AAI Lecture: Jennifer Frewen + Laura O'Brien

Wed Apr 17 2024 at 07:00 pm to 08:30 pm

Irish Georgian Society | Dublin 2

Architectural Association of Ireland
Publisher/HostArchitectural Association of Ireland
AAI Lecture: Jennifer Frewen + Laura O'Brien
The AAI is delighted to present a talk by Jennifer Frewen of Takero Shimazaki Architects, and Laura O'Brien of James Gorst Architects
About this Event
Event Photos

With the access provided by digital and social media providing immediate knowledge of the what and the where of architectural projects, the lecture as a presented portfolio of finished work is almost obsolete.

Almost exactly five years ago, Thomas O'Brien (t o b architect) and David Leech (David Leech
Architects) presented a joint AAI talk. Their starting point was the New York Correspondance (sic) School "NYCS" ; Ray Johnson's mail-art practice that involved an exchange of conceptual images created by the artist and mailed to his wide network of friends and collaborators, with instructions like 'Please send to..' or 'Please add to and return...'

Each responding to content produced by the other, it was a loose framework of exchange, within which architectural/design tools of visual imagery and responsive collaboration revealed the practice of each speaker in a potentially more interesting way than a portfolio of completed buildings.

At the end of February this year, four finalists in the W Awards’ MJ Long Prize for Excellence in Practice were announced. The prize, named in memory of architect MJ Long, is now in its fifth year, and celebrates architects who are excelling in practice. It is open to architects working for UK-based practices and is judged on an overall body of work but with an emphasis on a recently completed project.

Ireland can claim two of the four finalists; Jennifer Frewen of Takero Shimazaki Architects, nominated for the new global headquarters of Royal Academy of Dance in London, and Laura O’Brien of James Gorst Architects, nominated for her work on Castle Community Rooms, a timber-framed flexible community space in Suffolk. In March, at a ceremony hosted by the CCA in Montreal, Frewen was announced as the winner.

The AAI is delighted to present ‘Correspondance’, a discursive exchange that facilitates engagement with the how and the why of architectural practice, where Frewen and O'Brien will discuss common influences that shape their work, ideas of economy and dialogue, and their trajectories in practice.

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Jennifer Frewen - Takero Shimazaki Architects

Jennifer is an Associate Director at Takero Shimazaki Architects. She is a graduate of TUD, (formerly Dublin Institute of Technology) and is involved with the direction and delivery of the majority of t-sa’s cultural and education projects. Jennifer was awarded the MJ Long Prize for Excellence in Practice 2024. The award recognised the expansive body of work realised at t-sa over fifteen years, including the recent completion of the new global headquarters for Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), a project which Jennifer led from 2018 through concept to completion in2022. In his review for the March issue of the Architectural Review, Nile Bridgeman praised the building's ‘architecture of deftness and depth’ and the ‘clarity and calm’ of its design.

Other significant projects include the Curzon Bloomsbury and Curzon Camden cinemas, the latter of which was also completed in 2022, and achieved an RIBA London Award, for the "playful yet sober and sophisticated response to this highly unusual context, as well as by the skill with which the ‘found’ spaces and ‘modest’ materials are used to highlight the insertion of a new reality into an existing industrial building fabric."

In 2016, Jennifer was awarded RIBA Project Architect of the Year in the East Midlands region for The Leicester Print Workshop, a transformation of a 1970s former glass warehouse to create new printmaking studios, library, gallery and education spaces in the city’s cultural quarter, "an exemplar exemplar of sustainable renewal in cities". Jennifer has tutored for t-sa forum and t-sa forum mini - an architecture school for children, and has also taught at the University of Nottingham and London Metropolitan University.

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Laura O’Brien - James Gorst Architects

Laura studied architecture at University College Dublin and has worked at James Gorst Architects for 12 years. She has contributed to the practice’s research into the house as a means of architectural expression, with a focus on exploring natural materials and adapting existing buildings.

In collaboration with Helen Kelly and Faela Guiden, she has participated in numerous competitions, including ‘A Space for Learning’ organised by the Irish Architecture Foundation and was awarded first prize in the Student Category in the Galway Centre Pier Ideas Competition. Before joining James Gorst Architects, Laura worked at Coady Partnership Architects in Dublin and Tham & Videgard Architects in Stockholm.

As Project Architect Laura designed Castle Community Rooms, a new community building in Framlingham, Suffolk completed in January 2023, for which she was an MJ Long Prize 2024 Finalist. The timber-framed building provides a space for the whole community to come together, offering a full and varied calendar of social events, performances, classes and clubs. Laura worked on the project for 5 years, collaborating closely with the client, community groups and stakeholders to guide it from concept design through fundraising, planning and construction.

While at James Gorst Architects, Laura has led design teams on projects at a range of scales, from new build contemporary rural dwellings to meticulous restorations of historic interiors and buildings in London. Currently she is working on a phased retrofit of Fulford Farm, a Paragraph 80 house in Oxfordshire built in local ironstone, a timber frame extension to The Lodge at Whithurst Park, a RIBA Award-winning contemporary house in Sussex and the restoration of a Grade I Listed Robert Adam house in Mayfair.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Irish Georgian Society, 58 William Street South, Dublin 2, Ireland


EUR 5.00 to EUR 10.00

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