Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, the awards – UAE win the Golden Lion

United Arab Emirates Pavilion, Wetland, Golden Lion Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, Inexhibit

The Jury of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia – composed by Kazuyo Sejima (president), Sandra Barclay, Lamia Joreige, Lesley Lokko, and Luca Molinari – has officially announced the awards of this year’s edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Above: Wetland, The Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates, installation view: photo © Riccardo Bianchini / Inexhibit.

Rather surprisingly, the Golden Lion for Best National Participation, arguably the most important award, went to the United Arab Emirates, with two special mentions to the pavilions of Russia and the Philippines.

Entitled Wetland and curated by Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, the exhibition of the UAE presents an innovative, environmentally friendly cement aimed to replace Portland cement, whose impact on the environment and on CO2 emissions is notoriously high. Mostly developed in the Emirates, the new material is made of recycled industrial waste brine.
To demonstrate the possibilities of the new cement, the material was cast into organic shapes recalling the UAE’s traditional coral-built houses to create a prototype structure that has been installed in the pavilion. The prototype structure is accompanied by images by Emirati artist Farah Al Qasimi of the UAE’s UNESCO World Heritage Site-nominated sabkhas (salt flats), which provided inspiration for the research process.

As mentioned earlier, two special mentions also went to the pavilion of Russia, entitled Open, and to Structures of Mutual Support, the exhibition of the Philippines (read our coverage of the Pavilion of the Philippines here)

Philippines Pavilion Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 Inexhibit

The pavilion of the Philippines; photo © Riccardo Bianchini / Inexhibit.

Russian Pavilion, Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, Inexhibit

A view of the Russian Pavilion, photo © Riccardo Bianchini / Inexhibit.

The Golden Lion for the best participant in the 17th Exhibition How will we live together? was awarded to Instances of Urban Practice by raumlaborberlin (Berlin, Germany).
The Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the main exhibition went to Watermelons, Sardines, Crabs, Sands, and Sediments: Border Ecologies and the Gaza Strip by Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST) (Amsterdam, The Netherlands; New York, USA).

The Jury also awarded a special mention to The Anthropocene Museum: Exhibit 3.0 Obsidian Rain by Cave_bureau (Nairobi, Kenya).
Finally, the Special Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in memorial went to Italian architect and artist Lina Bo Bardi (1914-1992).


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How will we live together? 17th International Architecture Biennale, Venice

How will we live together? 17th International Architecture Biennale, Venice

How will we live together? 17th International Architecture Biennale, Venice


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