Six international participants featured in this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale were awarded for their respective work and contributions at the festival, directed by this year's Pritzker Prize winner, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena.
The Golden Lion for Best National Participation was given to Spain’s project, “Unfinished.” Designed and co-created by Spanish architects Iñaqui Carnicero and Carlos Quintáns, the project consists of four areas that each visually depict the country's housing boom, and subsequent crisis, in various visual mediums such as video and photography. The exhibition spaces include several steel frames, either hanging vertically or arranged in a house-like structure, and a grouping of cardboard boxes neatly arranged to project a video on it.
Japan and Peru were each given special mentions in the same category for their projects. Curated by Yoshiyuki Yamana, the Japanese pavilion, “en : art of nexus,” focuses on the neoliberalist social conditions faced by Japan's younger generations due to the aftermath of both the tsunami and current financial crisis. Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse, the curators of the Peruvian pavilion, were noted for their ability to call attention to architecture from a remote part of the world while keeping the Amazonian culture intact within their project titled, “Our Amazon Frontline.”
A Golden Lion for Best Participation in this year’s event was awarded to Paraguayan firm Gabinete de Arquitectura, comprised of Solano Benítez and Gloria Cabral, for the designers’ ability to command structural ingenuity with simple materials, subsequently elevating architecture within underserved communities in South America.
The Silver Lion, recognizing a budding, young architect, was given to Amsterdam-based firm NLÉ, which is led by Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi. The jury noted how Adeyemi's work has the ability to elevate the importance of education, citing examples such as the Makoko Floating School in Lagos, Nigeria.
Brazilian architect and Pritzker Prize laureate Paulo Mendes da Rocha recieved the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award on May 28, an honor which noted his trailblazing work in Brazilian brutalism.
The international jury of the 15th iteration includes jury president Hashim Sarkis, principal of Hashim Sarkis Studios headquartered in both Cambridge, Mass., and Beirut, Lebanon; Italian architect, critic, and professor Pippo Ciorra, in Rome; Colombian politician Sergio Fajardo, in Medellín, Colombia; Marisa Moreira Salles, founder of architecture and urban planning think-tank Arq.Futuro, in São Paulo, Brazil; and Karen Stein, a writer, architectural advisor, and former Phaidon Press editorial director, in New York.