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Grafton Architects: The Latest Architecture and News

Curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara Provide Insight Into the Theme of the 2018 Venice Biennale

As La Biennale prepares to open to the public this Saturday May 26, PLANE—SITE spoke to curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara about this edition’s theme, Freespace. They move beyond architecture as an object, instead imagining Freespace as an invitation to think about architecture as a space of opportunities. Literally and metaphorically, Freespace presents environments of generosity, accessibility and freedom and celebrates the rich civic experiences that they create.

Jury Members for the 2018 Venice Biennale Announced

© Andrea Avezzù
© Andrea Avezzù

The Board of Directors of La Biennale di Venezia, upon recommendation from 2018 curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects, have announced the jury for the forthcoming Venice Biennale.

The jury will be responsible for awarding the Golden Lion for Best National Participation, the Golden Lion for Best Participant in the International Exhibition FREESPACE, and the Silver Lion for a Promising Young Participant in the International Exhibition FREESPACE. They will also have the opportunity to award one special mention to National Participations and two special mentions to the participants in the International Exhibition.

2018 Venice Biennale Reveals Further Details About This Year's Theme, "Freespace"

At a press conference earlier today, curators of the 2018 Venice Biennale Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects revealed more information about this year's upcoming event, to be hosted from May 26th to November 25th. Building on the thematic concept the duo presented last June—“Freespace”—the event will feature a main exhibition in the Central Pavilion of the Giardini and the Arsenale featuring work by 71 participants, while two Special Sections will feature a total of 29 further participants. Elsewhere, 65 national pavilions will present contributions from around the world, including 7 first-time participants: Antigua & Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Mongolia, Pakistan and the Holy See.

Freespace: Grafton's 2018 Venice Biennale to Celebrate Generosity, Thoughtfulness, and a Desire to Engage

At a meeting convened today at the Biennale's headquarters at Ca’ Giustinian in Venice, Italy, Grafton ArchitectsYvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara—revealed the theme and outline for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, which they have titled Freespace. According to the Directors, the forthcoming Biennale will celebrate "generosity and thoughtfulness," and "a desire to engage."

We believe that everyone has the right to benefit from architecture. The role of architecture is to give shelter to our bodies, but also to lift our spirits. A beautiful wall forming a street edge gives pleasure to the passer-by, even if they never go inside.

Freespace will "reveal diversity, specificity, and continuity in architecture. Together," they proposed, "we can reveal the capacity of architecture to connect with history, time, place, and people. These qualities sustain the fundamental capacity of architecture to nurture and support a meaningful impact between people and place." In their closing statement, Farrell and McNamara chose to quote an Ancient Greek proverb: a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara Awarded 2017 Thomas Jefferson Medals in Architecture

Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara, directors of Grafton Architects, have been recognized along with three other individuals as winners of the 2017 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals. The award, presented by the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, recognizes “the exemplary contributions of recipients to the endeavors in which Jefferson excelled and held in high regard”, including Law, Citizen Leadership, Global Innovation, and Architecture.

“As founding partners of Grafton Architects, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have built an international award-winning practice that has made substantial contributions to culture and education and have embodied their values in profound works of architecture,” said Ila Berman, dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture.

Courtesy of Grafton Architects© Ros Kavanagh Courtesy of Shell Arquitectos© Dennis Gilbert+ 5

Introducing GSAPP Conversations' Inaugural Episode: "Exhibition Models"

We are pleased to announce a new content partnership between ArchDaily and Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) in New York City.

GSAPP Conversations is a podcast series designed to offer a window onto the expanding field of contemporary architectural practice. Each episode pivots around discussions on current projects, research, and obsessions of a diverse group of invited guests at Columbia, from both emerging and well-established practices. Usually hosted by the Dean of the GSAPP, Amale Andraos, the conversations also feature the school’s influential faculty and alumni and give students the opportunity to engage architects on issues of concern to the next generation.

Get to Know the Projects of Grafton Architects, Directors of the 2018 Venice Biennale

Yesterday, the Board of La Biennale di Venezia appointed Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects as curators of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Farrell and McNamara established Grafton Architects in 1978. They have held the Kenzo Tange Chair at Harvard GSD and the Louis Kahn Chair at Yale University. The pair has also been invited as visiting teachers at EPFL in Lausanne and the Accademia d'Archittettura, in Mendrisio, where they were appointed as teachers in 2013, in addition to visiting several other universities worldwide for lectures and crits.

