The board of the Venice Biennale, chaired by Paola Baratta, has announced that Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (Grafton Architects) will be curating the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, set to be held from 26 May to 25 November 2018. As Baratta himself has stated, this appointment has been made in continuity with the social agenda that the previous curator, Alejandro Aravena, gave the Biennale; an agenda sure to be enriched by the interest in public space and the search for a powerful structural language that have characterized the work of the Irish duo.
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara graduated from Univesity College of Dublin and in 1978 they set up Grafton Architects, which they run with Gerard Carty and Philippe O’Sullivan. The numerous awards their work has earned them includes World Building of the Year 2008, for their construction at Università Luigi Bocconi in Milan, and the Silver Lion of the Venice Architecture Biennale of 2012, where they presented their work alongside that of Paulo Mendes da Rocha, whom they consider their master. In 2016 they completed the new campus for UTEC in Lima, for which they received the inaugural RIBA International Award, and they are currently busy building the Université Toulouse 1 Capitole School of Economics. Farrell and McNamara have complemented their professional practice with a teaching career. They taught in their alma mater from 1976 to 2002 and have given classes in institutions in other countries, such as Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and the Yale School of Architecture.