• Toyo Ito, the commissioner of the Japanese Pavilion, which won the Golden Lion award today for best national participation in the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

    Credit: Photo by Jerome Tobias, used with permission under a Creative Commons license.

    Toyo Ito, the commissioner of the Japanese Pavilion, which won the Golden Lion award today for best national participation in the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

Awards were handed out at the 13th Annual Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale this morning. Japan won the Golden Lion award for best national participation for its exhibition “Architecture Possible Here? Home-for-All,” which charged Japanese architects to propose housing solutions for the citizens of Rikuzentaka who were left homeless after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Commissioner Toyo Ito, Hon. FAIA, accepted the award for the exhibition, which consists of models of the proposed schemes displayed on wooden bases in the nation’s pavilion in the Giardini, the walls of which are lined with panoramas of the city after the disaster.

The Golden Lion for the best project of the “Common Ground” exhibition went to Urban-Think Tank for its exhibition “Torre David/Gran Horizonte,” which chronicles the creation of a new informal community and identity for the citizens of Caracas, Venezuela, who transformed abandoned and unfinished buildings into usable spaces.

The Silver Lion for a promising practice of the “Common Ground” exhibition went to Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Dublin-based Grafton Architects for their presentation of a new university campus in Lima, Peru. The jury cited connections to the ideas of Paulo Mendes da Rocha and thought that the “conceptual and spatial qualities of this installation demonstrate the considerable potential of this architectural practice in reimagining the urban landscape,” according to the press release about the awards.

This year’s jury—which was led by Wiel Arets, and also included Kristin Feireiss, Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, Benedetta Tagliabue, and Alan Yentob—also conferred four rare special jury mentions to the exhibitions from the United States (“Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good”), Poland (“Making the walls quake as if they were dilating with the secret knowledge of great powers”), Russia (i-City), and Cino Zucchi (“Copycat. Empatia e invidia come generatori di forma” at the Corderie in the Arsenale). According to the release, the jury’s decision to award the U.S. Pavilion special mention was as follows: “This interactive installation impressed the Jury with its celebration of the power of individuals to change society in small but effective ways. The unpretentiously simple presentation was a delight.”

The 13th International Architecture Exhibition officially opens to the public today.