THIS WEEK’S gloomy Tuesday was brightened for Grafton Architects (pictured below) when an e-mail swooshed in telling them that they had been given International Fellowships of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).
“We were honoured and thrilled,” says Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects who, along with her partner Shelley McNamara (both on front right of the picture), were given the life-long fellowships, which honour people “who have made a major contribution to the world of architecture, wherever in the world they practice”.
“We are in very interesting company,” says Farrell: other recipients included architects from Chile, the US, Burkina Faso, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and Spain. “Their work represents not only the spirit of their countries but also transcends it to become truly international in its reference and influence,” says RIBA president Ruth Reed.
Grafton Architects’ Bocconi university building in Milan was awarded the first “World Building of the Year” prize and the same building became the first by Irish architects to reach the final shortlist of five for the Mies van der Rohe award. In Ireland the practice has been working on social housing projects in Dublin, the Department of Finance building in St Stephen’s Green and an arts centre in Navan.
The RIBA announced the winner of this year’s Gold Medal at the same time: it is 92-year-old IM Pei, who was born in China, practises in America and who designed the glass pyramid in the Louvre, Paris which features large in The Da Vinci Code book.