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Honorary Membership of the RSUA

18 October 2019

Honorary Membership of the RSUA

Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey receive Honorary Membership of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects.

Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey founded their practice together in Dublin in 1988 and since then they have been committed to both the craft of architecture and the making of a culture of architecture at home across Ireland and Internationally, at the highest level. We are fortunate that in the 30 or so years since O’Donnell and Tuomey was formed, they have contributed three buildings to our architectural landscape in Northern Ireland, at each turn raising the bar of what we might expect from a public building. The timber Blackwood Golf Club in 1994, won in competition, was followed by two Stirling Prize Shortlisted buildings, the elegant concrete An Gaeláras Irish language centre in Derry/Londonderry in 2009, and the beautiful brick Lyric Theatre here in Belfast in 2011. They have contributed to Northern Ireland, world class architecture with a sense of both permanence and familiarity that celebrates local craft, culture and people.
For students, the public, clients, policy makers and builders to be able to walk inside these places and experience at first-hand what can be achieved on our doorstep in buildings of the quality and thoughtfulness that they make, is invaluable. Embedded in Sheila and Johns work is a spirit of generosity and optimism which extends beyond the way they go about making buildings and characterises their teaching, writing, exhibitions and public talks and lectures from which many of us here tonight will have been inspired. We hope they are as pleased as we are to add this new Honorary Membership of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects to their long list of accolades!

Citation by Jane Larmour

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