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Spain wins Golden Lion as Venice Architecture Biennale opens

Spain has scooped the Golden Lion award at the 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy. Architects from Nigeria, Brazil, Peru and Paraguay also won prizes, while Germany walked away empty handed.

Director of the 15th Biennale, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, opened the Venice International Architecture Exhibition on Saturday with a ceremony to recognize this year's best achievements.

The jury awarded the Golden Lion for best national participation to Spain for its exhibition titled "Unfinished." The judges described the display as "a concisely curated selection of emerging architects whose work shows how creativity and commitment can transcend material constraints."

Special mention also went to contributions from Japan and Peru.

The German exhibition, titled "Making Heimat - Germany arrival country," missed out on an award. The word 'Heimat' refers to the German term for 'homeland.' The work was conceived by Peter Cachola Schmal, the head of the German Architecture Museum, and draws on the current refugee crisis in Europe.

Venedig 15. Architektur-Biennale Deutscher Pavillon Making Heimat

Germany, one of 65 countries participating in the Biennale, failed to win any prizes for the exhibition 'Making Heimat'

Taking place every other year, the international exhibition occupies two locations in Venice: the "Giardini" (Gardens) and the expansive "Arsenale" - a historic wharf. There are 65 countries taking part in this year's event, which runs until November 27.

Buildings to boost quality of life

The theme for the 2016 Architecture Biennale is "Reporting from the Front." It called on architects from around the world to propose solutions to some of the greatest urban problems - from rebuilding cities ravaged by war to making refugee camps liveable.

In this section of the competition, the Golden Lion went to a team of architects from Paraguay for "harnessing simple materials, structural ingenuity and unskilled labour to bring architecture to underserved communities."

Biennale in Venedig

Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi impressed the judges with his floating school

The Silver Lion for a promising young participant went to Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi for his Makoko Floating School. The jury said it served as a powerful demonstration "that architecture, at once iconic and pragmatic, can amplify the importance of education."

Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha was also honored with a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.

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