The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement for the 12th International Architecture Exhibition has been awarded to Rem Koolhaas. A special commemorative Golden Lion is awarded in memory of the Japanese architect, Kazuo Shinohara.
The decision was taken by the Board of the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, upon the proposal of the Director of the 12th Exhibition, Kazuyo Sejima.
Rem Koolhaas has expanded the possibilities of architecture. He has focused on the exchanges between people in space. He creates buildings that bring people together and in this way forms ambitious goals for architecture. His influence on the world has come well beyond architecture. People from very diverse fields feel a great freedom from his work.
Mentioned in Time in 2008 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, in 1975 Rem Koolhaas together with Elia and Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp founded OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture). The most important works by Koolhaas and OMA include the Netherlands Dance Theatre at The Hague, the Nexus Housing at Fukuoka in Japan, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the Grand Palais of Euralille and Lille, the Villa dallAva, the Très Grande Bibliothèque and the Seattle Public Library. Together with Koolhaass reflections on contemporary society, these buildings appear in his book, S,M,L,XL (1995), written as though it were a novel about architecture. In 1978, he wrote Delirious New York: a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan, which has become a classic of contemporary architectural theory. In 2000, he won the Pritzker Prize.
The Board has also decided to award a special commemorative Golden Lion in memory of the Japanese architect, Kazuo Shinohara, who died in 2006 and who had a broad influence on the Japanese architectural scene, giving rise to the so-called school of Shinohara, the inspiration for the works of Toyo Ito, Kazunari Sakamoto and Itsuko Hasegawa.
Shinohara was a person who thought directly about the symbolism inherent in space and how that symbolism relates to individuals. In one way, he thought about how that symbolism was formed in the context of Japanese tradition but in another, he was concerned with more abstract geometries and the randomness of the city. With this research, he created very special and very sensitive houses that helped him form a thesis critical of modern architecture. People in Japan and around the world have been fascinated by him. Im proposing to honor him here because he thought about the power of space on a very personal level.