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Lina Bo Bardi - Special Golden Lion For Lifetime Achievement in memoriam

Lina Bo Bardi © Photo: Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Lina Bo Bardi (1914 - 1992), the Italian architect, designer, scenographer, artist and critic naturalized as a Brazilian citizen, is the recipient of the Special Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in memoriam of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, as it was announced on March 8th 2021.

The acknowledgment will be celebrated on Saturday May 22nd 2021 during the inauguration ceremony for the Biennale Architettura 2021.


In recommending this award, Hashim Sarkis expressed the following motivation:

"If there is one architect who embodies most fittingly the theme of the Biennale Architettura 2021, it is Lina Bo Bardi. Her career as a designer, editor, curator, and activist reminds us of the role of the architect as convener and importantly, as the builder of collective visions. Lina Bo Bardi also exemplifies the perseverance of the architect in difficult times whether wars, political strife, or immigration, and her ability to remain creative, generous, and optimistic throughout. Above all, it is her powerful buildings that stand out in their design and in the way that they bring architecture, nature, living, and community together. In her hands, architecture becomes truly a convening social art.

Just as one example, the design of the São Paulo Museum is exemplary in its ability to create a public space for the whole city, to create spaces inside that are flexible and to be open to experimental and more inclusive exhibitions such as Bo Bardi’s own exhibitions. The titles of these exhibitions alone, The House as Soul, The Dignity of Architecture, and The Hand of the Brazilian People, illustrate very strongly the power of architecture to bring people together.

Buildings by Lina Bo Bardi

Sesc Pompeia, São Paulo. With a text installation by William Forsythe, 2019.
© Photo: Ricardo Ferreira. Courtesy of Sesc São Paulo.
Sesc Pompeia, São Paulo. With a text installation by William Forsythe, 2019.
© Photo: Ricardo Ferreira. Courtesy of Sesc São Paulo.
Sesc Pompeia, São Paulo.
© Photo: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe
Sesc Pompeia, São Paulo. Installation by Olafur Eliasson, 2012
© Photo: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe
Sesc Pompeia, São Paulo.
© Photo: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe
Lina Bo Bardi: Casa de Vidro, São Paulo
© Photo: Instituto Bardi
Lina Bo Bardi: Casa de Vidro, São Paulo
© Photo: Instituto Bardi
Lina Bo Bardi: The São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP)
© Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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Lina Bo Bardi

Achillina Bo, known as Lina, was born in Rome in 1914. Graduated in architecture in 1939, she moved to Milan where she met Gio Ponti. In 1944 she co-directed Domus with Carlo Pagani and with the support of Bruno Zevi she created the weekly magazine A-Attualità, Architettura, Abitazione, Arte.

In 1947 Lina moved to Brazil with her husband Pietro Maria Bardi. Between 1957 and 1969 she built the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP): a large concrete and glass parallelepiped that would become one of the most iconic buildings of Brazilian Paulista architecture. One of her most famous projects is her home in São Paulo, the Casa de Vidro, a Modernist glass box built on a hill immersed in the tropical forest. Between 1977 and 1986 she designed the SESC–Fábrica da Pompéia, a giant community, recreational, cultural and sports centre. Between 1980 and 1994, she worked on the Teatro Oficina, which upended the spatial hierarchies of bourgeois theatre.

Lina Bo Bardi’s was the architecture of civil commitment, architecture understood as a collective service, free of the constraints of any school of thought; an architecture that was modern and ancient at the same time, popular, vernacular and cultured, artisanal and not industrial, respectful of tradition but innovative as well. Since her death in 1992, the memory and recognition of her work has been advanced by the Instituto Bardi.


(From press information, 8 March 2021)


17th International Architecture Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia

23 May - 29 November 2021

Curator: Hashim Sarkis

Title: How will we live together?

National Pavilions

Collateral Events


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