Brazil scoops 2023 Golden Lion award for national participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale

The Brazil Pavilion won the prestigious 2023 Golden Lion award for best national participation, as announced at the Venice Architecture Biennale in Italy this weekend - along with more honours for individual and country-led installations

interior of the installation at brazilian pavilion, the winner Venice's 2023 Golden Lion
(Image credit: Matteo de Mayda, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia)

The Brazilian Pavilion has been announced as the 2023 Golden Lion winner for national participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale, which launched to the public this weekend. The South American country's win came alongside several more honours revealed for more national contributions as well as individual installations in curator Lesley Lokko's main show, and of course the Golder Lion for Lifetime Achievement 2023 which went to Nigerian artist, designer and architect Demas Nwoko

portraits of brazil pavilion curators in venice 2023

The co-curators of Brazil's pavilion, Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares

(Image credit: Matteo de Mayda)

2023 Golden Lion: Brazilian Pavilion

Co-curators of the Brazilian Pavilion Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares look at notions of decolonisation, national identity, diaspora, indigenous knowledge systems, as well as around Brasília and modernism, while connecting to Lokko's main theme through the vector of the African diaspora. Titled 'Terra', the exhibit draws on the past to compose 'possible futures, focusing on the role of land in shaping our understanding of heritage and identity.' 

brazil pavilion's blue interior

(Image credit: Matteo de Mayda)

The pavilion features projects born of Indigenous and Afro-Brazilian knowledge about land and territory, as well as bespoke commissions such as an audio-visual piece by Brazilian filmmaker Juliana Vicente, archival photographs complied by historian Ana Flávia Magalhães Pinto, the ethno-historical map of Brazil by Curt Nimuendajú, and the Brasília Quilombola map.  

display of heap of black soil in brazil pavilion 2023

(Image credit: Matteo de Mayda)

The biennale's international jury panel this year was composed of Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (president, Italy); Nora Akawi (Palestine); Thelma Golden (US); Tau Tavengwa (Zimbabwe); and Izabela Wieczorek (Poland). More awards included a special mention for the British Pavilion, titled 'Dancing Before The Moon'; the Golden Lion for the best participant in the 18th Exhibition 'The Laboratory of the Future', which went to DAAR's Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal; the Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the 18th Exhibition 'The Laboratory of the Future' to Olalekan Jeyifous; and three further special mentions to Twenty Nine Studio / Sammy Baloji, Wolff Architects, and Thandi Loewenson. 

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).