On 30th August prizes were awarded for the long-awaited seventeenth Architecture Biennale, which asked – even in its title – How will we live together?. The prize-winning responses reflect the chorus of attitudes, choices and research that will need to be pursued in order to deal with a contemporary condition marked by difficult conditions on too many fronts.
The United Arab Emirates Pavilion, the Russian Pavilion and the Philippine Pavilion were respectively awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation and the Special Mentions at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. And again raumlaborberlin Golden Lion for the best participant in How will we live together? The FAST Silver Lion was awarded for a promising young participant.
The prizes were awarded by the international jury chaired by Kazuyo Sejima and composed of Sandra Barclay, Lamia Joreige, Lesley Lokko and Luca Molinari, who also assigned the special Golden Lion to the memory of Lina Bo Bardi and the Golden Lion to the career of Rafael Moneo.
The UAE pavilion, curated by Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, won the top prize for its “experiment that encourages us to think about the delicate relationship between waste and production”: the work on display shows innovative research on sabkhahs, the UAE’s typical natural salt marsh ecosystem, which led to imagining the use of salt for construction.
The two special mentions obtained by the Russian Pavilion, curated by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, and the Philippine Pavilion, curated by Framework Collaborative, respectively reward the great sensitivity in the renovation of the historical pavilion by Alexej Shchusev, which “opens up to the outside space and to the future” and the “exemplary community project that generates a rich archive of experiences and collaborative construction practices” carried out by Framework Collaborative at the Arsenale.
Also of great social commitment is the project presented by FAST in the Central Pavilion, which focuses on the daily life of a family living on the problematic Gaza Strip, acting as an invitation “to become aware of the divisive histories, agricultural practices, rituals of daily life and the condition of new settlements and occupation”.
Finally, the Berlin collective raumlaborberlin is exhibiting two of its projects, the Floating University and the Haus der Statistik in Berlin, showing how processes triggered through architecture are powerful tools for action on a social scale, demonstrating “an inspiring collaborative design approach that invites participation and collective responsibility”.