Pritzker 2020: Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (Grafton Architects)



El dúo Irlandés Yvonne Farrell y Shelley McNamara (Grafton Architects) son las ganadoras del premio Pritzker 2020.


“Architecture could be described as one of the most complex and important cultural activities on the
planet. To be an architect is an enormous privilege”  _ Yvonne Farrell


El presidente del la Fundación Hyatt, Tom Pritzker ha anunciado hace unos minutos la decisión del jurado del premio más prestigioso de la arquitectura.

«La integridad con que plantean sus edificios así como la forma en que encaran el desarrollo de su práctica de la arquitectura, su fe en la colaboración, la generosidad hacia sus colegas, que se ha hecho especialmente patente en eventos como la Bienal de Venecia de 2018 [de la que fueron directoras]; su infatigable compromiso con la excelencia en la arquitectura, su actitud responsable respecto al entorno, su capacidad para ser cosmopolitas abrazando simultáneamente la singularidad de cada uno de los lugares en los que trabajan,” _ Cita del Jurado


Por su integridad 

Farrell (1951) y McNamara (1952) se conocieron estudiando en sus años en la Escuela de Arquitectura del University College Dublin (UCD).  En 1976, recién licenciadas, fueron invitadas a ejercer como docentes en la misma universidad donde se habían formado y, dos años después, en 1978,  establecieron su despacho, Grafton Architects, con el nombre de la calle donde se ubicaba, en Dublín donde residen y desde donde han realizado sus obras por todo el mundo por mas de cuarenta años.


destacan entre sus obras el fantástico University Campus UTEC Lima (Lima, Peru 2015), las oficinas del departamento de finanzas (Dublin, Irlanda, 2009), Universita Luigi Bocconi (Milan, Italia 2008), Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics (Toulouse, Francia 2019), North King Street Housing (Dublin, Irlanda  2000), Solstice Arts Centre (Navan, Irlanda 2007), Institut Mines Télécom in Palaiseau (Paris, Francia 2019)

El premio, generalmente otorgado a una sola persona, ha tenido sus excepciones, con duos como  2001 Herzog & de Meuron, 2010 Kazuyo Sejima y Rue Nishizawa  (Sanaa) e inclusive un trio en 2017 Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem y Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes).

Yvonne y Shelley son la cuarta y quinta mujeres en recibir la condecoración (2004 Zaha Hadid, 2010 Kazuyo Sejima, 2017 Carme Pigem) demostrando que poco a poco el lugar de la mujer en la profesión se está reivindicando.

Otro interesante punto de vista de este premio es que demuestra que no se trata de un premio de volumen de obra, si no de aportación a la profesión.




y recordar su ejercicio como comisarias de la bienal de Venecia.  




El jurado formado en esta ocasión.


Barry Bergdoll, 2019-presente
Deborah Berke, 2019-presente
Stephen Breyer, 2012-presente (Presidente 2019-presente)
André Aranha Corrêa do Lago, 2017-presente
Ratan N. Tata, 2013-presente
Kazuyo Sejima, 2017-presente – Premio Pritzker 2010
Benedetta Tagliabue, 2014-presente
Wang Shu, 2017-presente – Premio Pritzker 2012
Martha Thorne, 2005-presente (Directora ejecutiva)






la cita del jurado entera

Jury Citation

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have practiced architecture together for forty years in a way
that clearly reflects the objectives of the Pritzker Prize: to recognize the art of architecture and
consistent service to humanity as evidenced through a body of built work .

Co-founding their professional practice, called Grafton Architects, in Dublin, Ireland in 1978, they
have consistently and unhesitatingly pursued the highest quality of architecture for the specific
location in which it was to be built, the functions it would house and especially for the people who
would inhabit and use their buildings and spaces . They have an oeuvre that includes numerous
educational buildings, housing and cultural and civic institutions . Pioneers in a field that has
traditionally been and still is a male-dominated profession, they are also beacons to others as they
forge their exemplary professional path .

Many of their buildings are located in their home country of Ireland, but through competitions, they
have won major commissions for other places around the world, such as Italy, France and Peru .
With a profound understanding of place gained through their research, keen powers of observation,
open and ever curious explorations and deep respect for culture and context, Farrell and McNamara
are able to make their buildings respond to a setting and city most appropriately, while still being
fresh and modern . This deep understanding of “spirit of place” means that their works enhance and
improve the local community . Their buildings are “good neighbors” that seek to make a contribution
beyond the boundaries of the building and to make a city work better . Their North King Street
Housing in Dublin (2000) is one example of this: it creates an inner courtyard and a welcome respite
from the adjacent busy streets .

Their approach to architecture is always honest, revealing an understanding of the processes of
design and construction from large scale structures to the smallest details . It is often in these
details, especially in buildings with modest budgets, where a big impact can be felt . For example,
the Urban Institute of Ireland (Dublin, 2002) employs what the architects call a “crafted skin” to
create a visually interesting building through changes in materials responding to openings, folds,
needs for shade and other concerns . At the same time, it employs common sense, good-practice
environmental control methodologies for an efficient, sustainable building . On a particularly sensitive
site in Dublin, the masterful Offices for the Department of Finance (2009) attests to their knowledge
and care in the selection of materials and construction techniques with a carefully handcrafted
bronze railing and gate and sanded limestone on the facades .

The architects are skilled and successful working at many scales—from large institutional buildings
to a house of only a little more than 100 square meters . Without grand or frivolous gestures, they
have managed to create buildings that are monumental institutional presences when appropriate, but
even so they are zoned and detailed in such a way as to produce more intimate spaces that create
community within . In their large buildings such as the University Campus UTEC (2015) in Lima, Peru
or the School of Economics Building (2008) at Universita Luigi Bocconi, they have achieved a human
scale through the composition of spaces and volumes of different sizes . The dialogues they create
between buildings and surroundings demonstrate a new appreciation of both their works and place .

A constant in their approach, the architects have an understanding of how to design complex sections
of buildings in such a way that views connect deep interior spaces with the larger exterior realm and
allow natural light to penetrate and animate spaces deep inside a building . Often light streams from
skylights or upper story windows throughout the interiors of their buildings, providing warmth and
visual interest, helping the inhabitants easily orient themselves in the spaces, and providing the ever
necessary connection to the exterior .

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 2018 Venice Biennale, their unceasing commitment to excellence
in architecture, their responsible attitude toward the environment, their ability to be cosmopolitan
while embracing the uniqueness of each place in which they work, for all these reasons and more,
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are awarded the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize .