Canada Scores at the World Cup of Architecture
In the sporting world, all eyes are on Brazil, but as architects our focus has been on Italy and the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia which kicked off last week.
As a celebration of Architecture that dates back to 1980, the International Architecture Exhibition has become a festival staple of La Biennale di Venezia, along with film, art, dance and music. The Venice Biennale has for over a century established itself as one of the most prestigious cultural institutions and exhibitions in the world and boasts an annual attendance of almost 400,000. Running until November 23rd, this year’s Architecture Biennale is titled Fundamentals, and is curated by Rem Koolhaas who has encouraged pavilion curators, artists and exhibitors to dig deep into the archives of architecture, to showcase the overlooked details of architectural design and to find new ways to reflect on its future.
Canada has played an important role at the Biennale this year. The national pavilion entry, Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15, which celebrates the Canadian arctic territory’s 15th birthday and explores the adaptive innovation of modernity and architecture in extreme climates, was awarded a special mention by the festival jury.
And in further recognition of Canadian excellence, the Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to Canadian architect, custodian and civic activist, Phyllis Lambert. As the founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, her lifelong contribution to international and Canadian architecture has been prodigious. While Director of Planning for the Seagram Building in New York, she was instrumental in commissioning Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as its architect, and it has become one of the most notable 20th century buildings in New York City. Lambert’s vision, influence and courage were summed up by Koolhaas, who noted that “[She] combines rare vision with rare generosity to preserve crucial episodes of architecture’s heritage and to study them under ideal conditions. Architects make architecture; Phyllis Lambert made architects.”
[Top Image: Phyllis lambert receiving the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2014 Venice Biennale, with Rem Koolhaas (left) and Paolo Baratta (right). © Italo Rondinella. Courtesy: la Biennale di Venezia (CNW Group/Canadian Centre for Architecture)]