Posts tagged with "Venice Architecture Biennale":

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Kenneth Frampton is awarded Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at Venice Biennale

Architect, educator, and author Kenneth Frampton has received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Frampton joins the ranks of past winners such as Paulo Mendes da Rocha in 2016, Phyllis Lambert in 2014, and Álvaro Siza Vieira in 2012. Born in London in 1930 and educated at the Architectural Association, Frampton has worked as an architect, critic, and historian, and taught at a number of vaunted schools over the course of his career. He’s perhaps most well-known for his 1980 work Modern Architecture: A Critical History, which has since become a seminal text in the field. Frampton has also taught consistently at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) since 1972. This year’s decision was made by the chair of the Board of La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, with recommendations from the International Architecture Exhibition curators, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. "Through his work, Kenneth Frampton occupies a position of extraordinary insight and intelligence combined with a unique sense of integrity,” said Farrell and McNamara in a joint statement. “He stands out as the voice of truth in the promotion of key values of architecture and its role in society.  His humanistic philosophy in relation to architecture is embedded in his writing and he has consistently argued for this humanistic component throughout all the various ‘movements’ and trends often misguided in architecture in the 20th and 21st century.” "There is no student of the faculties of architecture who is unfamiliar with his Modern Architecture: A Critical History,” said Baratta in a press release. “The Golden Lion goes this year to a 'maestro,' and in this sense it also intended to be a recognition of the importance of the critical approach to the teaching of architecture.” Other than Modern Architecture: A Critical History, Frampton has authored numerous other influential books clarifying the internal language of the built environment, including Studies in Tectonic CultureLabour, Work and Architecture, and A Genealogy of Modern Architecture: Comparative Critical Analysis of Built Form. Frampton will officially receive his award on Saturday, May 26, 1018, during the award ceremony and inauguration of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. The event will open to the public at 10:00 AM and will be held in the Biennale’s headquarters of Ca’ Giustinian.
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Foster + Partners reveals their Vatican Chapel for the Venice Architecture Biennale

Following the reveal of the Asplund Pavilion, a precursor to the ten chapels that the Vatican will be presenting at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, Foster + Partners has released renderings for the United Kingdom’s contribution. First announced in January, the Holy See’s pavilion, Vatican Chapels, will be built on San Giorgio Maggiore, a forested island across from St. Mark’s Square, and consist of ten temporary chapels meant to embrace the reverence of nature. The designs released by Foster + Partners show a serpentine timber pavilion that curves through the Venetian woods, with three distinct sections supported by cross-shaped structural elements. A series of perforated vertical slats will drape the exterior of the chapel, letting visitors glimpse the surrounding woodland while also dappling the interior with light and shadow. In a statement sent to AN, the final idea for the chapel arose from the concept of three symbolic crosses draped with a “tent-like membrane”; ultimately the crosses became anchoring masts and the membrane transformed into the lattice shown in the renderings. The chapel will be supported largely in part through tensioning between the different components. “Our project started with the selection of the site,” said Norman Foster in a statement. “On a visit to San Giorgio Maggiore, close to Palladio’s magnificent church and the Teatro Verde, we found a green space with two mature trees beautifully framing the view of the lagoon. It was like a small oasis in the big garden, perfect for contemplation. Our aim is to create a small sanctuary space diffused with dappled shade and removed from the normality of passers-by, focused instead on the water and sky beyond.” The 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale is the first time that the Vatican will be represented at the festival. In describing their design approach, the Church emphasized that the chapels–each built by a team from a different country–are meant to express Catholicism through that country’s unique history with the religion. After the conclusion of the Biennale, the chapels will be sent all over the world to serve in areas lacking dedicated houses of worship. Foster + Partners’ chapel is being constructed in partnership with Italian furniture manufacturer Tecno. The pavilion’s opening ceremony will be held on May 25, and will remain on display through November 18, 2018.
