Shane de Blacam awarded the 2023 Royal Academy Architecture Prize

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Shane de Blacam awarded the 2023 Royal Academy Architecture Prize
Munster Technological University Cork. 3 Buildings. Administration, Tourism & Hospitality, Student Centre. Appointment MUT with BBMOC. Classroom Kitchens. photograph by Peter Cook.

LONDON.- The Royal Academy of Arts has announced that Dublin-based architect Shane de Blacam has been awarded the 2023 Royal Academy Architecture Prize, honouring his inspiring contribution to architecture. To mark the fifth year of the annual prize, which is supported by the Dorfman Foundation, the distinguished international jury has recognised de Blacam for his commitment to communal spaces for learning, exchange and contemplation. The jury said “de Blacam’s buildings demonstrate a pleasure in simple local materials, combining loadbearing masonry and joinery. In both new buildings and sensitive historic restorations, de Blacam’s practice reminds us of the power of craftsmanship to create spaces where we can come together for stillness and reflection. His work has been a powerful influence on contemporary Irish architecture, and he is an inspirational figure for those he has taught and worked with.”

The jury also selected the finalists for the Royal Academy Dorfman Award, which celebrates new ideas and practices that highlight the future potential of architecture. The winner will be announced on 2 November 2023 during Royal Academy Architecture Awards Week and will receive £10,000 prize money to support the development of their practice.

The four practices are:

• Harquitectes (Spain)
• COMUNAL (Mexico)
• Taller Gabriela Carrillo (Mexico)
• Tropical Space (Vietnam)

Chaired by Royal Academician, founder of Níall McLaughlin Architects and Professor of Architectural Practice at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, Níall McLaughlin RA, jury members include architect Farshid Moussavi RA, fashion designer Roksanda Ilinčić, artist Eva Rothschild RA, architect Sumayya Vally and Head of Architecture and Drue Heinz Curator at the RA, Vicky Richardson.
The Royal Academy Dorfman Award finalists will convene in London during Royal Academy Architecture Awards Week, a public celebration of architecture at the Royal Academy in London, taking place 30 October – 3 November 2023. Following a week of public events and private jury sessions, the winner will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony that will also mark the official investiture of Shane de Blacam as a Royal Academy Architecture Prize-winner.

Shane de Blacam, RA Architecture Prize winner said: “The first architect of the Royal Academy, William Chambers, built a masterpiece that he never saw, a small building north of Dublin city called the Casino, completed in the late eighteenth century. I have learnt all that I know and love about that period of European architecture from this building. On behalf of myself and the young architects at the practice, as well as partners John Meagher and Andy Richardson, and all those who designed and drew our buildings, we are humbled, grateful and honoured to be recognised in the company of painters, sculptors and others, at the Royal Academy in London.”

Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE, Trustee of the Royal Academy Development Trust and Founding Partner of the Awards, said: “The awards continue to reflect excellence internationally and show us what the future of architecture might be. I congratulate Shane de Blacam for the RA Architecture Prize and the RA Dorfman Award finalists who demonstrate imaginative and diverse ways of practising architecture in different parts of the world. We look forward to welcoming the finalists and Shane de Blacam to London in October for Royal Academy Architecture Awards Week. “

Vicky Richardson, Head of Architecture and Heinz Curator at the Royal Academy said: “The RA Architecture Prize is a chance to discover the work of an architect whose dedication to practice has been sustained and inspirational. Shane de Blacam’s buildings show us the power of architecture to bring people together in spaces that are generous and beautiful. The RA Dorfman Award finalists each represent distinct approaches to some of the most pressing challenges of our time, from climate change to socially produced habitats.”

Shane de Blacam

Shane de Blacam received his undergraduate education at the School of Architecture, University College Dublin (1963-68) and his post graduate degree at the School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania (1969-70). In London, he worked for a short time with Chamberlain, Powell and Bon. In Philadelphia, he worked with Louis I. Kahn for two years on the Mellon Centre for British Art and British Studies at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

de Blacam formed the architectural practice de Blacam and Meagher with John Meagher in 1976. Meagher and de Blacam shared a friendship and close exchange of criticism and drawings, as well as design responsibility for the work of de Blacam and Meagher until John died in early 2021.

The practice has been awarded the Gold Medal and five Silver Medals for architecture and conservation, including the Gandon Medal of the Royal institute of the Architects of Ireland. He is also a member of AOSDANA, a Government of Ireland institution that honours achievement in art.

Royal Academy Architecture Awards Week Events Shane de Blacam
2023 Royal Academy Architecture Prize Lecture
Tuesday 31st October 2023, 6.30 – 8pm
Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Royal Academy of Arts
Shane de Blacam’s carefully crafted buildings have influenced some of the most important examples of contemporary Irish Architecture. Join this special lecture in celebration of the 2023 RA Architecture Prize Winner.

Royal Academy Architecture Awards Ceremony
Thursday 2nd November 2023, 6.30 – 8pm
Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Royal Academy of Arts
The 2023 RA Architecture Awards bring together the most exciting architectural talent from around the world. Hear from the RA Dorfman Award finalists and be the first to find out who has won the award.

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