Venice Biennale 2012: Architecture as New Geography / Grafton Architects, Silver Lion Award
Dublin practice Grafton Architects presents Architecture as New Geography at the 2012 Venice Biennale. The exhibition explores the work of the Brazilian architect in the context of Grafton’s first South American project for a university in Lima, Peru.
The International Jury has awarded Grafton the Silver Lion for their “impressive” presentation’s ability to connect to the ideas of Paulo Mendes da Rocha and demonstrate the “considerable potential of this architectural practice in reimagining the urban landscape”.
After winning an international competition for the UTEC – Universidad de Ingenieria & Tecnologia – campus, Grafton immediately looked to Paulo Mendes da Rocha (PMdR) in search of cues on how to build for Peru’s unique climate and culture. They engaged in a dialogue with the Brazilian architect and explored his work through models, focusing on his seminal Serra Dourada Stadium (1973) in a design research exploration based on the idea of the University as an “arena of learning”.
Grafton Architects’ praised Paulo Mendes da Rocha for his generosity, stating: “He gave us, strangers whom he had never met, complete freedom to represent his work in whatever way we chose. We found that through the deeper investigation of his work that we were renewed and inspired yet again, and we feel that our own work will be truely enriched by this experience.”Exploratory models included in the exhibition are of the Mendes de Rocha’s Serra Dourada Football Stadium and Jockey Club both in Goiania, his project for Montevideo Bay in Uruguay and his Capela de S. Pedro in Campos do Jordao, Brazil, along with Grafton Architects’ design for the UTEC University and the new building for the School of Economic at UT1C in Toulouse, France. Additionally, the exhibition includes comparative images and drawings of the cultural landscapes of Skellig Michael and Machu Picchu.