Last Thursday I presented my thesis alongside three other RIBA Medal winners to 100 members of the public. If that wasn’t terrifying enough, our work was up for critique by the 2020 Royal Gold Medal winners, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.
Their formidable reputation didn’t fail, and everybody – presenters and public alike – were caught in awe of their galvanising passion, encouragement and questioning over the course of the afternoon.
Their rooted, humble approach was evident during the evening dinner where, upon receiving their own medal, over 50 members of their practice, Grafton Architects, stood-up in recognition of their group efforts, loyalty and love.
It was a fascinating day, one shaped by real-life questioning, ethical practices, education and parity. A turning point, we can hope, in the nature of architectural academic ‘success’ as something beyond the abilities of illustration, but something embedded socially/ecologically/environmentally.
Also unprecedented was the medal line-up – all four categories from Dissertation, Bronze, Silver and Gold – were awarded to women.