The academic and critic Kenneth Frampton, who in the 1980s was instrumental in disseminating Portuguese architecture, as well as the idea of "critical regionalism," around the world, has won the third ever Lisbon Triennale Millenium BCP Lifetime Achievement Award, which distinguishes a person or practice whose work and ideas have been influential and continue to have a profound effect on architectural thinking and practice today.
"It is an excellent ending to this year's triennale, to give the Career Award to someone who has devoted his life to thought and architectural culture, demonstrating once again that architecture does not live only as built works," says André Tavares, director of the Architect's Journal and coordinator of the publisher Dafne.
Frampton was born in the UK in 1930, where he graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture. He is currently Ware Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, at Columbia University, New York.
Frampton played a key role in the architectural thinking of the '80s and '90s, suggesting alternative pathways for architecture. He rescued the idea of an architectural culture, one anchored to both practice and history, and urged architects to consider their relationship with place. His best known theoretical work — Modern Architecture: A Critical History (1980) — was first published in 1980 and then revisited and republished various times afterwards.
Jury member William Menking highlighted Frampton's significant contribution to architecture culture: “Most international architecture awards only recognize individuals for their built contribution rather than their importance to the culture. Giving Frampton this award makes a statement that architecture culture is not just about buildings but the larger society. (…) I think that this year’s Triennale Close, Closer could only have happened after the sort of critical thinking and architectural activism of someone like Frampton."
Jury member Juhani Pallasmaa also noted Frampton's significant influence: “Frampton's impact in the field of architecture exceeds that of most of the architects who have designed a lot of buildings, but not served as intellectual and ethical guides for several generations of architects and writers."
The prize, whose jury also included Beatrice Galilee (Chief Curator of the Triennale), Gonçalo Byrne, Guilherme Wisnik, Mónica Gili, and Taro Igarashi, was given to Italian architect Vittorio Gregotti (co-author of CCB) in 2007 and Álvaro Siza in 2010.
Frampton will receive the award (and present a lecture) at Lisbon’s Centro Cultural de Belém, in early January 2014.