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Grafton Architects

Grafton Architects

The Architects Series – A documentary on: Grafton Architects is the 28th instalment of this webinar series organized by THE PLAN magazine for the Iris Ceramica Group. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, April 19, from 6:30 (CEST) / 5:30 (UK BST) / 12:30 (US EDT) p.m., and will include the screening of a 30-minute video-documentary followed by a lecture by Yvonne Farrell. Participants will need to register on the Iris Ceramica Group website. The webinar will be streamed live from the Iris Ceramica Group Showroom in Milan.

Grafton Architects is an internationally famous architecture firm based in Dublin, Ireland. Founded in 1978 by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, the studio has become a point of reference on the contemporary architecture scene thanks to its ability to create innovative, functional spaces that elegantly integrate into their surroundings.

From the outset, Grafton Architects established itself as one of Ireland’s leading architecture firms, delivering a range of projects for the public and private sectors, including schools, universities, homes, and commercial and cultural buildings. In recent years, the studio has extended its reach, completing important projects around the world, including the Toulouse School of Economics, France; Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Lima, Peru; and the new department at Università Bocconi in Milan.

Grafton Architects’ philosophy centers on creating spaces that foster learning, human interaction, and environmental sustainability. The practice approaches every project with the utmost attention to detail in order to create quality spaces that respond to the needs of both clients and users.

Over the years, Grafton Architects has received numerous accolades for its work, including the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture in 2020 and the European Union Award for Contemporary Architecture (the Mies van der Rohe Award) in 2022.

Besides its architectural works, Grafton Architects is also involved in the education and training of the new generation of architects. Farrell and McNamara are both professors at the Accademia di Architettura, Mendrisio, Switzerland, where they share both their experience and philosophy with students.

In recent years, the firm has been involved in numerous projects around the world, including The Marshall Institute; Lincoln’s Inn Fields, for the London School of Economics; City Library Parnell Square, Dublin, with Shaffrey Architects; and the headquarters of the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) with OMP architects in Dublin.

Recently completed projects include The Town House Building; Kingston University, London; The School of Economics for the University of Toulouse 1 Capitol; and the Institut Mines Télécom University Building, Paris Saclay.


Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara founded Grafton Architects in 1978, after graduating from University College Dublin in 1974. They are fellows of the RIAI, International Honorary Fellows of the RIBA, and elected members of Aosdána, Ireland’s leading arts organization. They taught at the School of Architecture of University College Dublin from 1976 through 2002 and were appointed adjunct professors at UCD in 2015. They were visiting professors at EPFL in Lausanne between 2010 and 2011. They held the Kenzo Tange Chair at GSD Harvard in 2010, and the Louis Kahn Chair at Yale in the fall of 2011. Both are currently professors at the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

In 2018, Farrell and McNamara curated the Venice Biennale of Architecture. Their manifest “Freespace” was chosen as the title of the event.

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