Ireland’s Grafton Architects has been shortlisted for the 2022 European Union prize for contemporary architecture the Mies van der Rohe Award.
The award-winning practice’s Town House, Kingston University London will compete against four other projects from Spain, France, Germany and Belgium in the Architecture category.
The original list of nominees featured 532 projects completed between October 2018 and April 2021 in 41 countries. Earlier this year, the European Commission and the Mies van der Rohe Foundation announced 40 shortlisted projects and published the five finalists in late February. The winners will be announced in April, with the award ceremony in May.
A progressive new model for designing higher education buildings, with Town House, Kingston University, Grafton Architects have designed a purposefully democratic and open space. In designing the building, the architects were very aware that many of the students at Kingston are the first in their family to attend university, and this building sends an important message to them, their educators and the local community that this is a place where everyone is welcome and valued.
The Town House building’s educational vision and ethos are described as “uniquely rich and progressive with unexpected adjacencies set up by virtue of the programme. The library facility is twinned with dance studios, performance and event spaces. The building is a democratic, open infrastructure, a labyrinth of interlocking volumes, maintaining the feeling of being in one unified environment where these opposites can happily co-exist.”
This latest accolade is further international acclaim for Grafton Architects’ work. In 2021, it was awarded both the RIBA Stirling prize and an Architectural Association of Ireland Award for the Town House, Kingston University London in addition to the L’Equerre d’Argent, the most prestigious architectural honour in France, for the Toulouse School of Economics.
In 2020 the practice was awarded both the RIBA Royal Gold Medal and the Pritzker Prize for Architecture. Presented to Grafton Architects founding directors Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, the Pritzker Prize is considered the highest honour in the architectural profession.
The practice has become known for remarkable university buildings, from Bocconi University in Milan to the UTEC campus in Lima, Peru.