Brazil Pavilion Venice Architecture Biennale

DAAR and Brazil win Golden Lions at Venice Architecture Biennale

Architecture studio DAAR and Brazil have been awarded Golden Lions at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale for the best project on show and pavilion respectively.

They were presented with the prizes at the official award ceremony of the Venice Architecture Biennale, held this morning at the event's headquarters Ca' Giustinian.

DAAR, which is led by architects Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal, won the Golden Lion for best participant in The Laboratory of the Future exhibition.

DAAR exhibit at the Arsenale, Venice Architecture Biennale
DAAR has won the award for best participant in The Laboratory of the Future. Photo is by Andrea Avezzù

Its exhibit is a deconstructed building facade that aims to explore "the subversion of fascist colonial architecture and its modernist legacy".

The duo were praised by the jury for "their long-standing commitment to deep political engagement with architectural and learning practices of decolonisation in Palestine and Europe".

Meanwhile, Brazil was awarded the Golden Lion for best National Participation for its pavilion named Terra.

Curated by architectural designer Gabriela de Matos and architect Paulo Tavares, it features earth-covered floors and rammed-earth plinths and aims to communicate how Brazil's land has shaped the understanding of heritage.

Interior of Brazil pavilion at Venice
Brazil won the award for the best national pavilion. Photo is by Rafa Jacinto, courtesy of Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

The British Pavilion, Dancing Before the Moon, was given a special mention for National Participation at the ceremony. The pavilion celebrates how global diasporic communities design space.

Special mentions were also given to architectural designer Thandi Loewenson, architecture studios Wolff Architects and photographer Sammy Baloji for their contributions to The Laboratory of the Future exhibition.

The Silver Lion for a Promising Young Participant was also revealed at the ceremony. This year's winner was designer Olalekan Jeyifous.

Nigerian architect Demas Nwoko was presented with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

Nwoko, aged 88, was selected for the award in March in recognition of his career that has spanned art, design and theatre over the 20th and 21st centuries.

"One of the central themes of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition is an approach to architecture as an 'expanded' field of endeavours, encompassing both the material and immaterial worlds; a space in which ideas are as important as artefacts, particularly in the service of what is yet to come," this year's curator Lesley Lokko said at the time.

Nigerian architect Demas Nwoko presented with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
Demas Nwoko was presented with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Photo is courtesy of Zulum Elumogo

"It seems entirely fitting that the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement should be awarded to someone whose material works span the past 70 years, but whose immaterial legacy – approach, ideas, ethos – is still in the process of being evaluated, understood and celebrated," continued Lokko.

The winners were selected by a jury made up of Italian architect Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Palestinian architect Nora Akawi and American curator Thelma Golden, alongside co-editor of Cityscapes Magazine Tau Tavengwa and Polish architect Izabela Wieczorek.

The Venice Architecture Biennale takes place from 20 May to 26 November 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for all the latest information you need to know to attend the event, as well as a list of other architecture and design events taking place around the world.