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Phyllis Lambert to receive Golden Lion at Venice Biennale

Phyllis Lambert, founding director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, will be awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale next month

Judges praised Lambert’s ‘huge contribution’ to architecture, noting her work as an architect, author, scholar, conservationist and critic.

As director of planning for the Seagram Building in New York, Lambert was influential in bringing Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe onto the project, creating what Rem Koolhaas, director of this year’s Venice Biennale called ‘one of the few realisations in the 20th century of perfection on earth’.

After Seagram, Phyllis founded the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 1979, while her publications include works on photography, preservation and critical texts on Montreal and New York and numerous essays.

Lambert’s work has seen her win a number of awards including the Gold Medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the AIA Award of Honor and the Jane Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Urban Institute. She is an honorary fellow of the RIBA and holds 27 honorary degrees from universities in Europe and North America

‘Not as an architect, but as a client and custodian, Phyllis Lambert has made a huge contribution to architecture,’ said Koolhaas. ‘Without her participation, one of the few realizations on the 20th century of perfection on earth – the Seagram Building in New York – wold not have happened.’

‘Her creation of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal combines rare vision with rare generosity to preserve crucial episodes of architecture’s heritage and to study them under ideal conditions.’

He added: ‘Architects make architecture; Phyllis Lambert made architects…’

Lambert will be awarded the Golden Lion on Saturday 7 June during the opening ceremony of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition.

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