Practice not planning to bid new work while it focuses on Stratford cultural projects
O’Donnell & Tuomey co-founder Sheila O’Donnell has said the practice won't be chasing any new work until the new year in order to focus on its two landmark projects at the Olympic Park.
O’Donnell, whose practice yesterday released fresh images of V&A East, said she and partner John Tuomey had decided to put off seeking new jobs in order to focus on the the Stratford projects.
O’Donnell & Tuomey is delivering the “bookends” of the East Bank scheme, designing venues for both the V&A and Sadler’s Wells.
Speaking to BD, O’Donnell said: "At the moment we are concentrating on what we are doing. We have come to a new stage with these two buildings so we really want to focus on them and on making them as good as we can. It’s a huge thing for us.
"We now have four staff in London which means we can work very closely with the rest of the team. Having a presence here is quite important given the scale of the project.
"We’re always talking to people in Europe about competitions but we’ve just been through a phase of doing some competitions which we didn’t win. We realised then that we have something so amazing to do for the rest of the year that John and I decided we want to really put our attention into the next stage of design development for the V&A and Sadler’s Wells. They are so important and so exciting."
O'Donnell also spoke about the "distress" she and Tuomey felt over the possible eviction of the Central European University from the building the pair designed for it in the centre of Budapest.
O'Donnell described the university's potential expulsion from the project, which has been shortlisted for the RIBA International Prize 2018, as "ironic".
She said: "It’s very strange for us to have designed a building around a particular institution which now may well be evicted by the government of the country which it’s located in.
"It is odd because the university is all about democracy and democratisation of the east, so it’s really ironic they would be evicted from their house. They have up until now found having the new building to be really helpful to them in a way, giving them a sense of power and a right to stay there."
She said the last time the practice met with the university's president, Michael Ignatieff, he said the new building had given the university "a much better sense of identity", something she said she had felt very positive about.