The first edition of the Italian Architecture Award, promoted by MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome and Triennale Milano with the support of the Italian Culture and Tourism Ministry, concluded on June 30 with an awards ceremony held in the museum in Rome. The prize “promotes architecture by Italian architects or architects working in Italy with a commitment to innovation, design quality and the social role of architecture”. Entrants are selected by a pool of experts and submitted to a panel of judges which assigns an award to the best building or project constructed in the past three years and one for the best architect under 40, in addition to an Award for Lifetime Achievement and Special Mentions focusing on specific themes in architecture.
The winners of the first edition are two young architects: Francesca Torzo, with the Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture, a new exhibition space in the centre of Hasselt, Belgium, and Lucy Styles with Home Sweet Home, an installation project which also won in the 2020 YAP Rome programme at MAXXI.
An honourable mention was also awarded to architect Cino Zucchi for the Lavazza Headquarters in Turin, as well as an Award for Lifetime Achievement for architect Renzo Piano, already discussed in Floornature.
The Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture designed by Francesca Torzo won the award for “best building constructed in the past three years”. The exhibition space was completed in 2019 in the historic centre of Hasselt, Belgium. A participatory project shared with the client with all the players involved, it is perfectly integrated into the city’s historic centre, and specifically the garden of the town’s ancient beguinage. The judges appreciated Francesca Torzo’s ability to interpret the history of the block and of the type of building in question, configuring it as a new exhibition space perfectly suited to contemporary requirements.
Lucy Styles won the award for “best designer under 40” for Home Sweet Home, a project created for the 2020 edition of YAP Rome at MAXXI, an initiative partnering MAXXI with MoMA in New York in which an emerging new architectural practice creates a temporary installation for the plaza in front of the museum every two years. As in the other museums in the YAP programme, these installations offer shelter from the heat and host summer events. Lucy Styles’ Home Sweet Home project is particularly appropriate in the wake of the events of recent months and the lockdowns imposed in various countries: the architect created a domestic space for the installation which challenges our ideas about privacy and ownership. Her goal is to encourage reflection on how we experience domestic places, proposing “improper” use of the normal functions of a home, in which private and public spaces, the ordinary and the extraordinary, coexist and are interwoven.
Images courtesy of Fondazione MAXXI, photo: (01-04) by Musacchio Ianniello & Pasqualini, (05-07) Gion Balthasar Von Albertini, (08-11) by Andrea Martiradonna, (12) rendering by Lucy Styles