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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Entry Page Architettura EN (new)



9th International Architecture Exhibition
Director: Kurt W. FORSTER
12th September – 7th November 2004
Site: Arsenale and Giardini
Director appointed by President Franco Bernabè
Nowadays the use of computers during design phases, and the increasing availability of avant-garde materials, allow the creation of original, dauntless constructions. The metamorphosisin architecture, dictated and facilitated by new technologies and materials, was therefore the theme chosen by Director Kurt W. Forster for the ninth edition of the Architecture Biennale. Forster proposed his vision of contemporary architecture as a movement where untold meetings and new relations can happen, challenging the traditional idea of architecture as a union of isolated, well-defined elements. The sinuous lines featured in the set up of Asympote studio at the Corderie dell’Arsenale effectively represented the metamorphosis theme picked up by Forster.

Using computer technology, the Asymptote created modular structures that teared the central perspective of the Corderie, letting each section spontaneously and simultaneously slide into the next one, as in a growing metamorphosis process. The Arsenale exhibition was divided into seven sections, each centered on a specific theme: Transformations, Topography, Surface, Atmosphere, Hyper-Project, Harrowing of the City, The Nature of Artifice. The first and most significant section, Transformations, was devoted to four artists that profoundly changed the theoretical debate at the beginning of the 80’s: Aldo Rossi and James Stirling on one side, Eisenman and Gehry on the other. In particular, the second couple of architects is considered a pioneering team when it comes to anticipating many solutions which have become paradigmatic in the last years.

In the spaces of the Padiglione Italia, photographers and architects were invited to develop, through site-specific interventions and installation, the concept of metamorphosis, as well as its relation to space and architecture. The visitor could feel like personally experiencing the evolutions and the changes of the real world. Moreover, three different monographic exhibitions were set up, centered on two great masters of the past, Gladio Dieste and Ivan Leonidov, and on a contemporary one, Peter Eisenman. The Italian section, curated by DARC, presented the shots of ten Italian photographers who cooperated with other architecture historians and critics on a research about the last 50 years of architecture in Italy.

Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
: Peter Eisenman
Golden Lion for best installation presented by a country: Belgium Pavillion (“Kinshasa, the Imaginary City”)
Golden Lion for most significant work of the Metamorph exhibition: Studio SANAA by Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa for the project for the Museum of 21st century for contemporary art (Kanazawa, Japan) and for the enlargement of the Istituto Valenciano de Arte Moderna (Valencia, Spain)
Special Prize for best work in the Concert Halls section: Studio Plot of Julien De Smedt and Bjarke Ingels for the Concert House project (Stavanger, Norvegia)
Special Prize for best work in the Episodes section: German photographer Armin Linke and Italian architect Piero Zanini for the Alpi installation
Special Prize for best work in the Transformations section: Austrian architect Günther Domenig for the Documentation Centre at the Party Rally Grounds of Norimberg, Germany
Special Prize for best work in the Topography section: Studio Foreign Office Architects Ltd for the Novartis Car Park (Basilea, Switzerland)
Special Prize for best work in the Surface section: Japanese architect Shuhei Endo for the Springtecture project (Singu-cho, Hyogo, Japan)
Special Prize for best work in the Atmosphere section: Australian studio PTW Architects pty Ltd and Chinese partner studio CSCEC + Design for the National Swimming Center project (Pechino Olympic Green, China)
Special Prize for best work in the Hyper-Project section: Martines Lapeña- Torres Arquitectos for the Esplanada Fòrum (Barcelona, Spain)
Special Prize for best work in the Morphing Lights, Floating Shadows sections (photography): images of Mars shot by NASA in cooperation with JPL and Cornell University