Emilio Ambasz receives the In/Arch Lifetime Achievement Award

Binini Partners expresses its heartfelt congratulations to the Architect and Designer Emilio Ambasz, an exemplary professional and dear friend of our company, with whom we recently had the honor of collaborating on the work he designed for the University of Bologna, entitled “The Fontana dei Canali Nascosti”, designed in harmony with the Bolognese tradition of public fountains.

Recognized as a precursor and poet of architecture in union with nature (James Wines defined him as ‘the Messiah’ of this vision), he created works which, from Japan to the USA, passing through Italy and many other countries, remain center of the debate on poetics and design discipline. Inspired by his very personal philosophy summed up in the formula Green Over The Gray (‘green over grey’), his architecture has influenced some of the most well-known names in contemporary architecture.

Argentinian by birth, cosmopolitan by vocation and very attached to Italy, Emilio Ambasz receives the In / arch lifetime achievement award, which, for the first time in his history, goes to a non-Italian.

Ambasz – we read in the verdict of the jury for the recognition given by the National Institute of Architecture -:  «He has always put a concrete idea of nature at the centre, without ideology and escapes forward, but by operating concretely in ‘making architecture’ or by already inserting in the Seventies ‘architectures and plants’, without proclamations but in the name of rational juxtapositions between ‘nature and artifice’. The Ospedale dell’Angelo and the Banca degli Occhi Foundation in Mestre (2007-2008), together with the Acros Fukuoka project in Japan, are evidence of this constructive option.”

Ospedale dell’Angelo in Chirignago-Zelarino (Mestre), photography courtesy of Emilio Ambasz & Associates
Headquarters of the Veneto Eye Bank Foundation in Chirignago-Zelarino (Mestre), photograph by © Enrico Cano, courtesy of Emilio Ambasz & Associates

«I am deeply moved by this generous recognition. Being the first foreigner to receive this important award is a great honor», comments Ambasz, who continues with a message to architects: «We must invent an architecture that is the embodiment of a pact of reconciliation between nature and buildings. As architects and designers we must create alternative models of the future proposing a better life, to guide our actions if we do not wish to perpetuate present conditions: I believe that any architectural project that does not attempt to propose new or better ways of existence is unethical. This task – he concludes – can stagger the imagination and paralyze hope, but we cannot escape the pursuit of him.”

Recognized as “the first great ambassador of Made in Italy with the major exhibition, at the MoMA in New York, 1972, Italy: The New Domestic Landscape”Ambasz has made an extraordinary contribution to the history of contemporary architecture.

His works and his persevering search for reconciliation between man and nature have earned Ambasz countless awards and recognition around the world. In recent months alone, Ambasz has obtained the President’s Award of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization Prize (CSU) in New York and is among the protagonists of the current exhibition at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art of New York) entitled Emerging Ecologies.

The Angel hospital seen from the entrance of the Veneto Eye Bank Foundation, photograph by © Enrico Cano, courtesy of Emilio Ambasz & AssociatesMoMA which, like the Metropolitan Museum (NY), includes in its permanent collection the Vertebra seat (1975) – the first automatic ergonomic chair in the world, developed with G. Piretti -, from which a new industry was born for the entire sector ( Compasso d’Oro from 1981), and other of his objects. Also at MoMA, Ambasz, as Curator of Design for the Department of Architecture and Design from 1969 to 1976, organized a series of revolutionary exhibitions, including the aforementioned, legendary Italy: The New Domestic Landscape (1972), bringing the objects of Italian design. Important solo exhibitions have been dedicated to him all over the world, from the MoMA in New York (twice) to the Triennale in Milan (twice), at the Reina Sofia in Madrid, passing through Tokyo, Geneva, Bordeaux, Zurich, Chicago, Philadelphia, Mexico City, San Diego, Saint Louis.

Honorary member of the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects, Ambasz is an all-round intellectual, an extraordinarily prolific architect, designer and inventor (with three Compasso d’Oro wins and an impressive list of tributes collected all over the planet), artist, narrator and curator, he has very close ties with Italy, where he stays part of the year. Hosted at several Venice Architecture Biennials, nominated Commendatore ‘Star of Merit of the Italian Republic’ in 2014, for “his contributions to Italian culture”, Ambasz has obtained prestigious prizes and important recognitions over time (including an HC-2021 Degree , University of Bologna-, the Seal of the Arts-2021, University of Urbino-, the IV Compasso d’Oro, Lifetime Achievement-2021, ADI, Career Award IN/Architecture 2023 Veneto), authoritative publications and relevant collaborations with various industries Italian.

The facade opposite the entrance to the Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto, photograph by © Enrico Cano, courtesy of Emilio Ambasz & Associates


Article by Profession Architect