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Sheila O’Donnell named Architect of the Year at the Women in Architecture Awards 2019

Published: Monday, March 04, 2019

O’Donnell + Tuomey’s Sheila O’Donnell has been named Architect of the Year at the 2019 Women in Architecture (WIA) Awards at a prizegiving lunch at The Savoy in London on 1 March
The annual Women in Architecture awards, held in association with the Architects’ Journal and The Architectural Review, are in place to inspire change in the architectural profession by celebrating great design by women architects from around the world and promoting role models for young women in practice. The Architect of the Year award rewards a single recently completed project.

Sheila O’Donnell has won Architect of the Year for her work on the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, by O’Donnell + Tuomey, which one Best International Project in the RIAI Architecture Awards 2017 and was also a contender for the RIBA International Prize 2018. The scheme adds a new building, including a lecture theatre, a café, offices, classrooms and a library, to an existing structure which has been transformed with bold interventions such as a dramatic pitched glass roof and sculptural red steel staircases. The buildings adopt the city’s architecture of courtyards and rhythmic stone façades, conversing with the surrounding buildings. The university, dedicated to open minds, borders and society, is at risk of closure in Budapest following calls by the country’s president Viktor Orbán.

The practice has won many accolades in recent years included being highly commended for the RIAI Triennial Gold Medal in 2018 for the Seán O’Casey Community Centre.

“O’Donnell’s passion for the buildings of the Central European University was rewarded with an exceptionally high-quality building which she evidently fought hard for. She is a role model for young women in architecture. Sheila O’Donnell did not have to break the glass ceiling – her and John Tuomey created a new reality.” The Women in Architecture Awards jury.


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