Irish architect Sheila O’Donnell of O’Donnell + Tuomey has been named Woman Architect of the Year at the 2019 Women in Architecture Awards.

O’Donnell won the award for her design of the Central European University in Budapest, which was described by the jury as an “exceptionally high-quality building”.

Photography by Tamás Bujnovszky

“She is a role model for young women in architecture. Her and John Tuomey created a new reality,” add the jury.

O’Donnell + Tuomey architects was established by O’Donnell and her husband John Tuomey in 1988. The firm has won a number of awards, including the Downes Medal from the Architectural Association of Ireland seven times and the RIAI Gold Medal. The firm has also represented Ireland twice at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

DnA (Design and Architecture) founder, Chinese architect Xu Tiantian was also chosen as the winner of the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture at the Women in Architecture Awards. With a prize of £10,000 (AUD$18,700), the award is given each year to a female designer under the age of 45 for her achievements in the field.

Image credit: Aedes Architecture Forum

Some of Xu’s work includes a bridge connecting two communities together, a brown sugar factory, a tofu factory, the Hakka Indenture Museum and the Wang Jing Memorial Hall.

Hakka Indenture Museum. Photography by Wang Ziling

“There is an effortlessness, maturity and deftness about Xu’s work,” say the judges.

“Her projects are all deeply contextual, and executed with bravery and conviction. She is attempting to work in a sustainable way with an entrepreneurial spirit, and has clearly had a very positive impact on her client.”