Prior to its opening on May 20th, the Board of Directors revealed the members of the international jury for this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. The jury, comprised of some of the most influential figures in the world of architecture, is responsible for selecting the winners of the prestigious Golden Lion Award. The Awards Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 20th, 2023.
As part of the 18th International Venice Biennale, Italian architect and curator Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (who will also act as the jury president) will judge the exhibition along with Nora Akawi, a Palestinian architect and curator, as well as Tau Tavengwa, co-founder, curator, and editor of South African Cityscapes; and Polish academic Izabela Wieczorek (who lives in Spain and London); and Studio Museum Director Thelma Golden. Together, they will bring a global perspective to the judging process, evaluating submissions from all over the world.
Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli
President Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (Italy) is an Italian architect and curator living in Milan. As the founder of the multidisciplinary agency, 2050+, he is working across a number of fields including politics, technology, design, and environmental issues. He co-directed the 12th edition of Manifesta in Palermo in 2018 and curated Open-the Russian Pavilion at the 17th International Venice Biennale in 2021. He worked as an architect and partner at OMA from 2007 until 2019. He teaches Data Matter, a research and design workshop that investigates the interwoven relationship between data and the tangible environment, at the Royal College of Arts in London.
His recent projects include Synthetic Cultures during the 10th Architecture Biennale of Rotterdam, the short film diptych Riders Not Heroes, the exhibitions of Aquaria at MAAT in Lisbon and Penumbra in Venice, the design for the space of the Fredriksen’s collection in the National Museum of Norway in Oslo, and the transformation of La Rinascente’s modernist building icon in Rome.
Nora Akawi is a New York-based Palestinian architect and curator. She is a co-founder of the multidisciplinary research and design studio interim and an assistant professor of architecture at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She collaborated in the curating of Friday Sermon (2018), the Barhain Pavilion at the 16th Biennale di Venezia International Architecture Exhibition. Her teaching and research are concerned with transnational South-South anti-colonial solidarity, as well as the role of architecture in erasure and bordering in settler colonialism, and she draws on border studies, critical geography, and archive theory in her work.
In addition to running Studio-X Amman and founding the Janet Abu-Lughod Library and Seminar, Nora was a professor at Columbia University’s GSAPP. At the moment, she is a member of the editorial boards of InForma, the peer-reviewed journal of the Universidad de Puerto Rico, and Faktur: Documents and Architecture.
Thelma Golden (United States) started her career in 1987 at The Studio Museum in Harlem before moving on to the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. The Studio Museum in Harlem is the world’s foremost museum dedicated to visual art by artists of African origin. Upon her return to the Studio Museum in 2000, she was appointed Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programmes, and in 2005, she was named Director and Chief Curator of the Museum. As a member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Board of Directors, she has served on the boards for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Barack Obama Foundation, Crystal Bridges Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in Art History and African American Studies. President Obama appointed her to the White House Preservation Committee in 2010.
Tau Tavengwa (Zimbabwe) is a co-founder, curator, and editor of Cityscapes, an annual hybrid publication that presents various ideas and stories on architecture and cities around the world from perspectives in regions such as Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. He holds the following fellowships: a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) (2018), an Aspen Global Leadership Fellowship, a Research Fellowship in Advanced Visualisation at the Max Planck Institute (2019-2023), and a Visiting Fellowship at the London School of Economics’ LSE Cities from 2020 to 22. He was the curator of the Multiplicity show for the 2022 Lisbon Architecture Triennale and serves as the Curator-at-Large at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. He co-founded the CS Collective with Edgar Pieterse.
Izabela Wieczorek, a native of Poland, is a licenced architect in Spain as well as an educator and researcher with offices in London. She holds the positions of Associate Professor and acting Research Lead for Architecture at the University of Reading, where she also serves as Director of the Master of Architecture Programme. She was a co-director of the award-winning Madrid firm Gálvez+Wieczorek Arquitectura from 2003 to 2016. Her work has been featured in a number of publications, such as “Cartographies of the Imagination,” London (2021), “Works+Words Biennale of Artistic Research in Architecture,” KADK, Copenhagen (2019), as well as the Spanish Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia Exhibition (2018). She was the curator of the In-Between public lecture series at Arkitektskolen Aarhus in Denmark (2013-2016).
They were each recommended by the exhibition’s curator, African Futures Institute founder Lesley Lokko, and will be tasked with judging the Golden Lion for best the National Participation, the Golden Lion for the best participant in the International Exhibition, and the Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the International Exhibition, along with to a potential special mention for National Participations and up to two for participants in the International Exhibit. Each jury has been thoroughly vetted, with experience ranging from a newest Harvard Loeb fellowship (Tavengwa) to a profile as one of the most recognised personalities in the museum world (Golden) to former Biennale curation (Akawi, Laparelli, and Wieczorek). The award winners will be announced during a special ceremony on May 20th, today, coinciding with the start of the Biennale. The theme of the exhibition in this edition is titled The Laboratory of the Future. Until the end of the festivities on November 26th, events and installations are going to take place in both the Giardini and Arsenale sectors of Venice.