Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 revealed the 2021 Golden Lion and all the awards of the of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition.

The international Jury  composed by Kazuyo Sejima (president, Japan), Sandra Barclay (Peru), Lamia Joreige (Lebanon), Lesley Lokko (Ghana-Scotland), and Luca Molinari (Italy), announced the following awards.

Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates: Exhibition Wetland | Courtesy: La Biennale


2021 Golden Lion for Best National Participation to United Arab Emirates for a bold experiment which encourages us to think about the relationship between waste and production at both the local and global scales, and opens to new construction possibilities between craft and high technology.

Commissioner: Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation
Curators: Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto
Venue: Arsenale

Wetland presents an environmentally friendly saltbased cement alternative which could reduce the climate impact of the construction industry. Created from recycled industrial waste brine, the MgO cement has been hand-cast into organic shapes recalling the UAE’s traditional coral-built houses, forming a hand-built 7 x 5 meter prototype structure. The prototype is accompanied by large-scale images created by New York-based Emirati artist Farah Al Qasimi of the UAE’s UNESCO World Heritage Site-nominated sabkhas (salt flats), which provided inspiration for the research process. A virtual tour of the exhibition is available on the National Pavilion UAE website.

Alongside the UAE’s Wetland pavilion, the contributions from Russia and the Philippines were awarded special mentions.

Russian Pavilion | Courtesy: La Biennale

Special mention as National Participation to Russia for a sensitive and careful architectural renovation of a historical pavilion at the Giardini that opens it to its immediate surroundings and to the future.

Commissioner: Teresa Iarocci Mavica
Curator: Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli
Exibitors: KASA (Kovaleva and Sato Architects), Mikhail Maximov, Lion & Unicorn, Ilia Mazo, Yuliya Kozhemyako, Electric Red, Pavel Milyakov aka Buttechno, Vladmir Rannev
Exhibition design: 2050+ (Kamil Hilmi Dalkir, Camilla Morandi, Guglielmo Campeggi, Mattia Inselvini) with KASA / Kovaleva and Sato Architects
Venue: Giardini

The re-design of the Pavilion is a commitment that goes beyond an exercise of set design or simple architectural accuracy, it is an occasion to rethink the relationships that the Pavilion embodies as cultural outpost in Venice. Commissioner Teresa Iarocci Mavica, together with curator Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, have invited a collective of interdisciplinary teams — from academics to craftspeople, from designers to activists and technologists — to enter into a dialogue on the function and values of the Pavilion as a temporary institution and to reconstruct both the physical space and the societal purpose of the Pavilion, through such tools as architecture, electronic music, underground cinema, environmental practices and food.

Special mention as National Participation to Philippines for this exemplary community project that creates a rich archive and experience of collaborative construction practices.

Structures of Mutual Support
Commissioner: National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso, Chairman;
Curators/Exibitors: Framework Collaborative (GK Enchanted Farm Community,
Architects Sudarshan Varsovia Khadka Jr. and Alexander Eriksson Furunes)
Venue: Arsenale

2021 Golden Lion for the best participant in the 17th Exhibition How will we live together? to raumlaborberlin (Berlin, Germany) for an inspiring collaborative approach that argues for participation, regeneration and collective responsibility, resulting in two projects that are a model for imaginative civic revitalization.

(Berlin, Germany)
Instances of Urban Practice
Andrea Hofmann (Germany, 1969), Axel Timm (Germany, 1973), Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius (Germany, 1968), Christof Mayer (Germany, 1967), Florian Stirnemann (Swiss, 1976),
Francesco Apuzzo (Italy, 1972), Frauke Gerstenberg (Germany, 1968),
Jan Liesegang (Germany, 1968) and Markus Bader (Germany, 1968)
Venue: Corderie of the Arsenale


2021 Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the 17th Exhibition How will we live together? to Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST) (Amsterdam, The Netherlands; New York, USA) for a daring proposal that invites us to think about divided histories, agricultural practices, rituals of daily life and the realities of settlement and occupation.

Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST)
(Amsterdam, The Netherlands; New York, USA)
Watermelons, Sardines, Crabs, Sands, and Sediments: Border Ecologies and the Gaza Strip
with contributions by Amir Qudaih (Palestine, 1993) and the Qudaih family (Palestine),
Yael Berda (Israeli, 1976), Sandra Kassenaar (Dutch, 1982),
and Malkit Shoshan (Israeli/ Dutch, 1976)
Venue: Central Pavilion – Giardini

Special mention to the participant in the 17th Exhibition How will we live together? to Cave_bureau (Nairobi, Kenya) for an imaginative and creative exploration of one of man’s oldest living environments.

(Nairobi, Kenya)
The Anthropocene Museum: Exhibit 3.0 Obsidian Rain
Kabage Karanja (Kenya, 1979) and Stella Mutegi (Kenya, 1979),
in collaboration with Densu Moseti (Kenya, 1986)
Venue: Central Pavilion – Giardini

Furthermore, Lina Bo Bardi, the Italian architect, designer, scenographer, artist and critic naturalized as a Brazilian citizen, is the recipient of the Special Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in memoriam of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. The acknowledgment was recommended by Hashim Sarkis, curator of the Biennale Architettura 2021, and approved by the Board of Directors of La Biennale di Venezia.



Cover image courtesy: La Biennale di Venezia