Venice Biennale: 'Architecture as New Geography' Receives Silver Medal

curated by Grafton Architects

Grafton Architects – 
headed by Yvonne
 Farrell
 and 
Shelley
 McNamara – received an invitation to exhibit soon after winning an architectural competition for a new University in Lima, Peru.

Venice Biennale: 'Architecture as New Geography' Receives Silver Medal © Alice Clancy

Their exhibit interprets this year’s theme, Common Ground, by rendering works of Pritzker-laureate Mendes da Rocha as well as their own work in a common language: stone. The exhibition is comprised of monolithic models arrayed beneath large color prints of Skellig
 Michael
 off the Irish coast and
 Machu
 Picchu in Peru. 

Venice Biennale: 'Architecture as New Geography' Receives Silver Medal © Alice Clancy

Grafton
 Architects
 collaborated
 with 
Sculptor 
Eileen
 Mac Donagh,
 who produced a number of monumental (they appear to be stone) sectional models. Three are models of Mendes
 da
 Rocha’s work: one, a fragment of Sao
 Pedro
 Church; the other two are the architect’s proposals for 
Montevideo 
Bay, themselves inspired by the canal city of Venice
.

Venice Biennale: 'Architecture as New Geography' Receives Silver Medal © Alice Clancy

There are also models of Grafton’s work: the Univeristy in Lima as well as a School of Economics they built in Toulouse, France. Stripped bare, the models’ abstractness accentuates their pure mass and the voids exposed within. The curators’ investigation of stereotomics cleverly engages the Biennale’s theme beyond the general level of cross-cultural exchange.

Venice Biennale: 'Architecture as New Geography' Receives Silver Medal © Alice Clancy

The jury was also impressed, remarking that “the 
conceptual
 and
 spatial
 qualities
 of
 this
 installation
 demonstrate 
the 
considerable
 potential
 of
 this
 architectural 
practice 
in 
reimagining 
the
 urban 
landscape."

Venice Biennale: 'Architecture as New Geography' Receives Silver Medal © Alice Clancy

Grafton
 Architects 
was
 established
 in
 1978. 
They are
 winners
 of
 numerous 
international
 awards 
including 
the
 World
 Building
 of 
the
 Year
 Award 
2008 
for
 their
 acclaimed
 building
 for
 the
 Universita 
Luigi

Bocconi
in
 Milan.