The organizers of the Venice Architecture Biennale announced today that British architect, critic, and educator Kenneth Frampton will be honored with the Golden Lion lifetime achievement award at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, slated to begin next month. Co-curators Yvone Farrell and Shelly McNamara nominated Frampton.
“Kenneth Frampton occupies a position of extraordinary insight and intelligence combined with a unique sense of integrity. He stands out as the voice of truth in the promotion of key values of architecture and its role in society,” the duo said in a press release. “His humanistic philosophy in relation to architecture is embedded in his writing and he has consistently argued for this humanistic component throughout all the various ‘movements’ and trends often misguided in architecture in the 20th and 21st century.”
“There is no student of the faculties of architecture who is unfamiliar with his Modern Architecture: A Critical History,” said Venice Biennale president Paolo Baratta in the same release. “The Golden Lion goes this year to a maestro, and in this sense it is also intended to be a recognition of the importance of the critical approach to the teaching of architecture.”
Born in London in 1930, Frampton studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture and went on to become of the leading architecture historians of modernist architecture. He has taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation since 1972. In addition to his seminal Modern Architecture (Thames & Hudson, 1980), Frampton also wrote A Genealogy of Modern Architecture: Comparative Critical Analysis of Built Form (Lars Muller, 2015) and the essay "Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance.”
From 1961 to 1966, Frampton worked at Douglas Stephen and Partners—now DPS Architecture—in London where he designed the Corringham Building. He went on to teach at the Royal College of Art in London; ETH Zurich; the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam; the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland; and the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
“His experience as a practicing architect has given him a deep understanding of the process of designing and crafting buildings,” Farrell and McNamara wrote in their recommendation. “His consistent values in relation to the impact of architecture on society, together with his intellectual generosity, position him as a uniquely important presence in the world of architecture.”
Frampton will receive his award during the inauguration of the festival on May 26.