The Venice Biennale 2021 will give the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. The announcement was made by the Board of Directors of the Biennale Architettura at the proposal of the curator Hashim Sarkis. For the occasion, an exhibition will be held in the Pavilion of the Book at the Gardens of the Biennale with a selection of works that will be visible from 22 May, the opening date of the event.
In proposing his name Hashim Sarkis expressed the following motivation:
«Moneo is one of the most innovative architects of his generation. As a professional, and through the wide range of buildings he built, such as the Kursaal Auditorium, the Prado Museum, the Atocha Train Station and Los Angeles Cathedral, Moneo stressed the ability of each architectural project to respond to specific circumstances of place and program and, at the same time, to overcome them. The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement fits perfectly with the architect who took part in the housing project of the Giudecca in 1983, who won the international competition for the new Palazzo del Cinema at the Venice Lido in 1991 and who has gained more than one lesson for architecture from Venice».
The Spanish architect has been awarded numerous prizes such as the Pritzker (1996), the Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (2003), the Prince of Asturias Prize in the Arts (2013) and the Imperial Praemium (2017). In many of his projects, natural stone is a distinctive feature. Just to mention a few examples: the Spanish limestone flooring laid in the large interior space on the floor and the 80 mm thin alabaster windows in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles; the continuous stone cladding of the Museum of Navarre in Pamplona, or the stone cladding of Salamanca for the exterior facade and part of the interior of the City Hall in Logroño and the sandstone facade of the municipality of Murcia, characteristic of the place.