© Ros Kavanagh© Dennis Gilbert© Shell Arquitectos© Ros Kavanagh+ 11

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara Named Artistic Directors of 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

In a meeting yesterday, The Board of La Biennale di Venezia appointed Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects as curators of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in 2018. This marks the second time that the Venice Architecture Biennale will be directed by women, after Kazuyo Sejima's role as director for the 2010 Biennale.

Engineering and Technology University - UTEC. Image © Iwan BaanEngineering and Technology University - UTEC. Image © Iwan BaanEngineering and Technology University - UTEC. Image © Iwan BaanWaterloo Lane / Grafton Architects. Image © Ros Kavanagh+ 7

Monocle 24 Explores Architectural White Elephants

Cities across the world are full of white elephants – something which ArchDaily has recently explored. In the latest episode of Section D, Monocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, the team examine similar cases from the unfinished Palestinian Parliament to redundant projects in Belgrade. This edition also looks at the RIBA's new International Prize, which was awarded this year to Grafton Architects for their University of Engineering and Technology building in Lima.

Courtesy of Monocle 24
Courtesy of Monocle 24

Grafton Architect's "Modern Day Machu Picchu" Wins Inaugural RIBA International Prize

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have revealed the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC), located in Lima and designed by Dublin-based practice Grafton Architects, as the winner of the inaugural RIBA International Prize. A longlist of thirty projects, published in May of this year, was narrowed down to six in October before a grand jury—chaired by Richard Rogers—selected the scheme as "an exceptional example of civil architecture."

© Iwan Baan       © Iwan Baan       © Iwan Baan       © Iwan Baan       + 5

6 Buildings Shortlisted for the Inaugural RIBA International Prize

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the shortlist of six finalist projects in the running for the inaugural RIBA International Prize. The first RIBA Award open to any qualified architect in the world, the International Prize seeks to name the world’s “most significant and inspirational” building. Criteria for consideration include the demonstration of “visionary, innovative thinking and excellence of execution, whilst making a distinct contribution to its users and to its physical context.”

The six finalists were named from a longlist of 30 buildings, from which a further selection of 21 projects have been recognized by the jury for the RIBA Award for International Excellence. The jury has also named the winner of the RIBA International Emerging Architect prize recognizing “the achievement of architects in the earlier stages of their career who are working on global projects.”

The Grand Jury is lead by Richard Rogers and includes Billie Tsien, Kunlé Adeyemi, Philip Gumuchdjian, and Marilyn Jordan Taylor.

"Our panel of jurors have been particularly impressed by the way in which each building reacts to, resolves and assimilates into the varying geographies and contexts - from dense urban cities to a small town in the Arctic Circle," said RIBA President Jane Duncan on the naming of the finalists. "Each project resolves the complex demands of its context with ingenuity, exceptional detail and finishing and a sensitivity to the needs of the users and communities which will inhabit these spaces."

MCHAP Announces Finalists for 2014/2015 Most Outstanding Project in the Americas

Seven projects have been named finalists in the second edition of the biennial Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP). Selected from a pool of 175 nominees, the chosen buildings represent the best built works of architecture realized in the Americas from January 2014 to December 2015. The inaugaral award, which was given to the best project from 2000-2013, was shared by Álvaro Siza's Iberê Camargo Foundation and Herzog & de Meuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road.

Continue after the break for the list of finalists.

Grafton Architects See Off "Stellar Competition" to Design the LSE's New Paul Marshall Building

Dublin-based Grafton Architects, who last year were awarded the Jane Drew Prize, have seen off competition from the likes of Herzog & de Meuron and David Chipperfield Architects to win the contest to design the London School of Economics’ (LSE) £100 million ($144 million) Paul Marshall Building. The new center will house the academic departments of Accounting, Finance and Management and research centres, including the Marshall Institute, with teaching facilities as well as new multipurpose sports and arts facilities. Grafton Architects are reportedly "absolutely delighted to be given this opportunity to build in this unique location in Lincoln's Inn Fields, across from the wonderful Sir John Soane’s Museum, for a visionary client such as LSE."

