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Yvonne Farrell will present a lecture at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Ken and Linda Sue Shollmier Hall, Room 250 of Vol Walker Hall, on the U of A campus, as part of the fall lecture series in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.

Farrell is co-founder of Grafton Architects in Dublin, Ireland, with Shelley McNamara. Farrell and McNamara were selected as the 2020 Pritzker Prize Laureates, the award that is known internationally as architecture’s highest honor.

In her lecture, “Finding the DNA of a Project,” Farrell will focus on several Grafton Architects projects to discuss underlying values, which underpin the making of each project. From the initial sketch to the built reality, each imagined project affects the lives of others. The search is to find the ingredient of generosity within each project, which involves hearing the requirements of clients, understanding their unique ethos, studying the nature of the actual location, appreciating the physical and historical context, assessing the role of structure, and considering possible and available materials.

The lecture will refer to architecture as not only being contemporary, but consider how it has the power to emotionally reach back to the past and to optimistically reach out into our shared future. As a profession, architects are all part of making the DNA of the built world.

Farrell graduated from University College Dublin in 1974. Farrell and McNamara co-founded Grafton Architects in 1978. Farrell is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), an International Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and an elected member of Aosdána, the eminent Irish Art organization.

In 2018, Farrell and McNamara were the curators of the Venice Architecture Biennale. Their manifesto, “Freespace,” was the title of the Biennale. Grafton Architects was the winner of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture — Mies Van der Rohe Award 2022 for the Town House, at Kingston University in London.

In 2019, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) awarded the RIAI James Gandon Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Architecture to Farrell and McNamara. The Gandon Medal is the highest personal award given to an Architect in Ireland. The practice was also presented with the 2020 RIBA Royal Gold Medal in London.

Grafton Architects recently completed projects that include the Town House building at Kingston University in London; the Toulouse School of Economics for Université Toulouse 1 Capitole; Institut Mines-Télécom at Université Paris-Saclay; The Marshall Building and Lincoln’s Inn Fields for the London School of Economics and Political Science; and Headquarters for Electricity Supply Board (ESB), with O’Mahony Pike Architects, in Dublin.

Grafton Architects designed the Anthony Timberlands Center for Design and Materials Innovation at the U of A in partnership with Fayetteville-based Modus Studio. The project is now under construction in the university’s Art and Design District along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in south Fayetteville.

This is the Warren Segraves Memorial Lecture, sponsored by Modus Studio.

The school is pursuing continuing education credits for this lecture through the American Institute of Architects.

This lecture is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. 

Event Details

  • Don Eldred

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