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Vatican reveals details of its Venice Architecture Biennale pavilion

At a press conference this morning, Vatican officials revealed more details surrounding the Holy See pavilion, Vatican City's first-ever foray into the Venice Architecture Biennale. The pavilion, which was first announced in January, will consist of ten full-scale chapels that can reconstructed and deployed to parishes anywhere in the world. Vatican Chapels, as the project is officially known, will be erected in a forest on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, opposite St. Mark's Square The ten chapels are intended to symbolically reference the Ten Commandments ("a sort of decalogue of presences"). Each structure will contain a pulpit and an altar, two traditional features of a Catholic place of worship. A Holy See press release described the thinking behind the directive:
"A visit to the ten Vatican Chapels, then, is a sort of pilgrimage that is not only religious but also secular. It is a path for all who wish to rediscover beauty, silence, the interior and transcendent voice, the human fraternity of being together in the assembly of people, and the loneliness of the woodland where one can experience the rustle of nature which is like a cosmic temple."
Before setting foot inside the ten spaces, visitors will enter the Asplund Pavilion, an exhibition of drawings of Gunnar Asplund's Woodland Chapel, a space of worship the Swedish architect constructed inside Stockholm Cemetery in 1920. In this work, the Holy See said Asplund "defined the chapel as a place of orientation, encounter and meditation, seemingly formed by chance or natural forces inside a vast forest," a brick-and-mortar manifestation of life's progress. The Church is encouraging the participating architects, including the U.K.'s Norman Foster, to respond to the themes Asplund suggested in his Woodland Chapel, but more radically. Designed by Venice-based MAP Studio, the Asplund Pavilion will balance the ten architects' ten chapels, which, the Church said, will not be like typical churches. Instead, they will be designed "without any reference to generally recognized canons, and without being able to rely on any model from a typological viewpoint ..." The design proposals have not been made public at this time, though the Church has confirmed they will be sited in a wooded area on San Giorgio Maggiore. With few exceptions, pavilions are associated with places, and specifically nation-states, but the Holy See, which is based in Vatican City, represents the Catholic Church the world over. Although this will be the first time the Church has entered the Venice Architecture Biennale, Vatican City participated in the Venice Biennale in 2013 and again in 2015. The art biennale is held in odd years while architecture biennale takes place in even years. Today, ALPI released renderings of MAP Studio's design for the Asplund Pavilion. The exterior, pictured at top, is clad in 9,000 composite wood shingles by the Italian company ALPI, while the interior, above, features display nooks for Asplund's drawings. 3/21/18: This post has been updated with new renderings and more information about the Asplund Pavilion.
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Details announced for U.S. Pavilion at 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

More details were announced Monday about the upcoming U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition will be titled Dimensions of Citizenship and curated by Niall Atkinson, associate professor of architectural history at the University of Chicago; Ann Lui, assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC); Mimi Zeiger, an independent critic, editor, curator, and educator; and associate curator Iker Gil, lecturer at SAIC. Dimensions of Citizenship will feature the work of seven architecture practices to “explore how citizenship may be defined, constructed, enacted, contested, or expressed in the built environment at seven different spatial scales. Expanding from the body and city to the network and the heavens, the seven installations raise questions about issues including belonging, sovereignty, and ecology,” according to the curatorial statement. The seven spatial scales are used as an organizing principle to examine the ways citizenship affects and is affected by the built environment. Each studio is assigned a scale as the prompt. Scale: Citizen / Amanda Williams + Andres L. Hernandez, in collaboration with Shani Crowe From the project description: “Dimensions of Citizenship begins at the scale of the citizen with the project Thrival Geographies (In My Mind I See a Line), which will consider how race shapes notions of identity, shelter, and public space in historically African-American communities. For their installation in the courtyard of the U.S. Pavilion, Williams (a recently named 2018 USA Ford Fellow) and Hernandez, who is an associate professor of art education at SAIC, will partner with Chicago-based artist Shani Crowe, whose intricate braided hair sculptures have been worn by celebrities such as Solange. While