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Urban Think Tank wins Golden Lion

Switzerland-based Urban Think Tank with Justin McGuirk has won the top prize for its exhibition at the Venice Biennale

Judged by a panel including US architect Robert Stern and BBC creative director Alan Yentob, the prize was awarded for the collaboration’s project exploring the squatted, half-built Torre David skyscraper in Venezuela.

According to the citation: ‘An informal community created a new home and a new identity by occupying Torre David and did so with flair and conviction. This initiative can be seen as an inspirational model acknowledging the strength of informal societies.’

Torre David - study by Urban Think Tank and Justin McGuirk

Source: Iwan Baan/Lars Müller Publishers

Torre David - study by Urban Think Tank and Justin McGuirk

The prize for best national participation went to the Japan Pavilion which featured a collaboration between Toyo Ito, young architects and local communities focussing on rebuilding the country following recent earthquakes.

The citation said: ‘The presentation and the storytelling in the Pavilion are exceptional and highly accessible to a broad audience. The jury was impressed with the humanity of this project.’

Meanwhile, Dublin-based Grafton Architects bagged a silver lion prize for being the most promising practice.

The award was given ‘for their impressive presentation of a new University campus in Lima, connecting to the ideas of Paulo Mendes da Rocha.’

The citation said: ‘The jury believes that the conceptual and spatial qualities of this installation demonstrate the considerable potential of this architectural practice in reimagining the urban landscape.’

Special mentions were also given to the Polish, Russian and US pavilions and for the Cino Zucchi exhibition.


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