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A Great Week for Construction #IWD2020

It has been a great week for Irish construction


Grafton Architects


First things first; our hearty congratulations go out to Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, founders and principals of Grafton Architects, on winning the coveted 2020 Pritzker prize. Without exception, this is global architecture’s highest honour. Established in 1979 by the Hyatt Foundation, the award honours an architect or team of architects whose work has made a significant contribution to humanity and the built environment. They are the first Ireland-based architects to win this award. In fact, this great accolade has only been achieved by one other Irish person; back in 1982, Kevin Roche was recognised for his contribution to US architecture.


Yvonne and Shelley have worked In practice together since the late 1970s and their firm is no stranger to international awards. Together they won the inaugural World Building of the Year award in 2008 for Grafton’s Bocconi University faculty building in Milan and it was big news for Ireland when they were selected for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.


Their most recent win was announced in Chicago earlier this week by the Hyatt Foundation, who described the incredible strength of Yvonne and Shelley’s work by praising its responsiveness to local context and, crucially, its sense of responsibility in this era of climate change.


For the week that is in it, and on International Women’s Day, it is significant that they were described as “Pioneers in a field that has traditionally been and still is a male-dominated profession, they are also beacons to others as they forge their exemplary professional path


For their integrity in their approach to both their buildings, as well as the way they conduct their practice, their belief in collaboration, their generosity towards their colleagues… their unceasing commitment to excellence in architecture, their responsible attitude toward the environment, their ability to be cosmopolitan while embracing the uniqueness of each place in which they work, for all these reasons and more, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are awarded the 2020 Pritzker Architecture Prize.




Earlier this week the CIF announced a whopping 76% increase in women working in the industry. 5,400 women have joined the industry since late 2017, which sees the number of females working in construction grow to 12,500, representing 8.5 percent of the total industry workforce. While that is still not enough, it is an important start. 


There is no reason we should not aim to double the number of women in the industry from 12,500 to 25,000 in the next three to five years.” CIF


In order to keep this momentum going, the CIF has committed to increasing the visibility of women working in construction and has launched a Building Equality billboard campaign for International Women’s Day on March 8th. The billboards feature six women who work in construction across various sectors alongside the line “We Are Construction.”

We Are Construction 2020


From left to right the women featured are:

Sally Jean Doherty, Apprentice Carpenter and Joiner, Sisk; Patricia Power, Quantity Surveyor and Project Manager; Glorence Makharinge, Site Engineer, Marlet Property Group; Carole Smillie, Project Manager, Bennett Property; Nellie Reid, Managing Director, Meehan Green; Jean Winters, Director of Industrial Relations and Employment Services, CIF.

Their stories are available on:


CIF International Women’s Day Event


Following on from the success of the Federation’s previous events as part of the #BuildingEquality campaign launched in 2017, the CIF hosted its 4th annual IWD Breakfast Seminar in the spectacular Dunboyne Castle Hotel earlier this morning. This event celebrated the achievements of women in the construction industry and heard from inspirational speakers including: Roni Savage, Caroline Geoghegan and Gillian Murtagh. It was an enjoyable and informative gathering, with attendees optimistic about the future potential of the construction industry as a career. Your Construction Delivery Partner: Expect More.