Italian architect Stefano Boeri was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award during the sixth edition of the Madrid Design Festival, for his contributions in design and urban planning, functional in varied architectural styles. The architecture award ceremony was held at the Institución Libre de Enseñanza (ILE), and was conferred by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, to recognise Boeri’s prolific career and contributions in urban planning and architecture, as well as editorial and academic. To mark the occasion, the author of projects such as the Bosco Verticale in Milan delivered the conference The brilliant environment, during which he illustrated the relationship between ‘architecture and living nature,’ a relationship in which, he said, natural elements “are not just decorations.”
Following the award ceremony, Boeri commented, “In Madrid, I received from the hands of Rafael Moneo—a great and sophisticated protagonist of contemporary architecture—an award, that is a recognition in Milan (…) I want to share my happiness for an award that should actually be shared with all those who, over the years, have allowed me to receive it. Thank you.”
Expounding on this sentiment, Boeri commented at the time of the award, “I am both excited and embarrassed to receive this award today. First of all because, like all awards to an individual, there is always a reason for injustice in the exclusion of all those who deserve to share it, having shared years and years of projects, ideas, and experiences with me. I actually feel like a good editor-in-chief, capable perhaps above all of choosing the people who work with me well and putting them in the best conditions to express their incredible talent. Perhaps it is true that paradoxically the best form of selfishness is generosity.”
“The second reason for my emotion, is to receive this award, for which I thank the Madrid Design Festival and its team, from the hands of Rafael Moneo. I started my life as an architect precisely by meeting Rafael Moneo here in Madrid in 1982, sent by Vittorio Gregotti, director of Casabella, to meet the protagonist of the extraordinary filming known—after decades of Francoism—of Spanish architecture. From Italy they looked to Madrid, to the projects and theories of Rafael Moneo, to the 50 ideas contained in Eduardo Mangada’s plan with great attention and even envy,” he continued.
“I will never forget the kindness with which I was received by Rafael and his lucid analysis of the Italian architectural situation, which he obviously knew very well. And he knew the competition between the Roman and Milanese schools of architecture, not all that different from the one then underway between the Madrid of Moneo and the nascent Barcelona of Bohigas, two cities that became capitals of global architecture. Just as I don’t forget the subsequent meetings at Harvard and his extraordinary lectures in Milan and at the Triennale. Rafael Moneo and his works have been a cultural and ethical beacon for architects of my generation. Today, I feel a bit as if a Real Madrid reserve were rewarded by Di Stefano, or by Pelé. So thanks again.”
In collaboration with the Italian Embassy, Boeri later held a lecture entitled Green Obsession, which presented the approach to design that guides the work of Stefano Boeri Architetti, starting from the experience of the Vertical Forest of Milan up to the architectural and urban planning projects aimed at implementing urban forestation strategies, all over the world. Stefano Boeri Architetti is known for projects that include a language which combines environmental architecture with urban fabrics. Whether it be large-scale projects such as The International Forest Stadium in Milan which gives a glimpse of biophilic architecture built over an urban sprawl, the integration of biophilic design with Pirelli 39, or slightly small scale interventions like the ‘Floating Forest,’ a miniature ecosystem at Milan Design Week 2022, the firm has constantly promoted green architecture, through varied methods. The architect, curator and urban planner sets an example for extraordinary efforts to continuously promote and curate natural and eco-friendly plugins to today’s growing urbanism.
(Text by Aaryaa Joshi, intern at STIRworld)
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