RIBA Gold Medal 2020


Grafton Architects 

The Gold Medal of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) is the maximum distinction that can be given to a professional in the field in the United Kingdom, and it went to Grafton Architects, the office led by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. Since its foudnation in 1978, the team has been characterized by its civic commitment and its professionalism attentive to details. All this channelled through a language that takes inspiration in the megastructures of the Smithsons, as well as in the refined constructive poetics of the reinforced concrete in the work of Paulo Mendes da Rocha, giving way to a sort of ‘friendly brutalism.’ Radical and at the same time friendly are, in effect, their buildings, the result of commissions linked mainly to culture and education, from the Luigi Bocconi University of Milan to the headquarters of the London School of Economics in the British capital and the Central Library of Dublin, by way of the UTEC Building in Lima and the University of Limerick. Farrell and McNamara have combined their studio work with critical and theoretical activity: in 2018 they curated the Venice Architecture Biennale.

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