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IE University Visiting Professor, architect Yvonne Farrell, Pritzker Prize 2020

09 /03 /2020
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara | IE

“She taught on the 2015 Integration Workshop at IE and made a great contribution to our students, our faculty and our entire school”, said Dean Martha Thorne.

The 2020 Pritzker Prize has been awarded to Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara founders of the Irish firm Grafton Architects, established in Dublin in 1978. Farrell taught on the 2015 Integration Workshop where she shared her experience about the potential of architectural practice and how it can impact the world.

“What is interesting about being a mature architect is working with young people and helping them grow: they have a sense of themselves and their ability to imagine being part of the great history of architecture. This is something I have noticed about IE University students”

Speaking of her time at IE University, Farrell says: “What the schools of architecture are doing is growing students’ imagination, a disciplined imagination. And of the IE students I worked with, I found that their imaginations are alive and ready to absorb. What is interesting about being a mature architect is working with young people and helping them grow: they have a sense of themselves and their ability to imagine being part of the great history of architecture. This is something I have noticed about IE University students”.

Martha Thorne, Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design, interviewed Yvonne Farrell during her visit to IE University in 2015: “Architects are translators. We translate people’s needs and their dreams into a reality… We make the space in which life happens and I think that our profession needs to expand to embrace all the other disciplines.”

The Integration Workshop is part of the Bachelor in Architectural Studies, and brings internationally-recognized architects and designers to our campus for a week-long workshop dealing with the many disciplines, stakeholders, and considerations involved in the realization of an architectural project. Invitees work closely with our students to rethink architecture practice and to innovate in the design of the built environment. Among those who have led our Integration Workshops are Stefano Boeri, Tham and Videgaard, Frank Barkow, and Tatjana Schneider.

“During these workshops, students develop projects within the realm of architecture and related fields, with a special focus on the entrepreneurial role of the architect in coming up with new initiatives. The workshop format provides an opportunity to integrate knowledge and to create an environment of intensive creativity characteristic of the professional world”, explains David Goodman, Vice Dean and Director of the Bachelor in Architectural Studies at IE School of Architecture and Design.

This is the first time that the Pritzker Prize has been awarded to  two women creatively working together, since it was set up on 1979. In 2004 it was won by the Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid; in 2010 by the Japanese firm Sanaa, run by a woman, Kazuyo Sejima, and a man, Ryue Nishizawa; and in 2017 by the Olot firm RCR, led by Carme Pigem, Ramon Vilalta and Rafael Aranda.

“I am particularly pleased to be able to say that women have won the Pritzker Prize this year: they represent a beacon for other women, and for other men, showing the way forward and that talent is something that we cannot afford to lose. We have to bring everybody together to face the challenges of architecture”, said Martha Thorne.

Other Pritzker Prize winning architects have visited IE University over the years: in 2018, Kazuyo Sejima, the 2010 winner, gave a lecture with Martha Thorne at the Hay Festival, which has been held on IE University’s Segovia campus for 15 years and that attracts the best international names in the humanities. Similarly, the 2007 Pritzker Prize Richard Rogers spoke at IE University in the same context one year before. In addition, the IE Paper Pavilion on our Madrid campus, designed by Shigeru Ban, Pritzker Prize 2014, is the only building in Spain created by a Pritzker Prize winner.

Richard Rogers | IE Business School

Yvonne Farrell | IE Architecture and Design