LSE Reveals 6 Schemes for its Paul Marshall Building

The London School of Economics (LSE) and RIBA have revealed the six shortlisted proposals for their next major development: 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields/The Paul Marshall. With designs from David Chipperfield, Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Penoyre & Prasad and Herzog & de Meuron, LSE is hoping their new building's "world-class architecture" will appropriately reflect the university's "global academic reputation." AL_A, Grafton Architects, and Niall McLaughlin with Scott Brownrigg complete the shortlist.

“The amount of analysis and intellectual effort that has gone into the designs from each team is staggering and the results are impressive and very exciting. Given its size and prime location on Lincoln’s Inn Fields we want this to be a seminal university building; its legacy will endure for many generations so it is vital that we make the right decision,” said Julian Robinson, LSE’s Director of Estates.

All six schemes are being publicly exhibited at the LSE's Saw Swee Hock Student Centre through March 17. Read on for a glimpse of each. 

Chipperfield and Herzog & de Meuron Among 6 Teams Shortlisted for LSE's Paul Marshall Building

The London School of Economics (LSE), working alongside the RIBA, has announced six teams in the running to design their latest high-profile building project: the £100 million redevelopment of 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, which once complete will be known as the Paul Marshall Building. As the third of the LSE's recent run of major campus transformations, the Paul Marshall Building will follow in the footsteps of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' “Center Building Redevelopment” which received planning permission earlier this year and O'Donnell + Tuomey's highly-acclaimed Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Stirling Prize. Read on to see the full shortlist.

Jane Drew Prize Jointly Awarded to Grafton Co-Founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara

Grafton Architects' co-founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have been jointly awarded the fourth annual Jane Drew Prize for their “massive influence” on the profession. The “hardworking” Dublin-based duo impressed the jury, which included Norman Foster and Patty Hopkins, for not being “afraid to speak in a language that is feminine” yet “produce buildings which are robust and full of conviction.”

“Grafton’s buildings are consistently high quality. Their approach is solid,” added the jury. “They are business-savvy.”

Barcelona Commemorates 300 Years of Catalan Spirit With 7 Public Installations

Every year, citizens of Catalonia commemorate the events of September 11th 1714, a key date in the War of the Spanish Succession that has come to symbolize what Voltaire called "the Barcelonans' extreme love of freedom." With this year marking the 300th anniversary of these events, Barcelona Cultura enlisted the Fundació Enric Miralles to curate 7 public installations around the city as part of its Tricentenari BCN program.

The result is BCN RE.SET, organized by Benedetta Tagliabue of the Fundació Enric Miralles and stage director Àlex Ollé, which invited guest architects from countries all over the world to colloborate with local universities and create installations symbolizing 6 political and ideological concepts: identity, freedom, Europe, diversity, democracy and memory. These installations will be in place until September 11th. Read on after the break for descriptions of all 6 installations.

Europe / ETH Zürich + Urban–Think Tank. Image © Marcela GrassiDiversity / Yael Reisner + Peter Cook. Image © Marcela GrassiFreedom / Anupama Kundoo. Image © Marcela GrassiMemory / Grafton Architects. Image © Marcela Grassi+ 15

Siza, Souto de Moura, Kuma Reflect on Their 'Sensing Spaces' Exhibitions

As an accompaniment to their ongoing Sensing Spaces Exhibition in London, the Royal Academy of Arts has produced six wonderful films interviewing the architects involved in the exhibition, unearthing what motivates and inspires them as architects, and what the primary themes of their exhibition projects are.

The above video features both Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, who both designed their Sensing Spaces exhibits with the other in mind. Siza explains his preoccupation with the joints between the natural and the man-made through his Leça Swimming Pool complex, and the way the rock formations informed his interventions. He also introduces his one-time protégé Souto de Moura's Braga stadium as expressing the same understanding of the natural and man-made.

See videos from the 5 other Sensing Spaces participants after the break

Installation (Blue Pavilion) by Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Image © Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2014. Photography: James HarrisInstallation by Diebedo Francis Kere. Image © Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2014. Photography: James HarrisInstallation by Kengo Kuma. Image © Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2014. Photography: James HarrisInstallation by Li Xiaodong. Image © Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2014. Photography: Benedict Johnson+ 5