Women Influencers in the Industry

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara winners of the Pritzker Prize; Credit: Architect Magazine

As Women in Construction Week 2020 continues, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for architecture’s highest honor, the Pritzker Prize, to be jointly awarded to two women! As announced in ArchDaily, “With more than 40 years of professional experience, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, partners and co-founders of Dublin-based Grafton Architects, are the first women to be jointly awarded the architecture’s highest honor. The 2020 Laureates, who are both educators and architects, are known for their powerful yet delicate approaches. Their contextual and modern interventions are very attentive to history, demonstrating high levels of sensitivity and craftsmanship.”

In just over 40 years, the duo has completed numerous projects that have helped enhance cities and respond to local needs in Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Peru. They established their firm Grafton Architects in 1978 and named it after the street of their original office. Their extensive portfolio includes significant cultural and academic projects like the Urban Institute of Ireland, University College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland 2002); Solstice Arts Centre (Navan, Ireland 2007); Loreto Community School (Milford, Ireland 2006); and Medical School, University of Limerick (Limerick, Ireland 2012).

Their projects reach beyond their native Ireland and include the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan (Milan, Italy 2008), which was awarded the World Building of the Year at the 2008 inaugural World Architectural Festival in Barcelona. Later in 2015, the challenging University Campus UTEC Lima (Lima, Peru 2015) was granted the inaugural RIBA International Prize 2016 by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).  And most recently, they completed the Université Toulouse 1 Capitole, School of Economics (Toulouse, France 2019) 

According to Architect Magazine, “A common thread connecting each project is the active development of complex sections that open different programmatic functions to light, air, and opportunities to encourage community within an individual structure.” ArchDaily comments, “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.”

The Pritzker Prize, established by the Pritzker family of Chicago through their Hyatt Foundation in 1979, is an international prize awarded each year to a living architect/s for significant achievement. It is granted annually and often referred to as “architecture’s Nobel” and “the profession’s highest honor.” The award honors a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

METALCON is committed to raising awareness about growing opportunities in the industry for women. For the first time, METALCON 2020 is excited to announce featured programming dedicated to women in the industry at this year’s show, scheduled October 21-23 in Las Vegas. Connect! The Women’s Construction Network at METALCON will take place the day before the show opens on Tuesday, October 20th at 2:00 p.m. in the Las Vegas Convention Center. For the first time, leaders from all of the construction industry women’s associations will come together to help each other create change, drive diversity, ensure equality and influence the industry. Continue to follow the METALCON Blog for all the details. Click HERE to pre-register and be the first to be notified when registration opens next month. Or begin by securing your hotel reservation HERE.

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