by Meghna MehtaOct 10, 2020
The MAXXI, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Italy, announced recently the winners of the first Italian Architecture Prize - Francesca Torzo and Lucy Styles. The awards, promoted by MAXXI and Triennale Milano with the support of the Italian Culture and Tourism Ministry, were presented at a ceremony held at the museum in Rome.
Francesca Torzo was awarded for the best building completed in the last three years, while Lucy Styles received the prize for the best designer under 40. Cino Zucchi won an honourable mention for his Lavazza Headquarters in Turin, and Renzo Piano received the Career Prize, virtually, for his contribution to the field of architecture.
Torzo (b.1975), who also won the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture under W Awards 2020 in March this year, lives and works in Genoa. She won the Italian Architecture Prize for her Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture. It is an exhibition space, which was completed in 2019 and recently opened to the public in the centre of Hasselt, Belgium, perfectly integrated within the context of the ancient beguinage.
The jury stated “the project is distinguished by its profound capacity for interpreting the history of the location and the building typology occupying it and by the spatial and expressive intelligence displayed in the configuration of an exhibition space perfectly suited to contemporary demands”. The jury also noted “the accuracy and the original quality of the presentation, successfully highlighting the construction process and the personality of the designer”.
Lucy Styles (b. 1984), who lives and works in London, won the prize for the best designer under the age of 40 for the installation Home Sweet Home (2020). The open air home in the piazza at MAXXI redefines the relationship between domestic and public spaces, and was earlier announced as the winner of the 2020 edition of YAP (Young Architects’ Progam) Rome at MAXXI in collaboration with MoMA in New York.
The project set against the backdrop of the museum designed by late Zaha Hadid was chosen by the jury because it “proposes a new conception of domestic space and questions our idea of privacy and property. Through a dynamic and unconventional use of the functions that usually characterise the area of a house, Lucy Styles’ project stimulates reflection on our way of living our quotidian spaces. Particularly appropriate in this era of pandemic and the multi-use of the home, Home Sweet Home presents a new interpretation of the spaces of habitation that in incorporating the city within themselves, become at one with it”.
The honourable mention to Cino Zucchi was declared in appreciation of his Lavazza Headquarters (2018) in Turin, a project open to the city, which develops around a tree-filled piazza overlooked by the new cloud-like office building.
For the jury, “Zucchi’s Turin work expresses a high level of complexity and a wealth of urban solutions and an accomplished architectural maturity”.
The Career Prize to the famous Italian architect Renzo Piano was unanimously approved by the jury, which underlined “the professional and civic commitment that has marked and continues to mark Piano’s architectural output and his untiring promotion of quality and public value in architecture on every forum to which he has access”.
The international jury consisting of Giovanna Melandri, President of the Fondazione MAXXI; Stefano Boeri , President of Triennale Milano; Pippo Ciorra, Senior Curator MAXXI Architettura; Lorenza Baroncelli, Artistic Director of Triennale Milano; Tatiana Bilbao, architect at Tatiana Bilbao Estudio; Simone Capra, architect at stARTT studio of architecture and territorial transformations; Marco De Michelis, architectural historian; Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo, architect; Alfredo Jaar, artist; James Taylor-Foster, Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Design at ArkDes, decided on the winners from a shortlist of six finalists drawn up from 31 candidatures proposed by a group of experts.
Following the current social distancing norms, the ceremony took place with limited people. Giovanna Melandri, Margherita Guccione, the Director of MAXXI Architettura for the 10 years, Pippo Ciorra, Lorenza Baroncelli, Artistic Director of Triennale Milano and the two winners were present at the award ceremony.
From July 2, 2020, Home Sweet Home acts as the backdrop to Summer at MAXXI, the museum’s summer programme of books, music, theatre and film. In October 2020, the projects by the winners and the finalists of the prize will be displayed in an exhibition at MAXXI.