Irish architects Grafton, founded by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara were presented with this prestigious award at a special dinner held at the RIBA on 13 February 2020. Grafton have established an impressive track record in designing outstanding university buildings. Their breakthrough commission was for the Becconi University Business School in Milan completed in 2008. This was followed by projects at the University of Limerick (2013), the Technical University (UTEC) in Lima Peru, which was awarded the RIBA’s inaugural International Prize in 2016, two buildings in France for Paris-Saclay(2019) and Université Toulouse (2019) and two in London – the University of Kingston’s Townhouse (2020) and LSE’s Marshall Building (under construction).
Commenting HEDQF Chair Julian Robinson said:
“I believe that future generations will come to view Grafton’s university projects in the same way as the work of Stirling, Lasdun and Spence -heroic, expressive and humane. I have not come across a client who hasn’t enjoyed working with them and I’m sure they will have more commissions and continued success in this field.”
The Royal Gold Medal for architecture is awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects on behalf of the British monarch, in recognition of an individual’s or group’s substantial contribution to international architecture. It is given for a distinguished body of work rather than for one building.