Architect, educator, and author Kenneth Frampton has received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Frampton joins the ranks of past winners such as Paulo Mendes da Rocha in 2016, Phyllis Lambert in 2014, and Álvaro Siza Vieira in 2012.
Born in London in 1930 and educated at the Architectural Association, Frampton has worked as an architect, critic, and historian, and taught at a number of vaunted schools over the course of his career. He’s perhaps most well-known for his 1980 work Modern Architecture: A Critical History, which has since become a seminal text in the field. Frampton has also taught consistently at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) since 1972.
This year’s decision was made by the chair of the Board of La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, with recommendations from the International Architecture Exhibition curators, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.
“Through his work, Kenneth Frampton occupies a position of extraordinary insight and intelligence combined with a unique sense of integrity,” said Farrell and McNamara in a joint statement. “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.”
“There is no student of the faculties of architecture who is unfamiliar with his Modern Architecture: A Critical History,” said Baratta in a press release. “The Golden Lion goes this year to a ‘maestro,’ and in this sense it also intended to be a recognition of the importance of the critical approach to the teaching of architecture.”
Other than Modern Architecture: A Critical History, Frampton has authored numerous other influential books clarifying the internal language of the built environment, including Studies in Tectonic Culture, Labour, Work and Architecture, and A Genealogy of Modern Architecture: Comparative Critical Analysis of Built Form.
Frampton will officially receive his award on Saturday, May 26, 1018, during the award ceremony and inauguration of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. The event will open to the public at 10:00 AM and will be held in the Biennale’s headquarters of Ca’ Giustinian.