The recently concluded Lisbon Triennale announced that it has selected Kenneth Frampton to receive its Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013. The award has previously been given to Vittorio Gregotti (2007) and Álvaro Siza Vieira (2010). This third Lisbon exhibition, Close, Closer, was dynamically curated and presented by Beatrice Galilee and is in some ways unimaginable without the critical thinking and architectural activism of someone like Frampton. It is also exciting to see someone so critical to architecture culture who is not primarily a builder be given an international award. He is the author of Modern Architecture and the Critical Present (1980), Studies in Tectonic Culture (1995), American Masterworks (1995), Le Corbusier (2001), Labour, Work & Architecture (2005), and an updated fourth edition of Modern Architecture: A Critical History (2007).
The Lisbon Triennale, Close, Closer, is the first architecture exhibition that does not need, nor even want outside visitors. In recent years, the relevance of the international exposition in a defined physical boundary has been questioned, given the energy and expense (particularly in Venice) involved in putting the event together and the ubiquity of digital display and information dissemination. Why not, many people argue, just do the whole thing on line and open it up to the whole world rather than forcing visitors to trek to expensive cities and countries? Lisbon’s Close, Closer will have a tremendous online presence, but, more to the point, the curators of the exhibition, under the overall guidance of British curator Beatrice Galilee, have downplayed expensive formal installations in favor of workshop, networking, and research projects.
Chicago-based architect Jimenez Lai, principal of Bureau Spectacular, has been awarded the first BPC Debut Award for architects under 35. Lai is known for his bold, formally-inventive work, which he describes as “cartoon narratives” that “swerve into the physical world through architectural installations models, and small buildings.” He is the author of Citizen of No Place and an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Selected from a pool of more than 180 entrants, Lai’s work was recognized for its “original design thinking and pursuit of critical ideas.” The prize comes with a modest monetary award of 5,000 euros.