Rem Koolhaas names Phyllis Lambert as
Venice Biennale Golden Lion recipient


Phyllis Lambert awarded Golden Lion for Venice Architecture Biennale

Venice Architecture Biennale 2014: architect and philanthropist Phyllis Lambert is to be awarded the Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Architecture Biennale next month.

Lambert, who is best known as the founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, will receive the accolade in recognition of her role in the advancement and promotion of contemporary architecture.

She played a seminal role in the construction of Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building in 1958, and has also served as an author, lecturer, conservationist and critic.

"Not as an architect, but as a client and custodian, Phyllis Lambert has made a huge contribution to architecture," said Rem Koolhaas, who is director of the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Phyllis Lambert awarded Golden Lion for Venice Architecture Biennale
Philip Johnson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Phyllis Lambert with an image of the proposed Seagram building, New York, 1955

"Without her participation, one of the few realisations in the 20th century of perfection on earth – the Seagram Building in New York – would not have happened," he continued.

"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. Architects make architecture; Phyllis Lambert made architects."

The Golden Lion will be awarded to Lambert on 7 June 2014 in the Giardini of the Biennale.

The 2012 recipient of the Golden Lion was Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, while four years ago the award went to Koolhaas.

Main image is courtesy of United Press International.

  • Derek_V

    Expect few comments here as the young generation can only snide about the latest Zaha piece or gush over some fancy pictures of the latest silly trend. Very happy that Rem Koolhaas takes the contrarian standpoint with his Biennale and on top of it honours a great woman.

  • Leo


  • Sam

    We all seem to be conveniently forgetting that, while the Seagram Building is important/iconic/by Mies, etc., it is also one of the worst energy efficient buildings in New York City. So – while it might have been important when it was first realized, because it was then new, and while it is important today, because it is old – what will or can this building teach us that can be applied to the future of architecture? Would that answer be: don’t repeat it? If so, and even if not, why all the fuss about one building, tied to the ghost of one person, which is today tied to the ghost of another?

  • Guillaume

    À mon sens, la chose la plus facile à faire pour une personne fortunée est de lancer un musée. Ces institutions ne servent qu’à congratuler les acteurs établis dans un milieu, Phyllis Lambert ne mérite pas cette reconnaissance de la ville. Il aurait été beaucoup plus intéressant qu’avec son indépendance financière, elle se permette de choquer et de créer de vrais lobbys auprès du gouvernment. Le Québec architectural est enlisé dans des appels d’offres qui ne produisent que des bâtiments ludiques ou fonctionnels. Phyllis a offert aux montréalais quelques bâtiments de Mies van der Rohe, voilà ce qu’elle a fait d’heureux pour la ville.