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French architecture overseas: award ceremony of the 2014 AFEX Grand Prix and Special Jury Prize in Venice

On 4 June 2014, UNESCO will host the fourth edition of the AFEX Grand Prix at its premises in Palazzo Zorzi in Venice, to coincide with the opening of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition - Architecture Biennale 2014. The award ceremony will be followed by the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Ailleurs/Outwards’, displaying the projects selected in the ‘Palmarès’ for the AFEX Grand Prix 2014.

At 7.30pm., Aurélie Filippetti, French Minister of Culture and Communication, will award the AFEX Grand Prix to Christian de Portzamparc for the City of Arts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a special Jury Prize to Paul Andreu for his work in China, which includes important projects such as the Beijing Opera and the Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, and awards to the 10 architects who will attend the ceremony.

The laureates will open the proceedings at 5.30 pm. by introducing and discussing their respective projects. Yolanda Valle-Neff, Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), François Roux, President of AFEX, and Guy Amsellem, President of the ‘Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine’, will be attending the event.

The AFEX Grand Prix has been held on a biennial basis since 2010 with the support of the UNESCO Venice Office, with the aim of encouraging and promoting French architects around the world and exploring architecture’s relationship with other art forms.

The first edition of the AFEX Grand Prix highlighted the relationship between architecture and photography; in 2012, the second looked at how architecture interacts with literature. This year, the jury wished to emphasize “the quality of this concrete fortress that manages to pay tribute to Brazilian architecture while remaining faithful to Christian de Porzamparc’s oeuvre. As Brazil prepares to stage a series of major events, this building will fly the French flag proudly in the country.” Located in the heart of Barra da Tijuca, a new district to the south of Rio de Janeiro, the City of the Arts is conceived as a cultural centre, a place for social contact and exchange - with a focus on music.

For the duration of the Architecture Biennale, Palazzo Zorzi will host ‘Ailleurs/Outwards’, an exhibition showcasing the projects shortlisted for the 2014 AFEX Grand Prix. Featured projects include: Fashion Centre, Shanghai - China (Arte Charpentier); National theatre, Manama - Bahrain (AS Architecture Studio); French Lycée, Amman - Jordan (AW²); Orphanage, Dialakoroba - Mali (F8 Architecture); Site Museum, Volubilis - Morocco (Chilo Architectures); Apartment Blocks, Monte-Carlo - Monaco (Jean-Pierre Lott & Suzanne Bellaieff); Sino-Singaporean Bridge, Tianjin - China (Marc Mimram); Maroc Télécom Tower, Rabat - Morocco (Jean-Paul Viguier).

The inauguration of the exhibition ‘Ailleurs/Outwards’ will take place on 4 June, following the award ceremony for this year’s AFEX Grand Prix and on the eve of the 14th Architecture Biennale, with which it shares a desire for cultural exchange and artistic dialogue.

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AFEX is a non-profit organisation bringing together architects, engineers, urban planners and landscape designers who wish to use their shared knowledge and experiences to promote French enterprise overseas. It is conceived as a mutual-support network, a space in which to exchange information and ideas, allowing people around the world to familiarize themselves with the finest examples of French design and expertise. In an increasingly globalized world, however, it also provides an opportunity to explore what happens when cultures meet and what the ensuing exchange means in terms of cultural and economic development.


Venue of exhibition:

UNESCO Venice Office

Palazzo Zorzi, Castello 4930

30122 Venice


Dates: 5 June - 23 November 2014

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (from Tuesday to Sunday)