Brazil Wins the Golden Lion for Best National Participation at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale
The Brazilian Pavilion titled Terra [Earth], curated by Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares won the Golden Lion for Best National Participation at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale. Selected by a jury comprising Italian architect and curator Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli as president, Nora Akawi, Thelma Golden, Tau Tavengwa, and Izabela Wieczorek, the winning intervention at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale “proposes to rethink the past in order to design possible futures, bringing to the fore actors forgotten by the architectural canons, in dialogue with the curatorship of the edition, Laboratory of the Future”.
Broadcasted live on the Biennale’s official page, the ceremony taking place at Ca’Giustinian, the headquarters of La Biennale di Venezia, also awarded the Golden Lion for Best Participant in the International Exhibition The Laboratory of the Future“, to DAAR (Alessandro Petti + Sandi Hilal), while the Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the International Exhibition The Laboratory of the Future went to Olalekan Jeyifous. Other recognitions included a special mention to Thandi Loewenson, to Wolff Architects, Ilze Wolff, and Heinrich Wolff, to Twenty Nine Studio / Sammy Baloji, and to the national pavilion of Great Britain, titled “Dancing Before the Moon” curated by Jayden Ali, Joseph Henry, Meneesha Kellay, and Sumitra Upham.
Curated by Lesley Lokko, the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale, which opens to the public today on the 20th of May 2023, and runs until the 26th of November, 2023, also presented the Special Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, awarded to Nigerian-born artist, designer, and architect Demas Nwoko. The decision was taken at the recommendation of the exhibition curator, Lesley Lokko, and was approved by La Biennale’s Board of Directors chaired by Roberto Cicutto.
The 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale Opens to the Public on May 20th
Read on to discover more information about the 3 main winners.
Golden Lion for Best National Participation
Pavilion of Brazil: Terra [Earth]/ Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares
“It is an invitation to think about the Earth as both an ancestral and future technology. It is an invitation to contemplate how we can associate this with today’s technologies and construct in a more respectful manner towards the environment”, explains Gabriela de Matos, curator of the Brazil Pavilion to ArchDaily.
Terra responds to the theme of this edition by proposing an exhibition that starts from the earth as the founding motif of the conceptions, imaginaries, and narratives of national formation. It reflects on Brazil’s past, present, and future, with a focus on earth as the center of discussion, both as a poetic and a concrete element in the exhibition space. By covering the entire pavilion with soil, visitors have direct contact with indigenous and quilombola traditions and with the Candomblé religious practice. The exhibition demonstrates what several scientific research has proven: indigenous and quilombola lands are the most preserved territories in Brazil. It points to a post-climate change future where “decolonization” and “decarbonization” come hand in hand. Their practices, technologies, and customs related to land management and production, as other ways of making and understanding architecture, are situated on land and carry with them the ancestral knowledge to re-signify the present and envision other futures, not only for human communities but also for non-human ones, towards another planetary future.
In our curatorial project, we seek to perceive these territories in a different way from the hegemonic canonical narrative, bringing forth the ancestral presence of quilombola and indigenous populations that have occupied these territories long before. Therefore, telling other stories also means challenging the canonical narratives, which is why we exhibit Brasília once again. A project that has already been extensively showcased but presented here from a different perspective, enabling us to look at the same history with a gaze that allows for other interpretations. — Paulo Tavares, curator of the Brazil Pavilion.
Golden Lion for Best Participant in The Laboratory of the Future
DAAR (Alessandro Petti + Sandi Hilal)
DAAR’s contribution to The Laboratory of the Future explores the possibilities of critical reappropriation, reuse, and subversion of fascist colonial architecture and its modernist legacy. The work is an attempt to profane the rural settlement of Borgo
Rizza (Syracuse, Sicily), built in 1940 by the Ente di Colonizzazione del Latifondo Siciliano (ECLS, Entity of Colonisation of Sicilian Latifundia). Its function was to reclaim, modernize, and repopulate Sicily, which the fascist regime considered backward, underdeveloped, and ‘empty”. A similar architectural blueprint was adopted by fascist colonial urban planning in Libya, Somalia, Eritrea, and Ethiopia around the same time. The installation is a scaled reproduction of the village’s main building façade, which the artists deconstructed into fifteen multi-purpose modules that since May 2022 have been engaging conversations with different sites (Mostra d’Oltremare in Naples, Hansaviertel district in Berlin, and La Loge museum in Brussels).
Silver Lion for a promising young participant in The Laboratory of the Future
To repair the damage done to the African continent’s ecoregions by former colonial powers, the African Conservation Effort (ACE) applied Indigenous knowledge systems to developing advanced networks that synthesised renewable energy and green technologies. Chief amongst these was the All-Africa Protoport (AAP). AAP is now a network of sprawling low-impact, zero-emissions travel complexes situated off the coasts of major ports throughout the world. Until recently, there were twelve AAPs located in the following cities: Lagos, Mombasa, Port Said, Dar es Salaam, Durban, Salvador de Bahia, New York, Los Angeles, Port-Au- Prince, Barranquilla, Havana, and Montego Bay. A new AAP complex completed in 1972, unlike its coastal counterparts, is embedded somewhat controversially in the Barotse Floodplain in Zambia’s Western Province. The Barotse Floodplain’s AAP imaginary lounge is ACE/AAP presented in The Laboratory of the Future.
In the latest edition of the Biennale, in 2021, the United Arab Emirates was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation with Wetland curated by Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, a contribution that explores the local geography of the United Arab Emirates to find alternatives to cement, one of the key emitters of the world’s carbon dioxide. The Golden Lion for Best Participant in the International Exhibition How will we live together? went to RAUMLABORBERLIN- Instances of Urban Practice while the Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the International Exhibition How will we live together? went to Border Ecologies and the Gaza Strip- Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST). Other recognitions included a special mention for the national participation of the Philippines and Russia, and to Cave_bureau for the Anthropocene Museum: Exhibit 3.0 Obsidian Rain.
Info via la Biennale Architettura 2023.
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