Golden Lion to Kenneth Frampton

John Hill
18. April 2018
Photo of Frampton via La Biennale di Venezia

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, curators of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, have selected architect, historian, critic and educator Kenneth Frampton to receive the Venice Biennale's Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

Frampton, who trained at the Architectural Association in London and has taught at Columbia GSAPP in New York since 1972, is best known for his 1980 book Modern Architecture: A Critical History, which has been updated three times. He is also known widely for the essay "Toward a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance" from the 1983 book The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture and the book Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture from 1995, among other books and essays. The 87-year-old is working on a fifth edition of Modern Architecture and continues to teach at Columbia GSAPP, where he is Ware Professor of Architecture. 

In their selection of Frampton, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara said:

Through his work, Kenneth Frampton occupies a position of extraordinary insight and intelligence combined with a unique sense of integrity. He stands out as the voice of truth in the promotion of key values of architecture and its role in society. His humanistic philosophy in relation to architecture is embedded in his writing and he has consistently argued for this humanistic component throughout all the various 'movements' and trends often misguided in architecture in the 20th and 21st century.

​His experience as a practicing architect has given him a deep understanding of the process of designing and crafting buildings. This makes him both more sympathetic and more critical of the various forms of the practice of architecture. His consistent values in relation to the impact of architecture on society, together with his intellectual generosity, position him as a uniquely important presence in the world of architecture.

The many editions and languages of Frampton's influential and lasting "Modern Architecture: A Critical History"

Paulo Baratta, chair of the Board of La Biennale di Venezia, which made the final decision on Frampton's Golden Lion, said:

There is no student of the faculties of architecture who is unfamiliar with his Modern Architecture: A Critical History. The Golden Lion goes this year to a "maestro," and in this sense it is also intended to be a recognition of the importance of the critical approach to the teaching of architecture.

Frampton will receive the Golden Lion on Saturday, 26 May, the opening day of the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Recent recipients of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement include:

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