The spotlight is again on Venice for the Biennale’s 15th International Architecture Exhibition, with Director Alejandro Aravena at the helm of Reporting From The Front. Improving the quality of the built environment is a challenge that must be addressed on many fronts, not just one. From ensuring high standards of everyday living to interpreting and fulfilling human needs, and from respecting the single individual to taking care of the common good. Reflecting this common theme throughout, the exhibition starts at the Giardini’s Central Pavilion and ends at the Arsenale. With upwards of 88 participants from 37 countries involved, the exhibition includes five new entries from Nigeria, Yemen, the Seychelles Islands, Lithuania and the Philippines. Like all the Biennale Architecture Exhibitions in previous years, the Italian Pavilion occupies a special site at the Arsenale’s Tese delle Vergini, curated by TAMassociati (Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo & Simone Sfriso) and sponsored by the Ministry of Heritage, Culture and Tourism.
Bruce Chatwin gives us a glimpse of the image he proposed to Aravena for the event. An old woman looking for a more expansive view of the ground beneath her, climbs a ladder to observe it from above. The exhibition would also like to offer a new point of view that travels far beyond fragmented efforts on the ground to include creative endeavours that create space for hope. According to the Biennale Architecture Exhibition curator, “on the one hand, we would like to widen the range of issues to which architecture is expected to respond, adding explicitly to the artistic and cultural dimensions of our scope, those that are on the social, political, economic and environmental end of the spectrum. On the other hand, we would like to highlight the fact that responsible architecture must respond to more than one of these at a time, integrating a variety of fields instead of choosing one over the other.”
Exhibition sponsors include Laminam – a company specialising in the manufacture of large ceramic slabs at reduced thicknesses – which will be unveiling the World Atlas Book project during the Il Pianeta in Superficie round table. This limited edition volume details a global voyage of discovery into culture and the artistic spirit through the photographs of Andrea Garuti, telling the brand’s story through architecture and the use of Laminam products the world over.
Reporting from Marghera and Other Waterfronts is one of three special projects to be presented throughout the exhibition from May 28th to November 27th. Sponsored by the Biennale and curated by architect Stefano Recalcati, this section of the exhibition analyzes some of the most significant urban regeneration projects for industrial ports including Porto Maghera. Curated by Brendan Cormier and produced in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, A World of Fragile Parts follows whilst curator Ricky Burdett delves into the relationship between public and private spaces in Conflicts of an Urban Age, developed in the context of the United Nations Habitat III Conference.
Parallel events at the Biennale’s 15th International Architecture Exhibition include Meetings on Architecture, the Biennale Sessions project for universities and academies, educational opportunities for students of every level, as well as the Golden Lion award ceremony honouring the Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha for his lifetime achievement.