Grafton Architects co-founders Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara joined Swiss academic Anna Wirz-Justice in this year’s crop of laureates for the unique award, which focuses on the incorporation of daylight into theories and approaches to the built environment.
A jury comment noted the laureates’ abilities to “exemplify common themes,” adding that “not only do they represent international excellence in daylight research and practice, but they also embody a generous and humanistic spirit regarding the celebration of daylight.”
“The contribution of daylight to enhance quality of life — even to celebrate life — is an intrinsic quality of their work,” the jury’s statement continued. “It is remarkable how they have applied this humanistic approach with a depth of knowledge and breadth of intentions that belies their humble and detached vision of their works’ importance.”
The 2021 Stirling Prize and 2020 Pritzker Prize winners’ leadership was honored for their use of light as a designator of design intent and function as seen in their award-winning Kingston University Town House and various other projects across the globe.
“They use natural light to differentiate and articulate spaces of different importance, functional purpose, and experiential atmosphere,” the jury commented. “Daylight is employed in their design process as an integrated and irreplaceable quality, along with the spatial arrangement, structural frame, and technical systems.”
Additionally, Wirz-Justice was commended for her “pioneering research on how human circadian rhythms and sleep are regulated by light.” Her attempts to outline the role of light as a biological stimulus have had myriad applications in architecture, as evidenced by Grafton’s recent design for the UTEC campus in Lima, and the work of past winners Hiroshi Sambuichi and Juha Leiviskä.
Wirz-Justice and the Grafton Architects founders each received a $100,000 cash prize as part of the awards.
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