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Grafton Architects Win Silver Lion at la Biennale di Venezia

Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012

(Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell of Grafton Architects, photo by Francesco Galli)

Venice, 29 August 2012 – Dublin practice Grafton Architects have been awarded the Silver Lion for a promising practice of the International Exhibition 'Common Ground' at the Venice Architecture Biennale.  Their exhibit ‘Architecture as new Geography' is located in the Central Pavilion, Giardini and explores the work of the Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha in the context of Grafton’s new project for a university in Lima, Peru.

The Golden Lion for ‘Best National Participation’ went to Japan for an engaging and worthy exhibition that develops solutions for a Community building on a post Tsunami site.  Architecture possible here? Home-for-All was commissioned by Toyo Ito with archietects Naoya Hatakeyama; Kumiko Inui; Sou Fujimoto; Akihisa Hirata. The Golden Lion for the Best Project of the Common Ground Exhibition went to Torre David / Gran Horizonte, for their 2012 Urban-Think Tank. The Jury of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia are: Wiel Arets (President, Netherlands), Kristin Feireiss (Germany), Robert A.M. Stern (USA), Benedetta Tagliabue (Italy) and Alan Yentob (Great Britain).

Grafton Architects / Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Grafton Architects used the invitation of Biennale Director David Chipperfield to show in the Central Pavilion by opening up a new conversation with an architect whose work they had long admired: Pritzker Prize winner Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Grafton Architects recently won a competition for a university in Lima, Peru (sketch above left), and looked to Mendes da Rocha’s work for cues on how to build for the particular climatic conditions of this place. After a dialogue with the Brazilian architect, Grafton made models of selected works focusing on his seminal Serra Dourada Stadium, 1973 (shown above): an homage that becomes a piece of design research for the idea of the university as an 'arena of learning', working with Mendes da Rocha’s idea of architecture as new geography. This exhibition demonstrates how openness to influence is a starting point, and a prerequisite for good architecture. In this sense, this room exemplifies the theme of this year’s biennale - Common Ground.The exhibition was realised with the additional support of: Universidad de Ingeniería & Tecnología – UTEC, Lima, Peru, Culture Ireland. Models of the projects were made in Irish and French limestone by sculptor Eileen MacDonagh, and by Grafton Architects with the support of UCD.

(Photos below of the installation and the team at Grafton Architects by Alice Clancy)



Categories: Architecture | Exhibitions | Practice

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