By Amy Frearson
Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has been awarded a Golden Lion for the best project on show at the Venice Architecture Biennale, while Switzerland has been lauded for curating the best pavilion.
Souto de Moura was named best participant in Freespace, the exhibition directed by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects for the 16th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale.
His project shows two aerial photographs positioned side by side. Judges said the positioning of the two images “reveals the essential relationship between architecture, time and place”.
Special mentions were also given to two other participants in the show.
Indonesian architect Andra Matin was commended for his project, which was contained within a woven bamboo structure.
Judges described it as “a sensitive installation that provides a framework to reflect on the material and form of traditional vernacular structures”.
The other commendation went to Mumbai-based architect Rahul Mehrotra, who used three projects to showcase the diversity of society in India.
According to judges, they “address issues of intimacy and empathy, gently diffusing social boundaries and hierarchies”.
Switzerland won the Golden Lion for best national participant. Its exhibition, titled Svizzera 240: House Tour, showcases the bland fittings commonly selected for new-build housing or rented apartments. These are either shrunk or enlarged, like Alice In Wonderland, to draw attention to them.
Judges called it “a compelling installation that is at once enjoyable while tackling the critical issues of scale in domestic space”.
Great Britain also received a special mention for Island, which saw Caruso St John build a wooden platform on top of the pavilion. Ahead of Brexit, the aim as to create a ” place of both refuge and exile”.
A Silver Lion was also awarded to Jan de Vylder, Inge Vinck and Jo Taillieu, for a project that looked at ways of inserting new structures inside an old building.
It was praised as “a project that possesses the confidence to which slowness and waiting allow architecture to be open to future activation”.
The awards ceremony took place in Venice today, 26 May 2018, at the Venice Biennale headquarters. It marks the first day of the event, which continues until 25 November 2018.
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