Architects Journal and The Architectural Review have named O’Donnell + Tuomey co-founder Sheila O’Donnell Architect of the Year at the publications’ Women in Architecture awards. The Irish architect, who was recognized for her firm’s work on the Central European University in Budapest, beat out three finalists, including OMA partner Ellen van Loon, Flores + Prats’ Eva Prats, and recent Pritzker Prize–winner Carme Pigem of RCR Arquitectes. “O’Donnell’s passion for the buildings of Central European University was rewarded with an exceptionally high-quality building which she evidently fought hard for,” the jury said in a statement.
In 2016, O’Donnell + Tuomey added a limestone-clad building to the university’s campus in downtown Budapest. O’Donnell + Tuomey’s masterplan aims to connect a series of structures—which will house a library, a café, and an auditorium expansion—to the institution’s existing buildings and courtyards. The firm has worked with Hungary-based M-Teampannon to consolidate the university into a 376,700-square-foot campus. Several “inefficient” buildings were demolished along the process.
In addition to her most recent prize, O’Donnell, along with her husband John Tuomey, won the Royal Gold Medal for architecture in 2015. The two have also won the Architectural Association of Ireland’s Downes Medal for architectural excellence seven times. Their work on the Central European University was a contender for the Royal Institute of British Architects’ International Prize last year. With her recent project, “Sheila O’Donnell did not have to break the glass ceiling—[she] and John Tuomey created a new reality,” the WIA jury noted.