Grafton Architects: Work in Progress

The Dublin-based Pritzker Prize laureates present their work.

October 20, 2020
1:00 p.m.

Grafton Architects | Institut Mines Télécom, Paris, France, 2019. Credit: Alexandre Soria

Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.

Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell co-founded Grafton Architects in 1978 after meeting at the School of Architecture at University College Dublin. They have been selected as the 2020 Pritzker Prize Laureates.

As architects and educators, the partners honor “history while demonstrating a mastery of the urban environment and craft of construction,” as their Pritzker Prize announcement states. The practice’s academic, civic, cultural, and residential projects balance strength and delicacy, resulting in impactful and unique works. 

In 2018, Farrell and McNamara were the Curators of the Venice Architecture Biennale, guided by their FREESPACE manifesto. 

The practice has won numerous awards, including the inaugural RIBA International Prize for the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Lima, Peru, in 2016. It was recently presented with the 2020 RIBA Royal Gold Medal in London.

Farrell and McNamara hold longstanding appointments at University College Dublin and have taught at universities around the world. They are currently professors at the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

Recent projects include:

  • Institut Mines Télécom, a university building in Paris organized around several courtyards that poetically integrate landscape and ecology.
  • Toulouse School of Economics, which is positioned at a break in the historic city walls, taking advantage of its relationship with the Garonne river and the Saint-Pierre des Cuisines Church to create a school building with city vistas and natural light and ventilation.  
  • Kingston University London, an open and transparent educational building whose colonnade plays a central civic role through the creation of new public spaces.

The lecture will be followed by a conversation with Paul Lewis, partner at LTL Architects, professor and associate dean at Princeton University School of Architecture, and president of The Architectural League of New York.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The event is co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union.