Belfast Telegraph

Married architects handed top award

Irish husband and wife John Tuomey and Sheila O'Donnell have won top architecture award the 2015 Royal Gold Medal.

Approved by the Queen, previous winners have included luminaries such as Frank Gehry, Sir Norman Foster, Frank Lloyd Wright and Sir George Gilbert Scott.

O'Donnell and Tuomey are best known for the Photographers' Gallery in Soho and the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics, which was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize.

The married couple first made their name contributing to the regeneration of Dublin's Temple Bar area, working on the Irish Film Institute.

Their early work also included schools, public housing and community buildings.

They said in a statement: "We're delighted to have been chosen for this unexpected honour.

"We're humbled to find ourselves in such a company of heroes, architects whose work we have studied and from whose example we continue to learn.

"We believe in the social value and the poetic purpose of architecture and the gold medal encourages us to prevail in this most privileged and complicated career."

Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) president Stephen Hodder said the duo's work was "always inventive" and "striking yet so well considered" and "beautifully crafted".

He added: "Sheila and John are at the vanguard of contemporary Irish architecture and I am delighted they are to receive this lifetime honour."

Their architectural practice based in Dublin, O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects, has been shortlisted for the Riba Stirling Prize a record five times.

Their work also includes Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School in Dublin, Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork, and the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

The couple, among the youngest recipients of the prize, will be presented with the 2015 Royal Gold Medal at a ceremony in London in February next year.

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