the specter of slavery and continued racial injustice will be at the core of the installation, the piece will ultimately strive for a possible architecture of freedom that might allow all citizens to thrive and participate in the democratic ideal. Scale: Civitas / Studio Gang From the project description: “Led by 2011 MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang uses design as a medium to help strengthen communities. Stone Stories builds on the Studio’s ongoing work in Memphis, Tennessee, to investigate how redesigning cities’ public space can be an exercise of citizenship and empowerment. Inspired by Memphis’s recent removal of two Confederate statues, Stone Storiesoffers an inclusive urban vision for Cobblestone Landing, an overlooked yet historically important site along the Mississippi River. Hundreds of Memphis cobblestones will be shipped to Venice and used as a platform to share the stories of Memphians past and present, offering visitors a visceral and material interaction with a distant public space and the citizens who are actively building its shared urban future.” Scale: Region / SCAPE From the project description: “SCAPE, under the leadership of 2017 MacArthur Fellow Kate Orff, will demonstrate that landscape architecture can be a critical tool for re-envisioning the response of citizens to climate change. SCAPE’s project, Ecological Citizens, understands the region as an area defined by the shifting relationships of ecology, infrastructure, and climate. It takes the Venetian Lagoon as a globally significant case study of a tidal region under ecological threat. Partnering with Università di Bologna and the Italian Institute of Marine Sciences, SCAPE will present possible solutions or interventions to aid the environmentally sensitive La Certosa island in the lagoon. Scale: Nation / Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman From the project description: “Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman challenges the way we think about national boundaries. Their project, MEXUS: A Geography of Interdependence, reveals a transnational zone comprised of eight watershed systems shared by Mexico and the United States. MEXUS provokes us to rethink citizenship beyond the limits of the nation, mobilizing a more inclusive, interdependent idea based on co-existence, shared assets, and cooperative opportunities between divided communities. Cruz is the winner of the 2018 Vilcek Prize in Architecture, which is presented to immigrants who are champions of the arts and sciences. Scale: Globe / Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, Robert Gerard Pietrusko with Columbia Center for Spatial Research From the project description: “When we zoom out to the scale of the globe, the primacy of the individual, the city, and even the nation drops away and is replaced by data: electricity, trade routes, migratory shifts, and the flow of capital, goods, and people. In Plain Sight—a collaboration among Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, and Robert Gerard Pietrusko with Columbia Center for Spatial Research—uses data drawn from images created by the Soumi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite to visualize where people live on earth. Two contrasting NASA images of the Earth taken at 1:30 pm and 1:30 amshow us the gaps in the network: the places with many people and no lights, and those with bright lights and no people. This information maps out a political geography of belonging and exclusion. Scale: Network / Keller Easterling with MANY From the project description: “Keller Easterling’s writings and projects regularly investigate the emergent territory where the state meets the digital network. With MANY, an online platform designed to facilitate migration through an exchange of needs, Easterling and team propose that we use the network to rethink possibly outdated notions of citizenship. With a nod to the pervasive and familiar share economies that define online life, MANY envisions a global form of matchmaking between the sidelined talents of migrating populations and the multitude of opportunities around the world. Favoring cosmopolitan mobility over national identity, MANY looks to short-term visas as a tool to foster an exchange of needs. Scale: Cosmos / Design Earth From the project description: “The space above Earth, as a site of existing human occupation and potential belonging, has become a territory that both captures the imagination and serves as a theater for existing conflicts or conditions. In looking to the cosmos, Design Earth’s speculative designs suggest possible off-world architectural responses. Design Earth’s El Hadi Jazairy and Rania Ghosn (recipient of the 2017 Boghossian Foundation Prize) present three “geo-stories,” which speculate on the legal geography of citizenship when extended to “the province of all mankind.” Together the stories in Cosmorama—Mining the Sky, Planetary Ark, and Pacific Cemetery—ask how we should reckon with the epic and frontier narratives that have fueled space exploration, at a time when prospects of instability and extinction have become normal on Earth.
