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Irish practice Grafton Architects to curate 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale


Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, founders of Grafton Architects, have been named artistic directors of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. The duo, based in Dublin, was appointed by the biennale’s jury yesterday and the 2018 event will be only the second time that the biennale has been directed by women, following the 2010 edition that was curated by Kazuyo Sejima of Sanaa.

The president of the jury, 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 organising 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 was the recipient of the World Building of the Year award in 2008 for the Università Bocconi in Milan; a finalist for the Stirling Prize for the University of Limerick Medical School and Student Accommodation; and in 2016 UTEC University in Lima, Peru won the inaugural RIBA International Award. The firm has also reviewed the Silver Lion award at the 2012 architecture biennale where they presented alongside Paulo Mendez da Rocha.

The 16th International Architecture Exhibition will be inaugurated on Saturday, 26 May 2018.