Irish architects Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey have been named today as the 2015 recipients of the English prestigious architecture award Royal Gold Medal.
A tour de force in contemporary Irish and British architecture, Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey co-founded their practice O’Donnell and Tuomey in Dublin during 1988, having previously worked together for internationally renowned architects Stirling Wilford Associates and Colquhoun & Miller in London.
Their new practice coupled O'Donnell’s quiet, studied “rationalism” alongside Tuomey’s fluent, rhetorical “constructivism” and through their buildings, publications, exhibitions and teaching they have forged a confident new identity for Irish architecture.
In the early 1990s, O’Donnell and Tuomey were part of the Group 91 Architects, group whose collective skill in masterplanning spearheaded the regeneration of Dublin’s neglected Temple Bar. It was the pair’s first permanent building, the Irish Film Institute (1991) that brought them profile and acclaim for its dynamic contribution to the revitalised Dublin quarter.
Their early work, from a private home in Navan to schools, public housing and community buildings, provided the canvas for them to experiment and evolve their unconventional creative approach and celebrated style. More recent projects include the modest but brilliant Photographers’ Gallery in Soho and the exceptional 2014 RIBA Stirling Prize-shortlisted Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics.
In presenting the Royal Gold Medal to Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey, Joseph Rykwert said: “I recommend them because they give witness to architecture as a lifetime’s pursuit. In their buildings, teaching, writing, drawing and rhetoric they tell us all how to be architects. Everything they do speaks to the best of us.”
The Royal Institute of British Architects announced also the 2015 RIBA International Fellowships, which will be awarded to eleven non-UK architects. The RIBA’s 2015 International Fellowships are: Emilio Ambasz, Emilio Ambasz & Associates (New York, USA); Julia Bolles + Peter Wilson, Bolles + Wilson (Munster, Germany); Santiago Cirugeda, (Recettes Urbaines) Urban Recipes (Sevilla, Spain); Joao Luis Carrilho Da Graca, JLCG (Portugal); Richard Leplastrier, Richard Leplastrier (Australia); Thom Mayne, Morphosis (Los Angeles and New York, USA); Antoine Predock, Studio Predock (Albuquerque, USA); Peter Rich, Peter Rich Architects (Johannesburg, South Africa); Wang Shu + Lu Yenyu (China).
Lastly, RIBA Honorary Fellowships – that are awarded annually to people who have made a particular contribution to architecture in its broadest sense – will be awarded to: Peter Carl, academic, London Metropolitan University; Marilyn Dyer, Architectural Association Registrar; Gerald Hines, founder and chairman of HINES; Niall Hobhouse, client and curator; Kurt W Forster, architectural historian; Ola Kolehmainen, artist; Ian Latham, publisher and writer; Frosso Pimenides, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London; Vicky Richardson, director of Architecture, British Council; Peter Sweasey, television producer; Mark Swenarton, architectural historian and journalist; Neil Thomas, structural engineer; Dalibor Vesely, academic.