Spain has won the Golden Lion for Best National Participation at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, taking the event’s top prize ahead of formidable field of international pavilions.

Curated by Spanish architects Carlos Quintáns and Iñaqui Carnicero (Carnicero + Quintans), the Spanish pavilion, named Unfinished, uses photography as a medium to showcase 80 buildings that demonstrate an optimistic approach to design in post-economic crisis Spain.

The jury praised the exhibit for offering a "concisely curated selection of emerging architects whose work shows how creativity and commitment can transcend material constraints".


copyright_laurian_ghinitoiu_spain_-3_of_9.jpgPhotography by Laurian Ghinitoiu

Paraguayan firm Gabinete de Arquitectura also received a Golden Lion for Best Participant for their exhibition in the Central Pavilion, a semi-oval structure made from bricks and “unqualified labour”.

Gabinete de Arquitectura, led by architects Solano Benítez, Gloria Cabral, and Solanito Benítez, were applauded for "harnessing simple materials, structural ingenuity and unskilled labour to bring architecture to underserved communities".

 FG_G_02_Varie_2729.jpgvenice-biennale-golden-lion-dezeen.jpgImages: Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia/Dezeen

Other winners included NLÉ who received the Silver Lion for a Promising Young Participant for his Makoko Floating School and Peru and Japan who received Special Mentions from the jury for their National Participations.


Top: The Silver Lion for a Promising Young Participant was awarded to Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi and his studio NLÉ for their Makoko Floating School
Middle: En: Art of Nexus: The Japanese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
Bottom: Our Amazon Frontline: The Peruvian Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Paulo Mendes da Rocha received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.