The female duo met and graduated from The School of Architecture University College and founded Grafton architects in 1977. They have previously shown projects at the Venice Beinnale several times, and in 2012 took home the Silver Lion Award for their “Project for the UTEC University campus in Lima, Peru.”
Their bi-annual curatorship follows on from Alejandro Aravena who highlighted the importance of civil society in architecture. Farrell and McNamara will continue this theme by examining quality as the main ends of architecture.
President of the biennale, Paolo Baratta, said “The Exhibition curated by Alejandro Aravena offered visitors a critical overview of the worldwide evolution of architecture and underlined how important it is that a qualified demand on the part of individuals and communities be met by an equally effective response, thereby confirming that architecture is one of civil society’s instruments for organizing the space in which it lives and works.”
“Along these lines, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara will continue to address the same theme but from the point of view of the quality of the public and private space, of urban space, of the territory and of the landscape as the main ends of architecture. The curators, who are well-known for the refinement of their work, are also known for their intense didactic activity and their ability to involve and fascinate new generations.”
Grafton architects has been the recipient of the Architectural Association of Ireland’s awards many times; in the year 2008, it won the World Building of the Year Award for the design of the new building for the Università Bocconi in Milan; finalist for the Sterling Prize for the University of Limerick Medical School and Student Accommodation; in 2016 UTEC University in Lima, Peru won the inaugural RIBA International Award.
Farrell and McNamara won the Jane Drew Award in 2015 and Irish Design Institute President’s Award in 2016 and have lectured widely throughout Europe and in the United States.
The 16th Venice Architecture Biennale will open 26 May 2018 and will run through till 25 November.