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Facade fragment of Robin Hood Gardens will be shown at Venice Biennale

Few buildings are as quintessentially British and Brutalist as Robin Hood Gardens, a London housing estate designed by Alison and Peter Smithson in the late 1960s. And now, remnants of the complex are heading to Italy, where the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) will present a facade section of the demolished icon as part of the Venice Biennale. (It's actually a return to Venice for the late architects, who displayed billboard-sized images of the under-construction buildings at the Biennale in 1976.) The Robin Hood Gardens housing block has never been far from the center of the debate of social housing since the Smithsons first unveiled plans for a concrete mass of residences linked by "streets in the sky." And now that it's being demolished to make way for a new development—all while cities around the globe struggle to house growing populations—that controversy is more in the news than ever. Though Peter Smithson himself expressed his regrets about the failures of the design, Robin Hood Gardens found a legion of supporters, if not strictly for its Brutalist design, then for its place within the conversation about urbanism. In fact, an all-star lineup of contemporary architects including Richard Rogers, Robert Venturi, Toyo Ito, and the late Zaha Hadid, came together to protest the buildings' demolition. When it became clear that plans would move forward, the V&A stepped in—on the urging of London firm Muf architecture/art—to acquire a nearly 29-foot high by 18-foot-wide by 26-foot-deep cross-section of the housing complex. The museum will be presenting a fragment from the estate at the Pavilion of Applied Arts in the Sale d’Armi in the Arsenale, from May 26 to November 25, 2018.   The  segment will be displayed on a scaffolding system designed by Arup, the firm that engineered the original Robin Hood Gardens, while a film by artist Do Ho Suh will document the structure. Additional documents and interviews will give context to the social history of the complex. ‘The case of Robin Hood Gardens is arresting because it embodied such a bold vision for housing provision yet less than 50 years after its completion, it is being torn down," said pavilion curators Christopher Turner and Olivia Horsfall Turner in a joint statement. "Out of the ruins of Robin Hood Gardens, we want to look again at the Smithsons’ original ideals and ask how they can inform and inspire current thinking about social housing."
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Venice Architecture Biennale announces main exhibitors and expands on its theme

Curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale have announced more details about the 2018 show, themed Freespace. This year, 71 studios and 65 countries, seven of which are participating for the first time, including the Vatican, will show their work in two separate exhibitions, from May 26 through November 25, 2018. In the show’s manifesto by Farrell and McNamara, Freespace is described as, “[…] examples of generosity and thoughtfulness in architecture throughout the world that will be celebrated in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition. We believe these qualities sustain the fundamental capacity of architecture to nurture and support meaningful contact between people and place. We focus our attention on these qualities because we consider that intrinsic to them are optimism and continuity.” As such, Freespace entrants will be given leeway to present works that can range from open civic spaces to material studies, as long as they laud the natural world and “nature’s free gifts.” Freespace is accepting proposals, examples, and pieces of projects, both built and unbuilt, that evoke a hidden beauty through the use of materiality, form, complexity, or place. Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale di Venezia, praised this year’s theme and the participants’ commitment to improving society through design. “The absence of architecture makes the world poorer and diminishes the level of public welfare, otherwise reached by economic and demographic developments. To rediscover architecture means to renew a strong desire for the quality of the spaces where we live, which are a form of public wealth that needs to be constantly protected, renovated and created?" Below are all 71 architects:
  1. 6a architects(London, UK) Tom Emerson; Stephanie Macdonald; John Ross; Owen Watson
  2. Alison Brooks Architects(London, UK) Alison Brooks
  3. Álvaro Siza 2 – Arquitecto, SA(Porto, Portugal) Álvaro Siza Vieira
  4. Amateur Architecture Studio(Hangzhou, China) Wang Shu; Lu Wenyu
  5. andramatin(Jakarta, Indonesia) Andra Matin
  6. Angela Deuber Architect(Chur, Switzerland) Angela Deuber
  7. architecten de vylder vinck taillieu(Ghent, Belgium) Jan de Vylder; Inge Vinck; Jo Taillieu
  8. Arrea architecture(Ljubljana, Slovenia) Maruša Zorec
  9. Assemble(London, UK) Jane Issler Hall; Mathew Leung; Alice Edgerley; Adam Willis; Fran Edgerley; Amica Dall; Giles Smith; James Binning; Paloma Strelitz; Lewis Jones; Joseph Halligan; Louis Schulz; Maria Lisogorskaya; Karim Khelil; Anthony Engi Meacock
  10. Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner(Haldenstein, Switzerland) Peter Zumthor
  11. Aurelio Galfetti(Lugano and Bellinzona, Switzerland)
  12. Barclay & Crousse(Lima, Peru) Sandra Barclay; Jean-Pierre Crousse
  13. BC architects & studies(Brussels, Belgium) Ken De Cooman; Nicolas Coeckelberghs; Wes Degreef; Laurens Bekemans
  14. Benedetta Tagliabue - Miralles Tagliabue EMBT(Barcelona, Spain; Shangai, China) Benedetta Tagliabue; Elena Nedelcu; Joan Callís
  15. BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group(New York, USA; Copenhagen, Denmark; London, UK) Bjarke Ingels; Sheela Maini Søgaard; Finn Nørkjær; Thomas Christoffersen; Kai-Uwe Bergmann; Andreas Klok Pedersen; David Zahle; Jakob Lange; Beat Schenk; Daniel Sundlin; Brian Yang; Jakob Sand
  16. Burkhalter Sumi Architekten (Zürich, Switzerland)  Marianne Burkhalter; Christian Sumi with Marco Pogacnik (Venice, Italy)
  17. Carla Juaçaba(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  18. Caruso St John Architects(London, UK) Adam Caruso; Peter St John
  19. Case Design(Mumbai, India) Anne Geenen; Samuel Barclay
  20. Cino Zucchi Architetti(Milan, Italy) Cino Zucchi
  21. Crimson Architectural Historians(Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Ewout Dorman; Michelle Provoost; Cassandra Wilkins; Wouter Vanstiphout; Simone Rots; Annuska Pronkhorst
  22. David Chipperfield Architects(London, UK; Berlin, Germany; Milan, Italy; Shanghai, China) David Chipperfield; Alexander Schwarz; Martin Reichert; Christoph Felger; Eva Schad; Harald  Müller
  23. de Blacam and Meagher Architects(Dublin, Ireland; Ibiza, Spain) Shane de Blacam; John Meagher
  24. Diller Scofidio + Renfro(New York, USA) Elizabeth Diller; Charles Renfro; Ricardo Scofidio; Benjamin Gilmartin
  25. DnA_Design and Architecture(Beijing, China) Xu Tiantian
  26. Dorte Mandrup A/S(Copenhagen, Denmark) Dorte Mandrup; Frants Nielsen
  27. Elemental(Santiago, Chile) Alejandro Aravena; Gonzalo Arteaga; Juan Cerda; Diego Torres; Victor Oddo
  28. Elizabeth Hatz Architects(Stockholm, Sweden) Elizabeth Hatz
  29. Estudio Carme Pinós(Barcelona, Spain) Carme Pinós
  30. Flores & Prats(Barcelona, Spain) Eva Prats; Ricardo Flores
  31. Francesca Torzo Architetto(Genova, Italy) Francesca Torzo
