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Frank Gehry Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at 11th International Architecture Exhibition
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles © 2008 Gehry Partners LLP.

VENICE.- The Board of the Foundation La Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, and on the proposal of the Director, Aaron Betsky, attributed the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement for the 11th International Architecture Exhibition to Frank Gehry. With this award, the desire is to stress –in line with the spirit of the 11th Architecture Biennale– how much Gehry’s work is the significant result of years of experimentation. “Frank Gehry has transformed modern architecture”; writes Aaron Betsky in his motivation. “He has liberated it from the confines of the ‘box’ and the constraints of common building practices. As experimental as the art practices that have been his inspiration, Frank Gehry’s architecture is the very modern model for an architecture beyond building”.

The International Jury of the 11th International Architecture Exhibition, presided over by Jeffrey Kipnis (USA), critic and lecturer at the University of Ohio, and comprised of: Paola Antonelli (Italy), curator of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York; Max Hollein (Austria), director of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut and of the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt; Farshid Moussavi (Iran), founder of Foreign Office Architecture in London and lecturer at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi (Italy), critic, historian and lecturer, specialized in urban planning, and a teacher of History of Contemporary Architecture at the Università di Roma La Sapienza, has decided to confer the official awards for the 11th Architecture Exhibition as follows:

Golden Lion for Best National Participation to Poland (Pavilion at Giardini) Hotel Polonia. The Afterlife of Buildings Nicolas Grospierre, Kobas Laksa
Commissioner: Agnieszka Morawińska. Curators: Grzegorz Piątek, Jarosław Trybuś Assistant Commissioner: Zofia Machnicka

Golden Lion for the Best Installation Project in the International Exhibition to Greg Lynn Form (Usa, Corderie dell’Arsenale, Installations) Recycled Toys Furniture

Silver Lion for a Promising Young Architect in the International Exhibition to Chilean group Elemental (Padiglione Italia at Giardini, Experimental Architecture)

The Awards and Opening Ceremony of the 11th International Exhibition took place on September 13th in Venice at the Teatro Piccolo Arsenale at 5 p.m. also with the conferral of the following awards:

Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Frank O. Gehry

Special Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to a historian of Architecture to James S. Ackerman on the Fifth Centennial of the birth of Andrea Palladio.

Golden Lion for Best National Participation

In the Polish pavilion, the Jury found a remarkable mix of wit, technology and intelligent speculation gathered to produce a polemic about the probable life-cycle of buildings in the context of the current problems facing cities, particularly those outside of first world economies. Hovering between art and architectural manifesto, the pavilion stimulated the imagination and interpretation of the jury members in a variety of different directions. Thus it best rose to the difficult challenge of responding to the spirit of the theme of the Biennale while evidencing an intimate loyalty to the nation it represents.

Golden Lion for the Best Installation Project in the International Exhibition

The jury found Greg Lynn’s experimental recycled-toys furniture to best embody the Biennale theme of Out There: Architecture Beyond building. The jury took interest in those projects in which experimentation took on the character of research, and thus to redirect the naïve ambition to achieve a novel solution to a difficult problem in a single daring leap toward increasing the body of knowledge and technique that the entire field can continue to develop. Though remaining at the level of a provocation rather than a prototype, the recycled-toy furniture advances the digital-form problem to a new level that intrinsically engages traditional architectural concerns such as meaning, aesthetics, and advancing fabrication technology with the recycling, an issue of broad, immediate and pressing concern.

Silver Lion for a Promising Young Architect in the International Exhibition (interpreted as the best work by a lesser known architectural practice)

The jury took note of the large number of projects by architects of every generation that showed an renewed interest in direct engagement with current real-world problems such as the environment, poverty and political strife. To encourage further development of that ethic, this prize was awarded to Elemental of Chile. The jury felt that the exhibited project showed an extraordinary mix of expert architectural intelligence in finance, construction and design with sensitivity to the local circumstance to produce a project that would not only provide low cost housing, but would hold out the real promise of a better economic future for its constituency

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September 15, 2008

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