrell and Partners.