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Sheila O’Donnell

Founding Director

B Arch UCD 1976
MA Environmental Design, Royal College of Art London 1988

Sheila established O’Donnell +Tuomey with John Tuomey in 1988. She graduated from University College Dublin in 1976, when she moved to London. In 1980 she was awarded an MA in Environmental Design from the Royal College of Art London. She worked for James Stirling, Colquhoun + Miller and Spence and Webster before returning to Dublin.

In the early 1980s, with like-minded colleagues, she set up the Blue Studio Architecture Gallery which exhibited and published the work of European Rationalists as well as their own ambitious design proposals for the regeneration and repopulation of Dublin’s Docklands. In 1991, now known as Group 91, they won the competition for the urban regeneration of Temple Bar in the centre of Dublin. This cultural quarter was completed in 1996 and includes two buildings by O’Donnell+Tuomey.

Her professional work has continued to develop the spirit of architectural, social and cultural investigation which characterised her exploratory activities in the early 1980s. She has retained an involvement in the world of London architecture through teaching, external examining, exhibiting work, lecturing and as a member of the RIBA Awards group. In recent years O’Donnell+Tuomey have been commissioned to make work in London, building the Photographers’ Gallery and LSE Student Centre and are now working on a new museum for the V&A and a dance theatre and academy for Sadler’s Wells.

She has been a lecturer in Architectural design in UCD since 1981 and a Professor since 2016. She has taught and lectured at schools of Architecture in Europe, Japan and the USA, including Princeton, Michigan, Buffalo, Yale, Columbia, Syracuse and Cooper Union.

Her watercolour drawings have been exhibited in the Royal Academy and the Royal Irish Academy.

She is an Honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects. In 2009 she was elected a member of Aosdána, an affiliation of Irish Artists. In 2015 she was joint recipient with John Tuomey of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Brunner Prize, both awarded in recognition of a lifetimes work.

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