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


O’Donnell + Tuomey’s Sheila O’Donnell was named Architect of the Year at the 2019 Women in Architecture (WIA) Awards at aprizegiving lunch 1 March at The Savoy in London.

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.

The Architect of the Year shortlist also included Eva Prats, co-founder of Flores & Prats, for Casal Balaguer Cultural Centre in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, by Flores & Prats and Duch-Pizà, Ellen van Loon, partner at OMA, for the Qatar National Library in Doha by OMA, and Carme Pigem, co-founder of RCR Arquitectes, for De Krook Library in Ghent, Belgium, by RCR Arquitectes and Coussée & Goris Architecten.

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 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.

“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