News  Exhibition 

Golden Lion for National Pavillion

Spain ‘Unfinished’


The title, ‘Unfinished,’ and its subject, the profession in the wake of the crisis, seemed to signal yet another critical or even masochistic look at the situation in which Spanish architecture has been immersed. Fortunately this has not been the case, and the Spanish Pavilion – curated by the architects Iñaqui Carnicero and Carlos Quintáns – is the winner of the Golden Lion for national exhibitions. In truth, with much economy of means, the curators have not only managed to reinforce the general theme of the Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena’s Biennale (with its emphasis on modest projects, its defense of the social dimension of the work of architects, and its inevitable attention to the Latin American world), but have also succeeded in putting in a positive message about Spain: that apart from all the denouncement and contrition surrounding the real estate bubble, Spanish architects have known to adjust and adapt to the scale of small works of renovation, consolidation, or grafting, and with no loss of the quality that in the past had only seemed applicable to large-scale public buildings. This is the conclusion that one gleans when contemplating the Spanish exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale, a discreet selection of photographs and axonometric drawings that, perhaps too synthetically but definitely very intuitively, present fifty-strong low-budget projects in nine categories, offering an informative X-ray of the recent panorama of architecture in Spain, presented in the light of conceps like consolidation, reuse, adaptability, or reappropriation.

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