To the architect Lina Bo Bardi the special Golden Lion in memory

Awarded Italian naturalized Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi the Special Golden Lion in Memory. Her own Museu de Arte de São Paulo.

The special Golden Lion in Memory of the 17th. International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (from May 22, 2021) goes to Lina Bo Bardi (Rome, 1914 - São Paulo, 1992), an Italian architect, designer, set designer, artist and critic naturalized Brazilian

The award was proposed by Hashim Sarkis, curator of the Architecture Biennale 2021, with this motivation: “If there is an architect who better than any other represents the theme of the Architecture Biennale 2021 this is Lina Bo Bardi. Her career as a designer, editor, curator and activist reminds us of the architect’s role as a coordinator as well as, importantly, as a creator of collective visions. Lina Bo Bardi also embodies the architect’s tenacity in difficult times, whether characterized by war, political conflict or immigration, and her ability to retain creativity, generosity and optimism in all circumstances.” “Prominent among his works,” he recalls, "are imposing buildings that with their design combine architecture, nature, life and community. In his hands, architecture effectively becomes a form of social art capable of fostering encounter. The highest example of this attitude is the design of the Museum of São Paulo, emblematic for its ability to create a public space for the entire city, to create flexible interior spaces and to be suitable for hosting experimental and inclusive exhibitions, such as those of Bo Bardi herself. The titles of the exhibitions held there(The House as Soul, The Dignity of Architecture, The Hand of the Brazilian People) alone are worth very effectively illustrating architecture’s ability to bring people together."

“The Special Memorial Golden Lion to Lina Bo Bardi,” he concludes, “represents recognition, long overdue, of a prestigious career developed between Italy and Brazil and of a contribution aimed at reconsidering the role of the architect as facilitator of sociality. Finally, it represents a tribute to a woman who simply represents the architect in its best sense.”

Achillina Bo, known as Lina, was born in Rome in 1914. She graduated in architecture in 1939 and moved to Milan where she met Gio Ponti. In 1944 she is co-director of Domus with Carlo Pagani and with the support of Bruno Zevi creates the weekly A - News, Architecture, Housing, Art. In 1947 Lina moved to Brazil with her husband Pietro Maria Bardi. Between 1957 and 1969 she built the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP): a large concrete and glass parallelepiped that would become one of the most iconic buildings of Brazilian paulista architecture. Among his best-known projects is his São Paulo home, the Casa de Vidro, a modernist glass box built on a hillside surrounded by tropical forest. Between 1977 and 1986 he built the SESC - Fábrica da Pompéia, a gigantic social, recreational, cultural and sports center. Between 1980 and 1994 she works at Teatro Oficina subverting the spatial hierarchies of bourgeois theater. Lina Bo Bardi’s was thearchitecture of civil commitment, an architecture understood as a collective service, free from the dictates of a school of thought; an architecture that was modern and ancient at the same time, popular, vernacular and cultured, artisanal and not industrial, respectful of traditions but also innovative. After his death in 1992, the memory and recognition of his work is entrusted to the Instituto Bardi.

The latter, deeply honored and grateful, said following the news, "We thank La Biennale di Venezia for its vision in recognizing today a generous and multifaceted woman who reached so many people in her lifetime and will continue to be an inspiration to many generations to come. In her life and through her extraordinary work, Lina Bo Bardi consistently addressed the central question of this year’s International Architecture Exhibition: How will we live together? Unfortunately, as it has been for public spaces around the world, the global pandemic has undermined the enjoyment of the iconic places she designed in Brazil that have served communities and citizens for decades. In this sense, the receipt of this award reaffirms the responsibility of the Instituto Bardi to convey to the public the importance of the archival materials and the lifelong work of the Bardi couple, thus animating a meaningful discourse on the social role of built space."

“We hope,” the institution concludes, “that the 2021 edition of the Architecture Biennale, rather than enhancing Lina Bo Bardi’s popularity as an architectural icon, will help contextualize and communicate even better the depth of her critical worldview. Always caring for those culturally less represented, always aware of the importance of diversity in art and architecture, and committed to a multidisciplinary approach to an architecture that holds together people from all walks of life.”

The Special Memorial Golden Lion was previously awarded to Japanese architect Kazuo Shinohara in 2010, at the suggestion of Kazuyo Sejima, curator of that year’s Architecture Biennale.

To the architect Lina Bo Bardi the special Golden Lion in memory
To the architect Lina Bo Bardi the special Golden Lion in memory

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