  32. Gion A. Caminada(Vrin-Cons, Switzerland)
  33. GrupoSP(São Paulo, Brazil) Alvaro Puntoni; Joao Sodre
  34. Gumuchdjian Architects(London, UK) Philip Gumuchdjian
  35. Hall McKnight(Belfast and London, UK) Alastair Hall; Ian McKnight
  36. Inês Lobo, Arquitectos(Lisbon, Portugal) Inês Lobo; João Rosário
  37. Jensen og Skodvin Arkitekter AS(Oslo, Norway) Jan Olav Jensen; Børre Skodvin; Torunn Golberg; Torstein Koch
  38. John Wardle Architects(Melbourne, Australia) John Wardle, Stefan Mee, Meaghan Dwyer, Bill Krotiris, Jane Williams
  39. Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA(Tokyo, Japan) Kazuyo Sejima; Ryue Nishizawa
  40. Kieran Long; Johan Örn; James Taylor-Foster (Stockholm, Sweden) with  ArkDes (Stockholm, Sweden)
  41. Lacaton & Vassal Architects(Paris, France) Anne Lacaton; Jean Philippe Vassal
  42. Laura Peretti Architects(Rome, Italy) Laura Peretti
  43. Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo(Vittoria – Ragusa, Italy)
  44. Marie-José Van Hee architecten(Ghent, Belgium) Marie-José Van Hee
  45. Marina Tabassum Architects(Dhaka, Bangladesh) Marina Tabassum
  46. Matharoo Associates(Ahmedabad, India) Gurjit Singh Matharoo
  47. Michael Maltzan Architecture(Los Angeles, USA) Michael Maltzan
  48. Niall McLaughlin Architects(London, UK) Niall McLaughlin
  49. O'Donnell + Tuomey(Dublin, Ireland) John Tuomey; Sheila O'Donnell
  50. Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos(Madrid, Spain) Angela Garcia de Paredes; Ignacio G. Pedrosa
  51. Paulo Mendes da Rocha(São Paulo, Brazil)
  52. Peter Rich Architects(Johannesburg, South Africa) Peter Rich
  53. Rafael Moneo, Arquitecto(Madrid, Spain) Rafael Moneo
  54. Rintala Eggertsson Architects(Oslo and Bodø, Norway) Dagur Eggertsson; Vibeke Jensen; Sami Rintala
  55. RMA Architects(Mumbai, India; Boston, USA) Rahul Mehrotra; Nondita Correa Mehrotra; Robert Stephens; Payal Patel
  56. Robert McCarter, Professor of Architecture(St. Louis, Missouri, USA) Robert McCarter
  57. Room11 Architects(Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) Thomas Bailey; Nathan Crump; Megan Baynes
  58. Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura(Mexico City, Mexico) Rozana Montiel
  59. Salter Collingridge Design(London and Ludlow, UK) Peter Salter; Fenella Collingridge
  60. Sauerbruch Hutton(Berlin, Germany) Matthias Sauerbruch; Louisa Hutton; Juan Lucas Young
  61. Skälsö Arkitekter(Visby and Stockholm, Sweden) Joel Phersson; Erik Gardell; Lisa Ekström; Mats Håkansson; Axel Wolgers
  62. Souto Moura - Arquitectos, S.A.(Porto, Portugal) Eduardo Souto de Moura
  63. Studio Anna Heringer(Laufen, Germany) Anna Heringer
  64. Studio Gang(Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, USA) Jeanne Gang
  65. Studio Odile DECQ(Paris, France) Odile Decq
  66. Talli Architecture and Design(Helsinki, Finland) Pia Ilonen; Minna Lukander; Martti Lukander
  67. Tezuka Architects(Tokyo, Japan) Takaharu Tezuka; Yui Tezuka
  68. Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects(Tokyo, Japan) Toyo Ito
  69. Vector Architects(Beijing, China) Gong Dong
  70. VTN Architects(Hochiminh City, Vietnam) Vo Trong Nghia
  71. Weiss/Manfredi(New York, USA) Marion Weiss; Micheal Manfredi
This year’s biennale will also see pavilions from the aforementioned 65 countries go up in the Giardini, the Arsenale, and the Venice city center. It also marks the first time that Antigua & Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Mongolia, Pakistan, and the Holy See will be exhibiting pavilions. The national participants have chosen to tackle the theme in a variety of ways. While some countries have opted to highlight environmental justice, others will prompt discussions on a “lack of free space” or seek to explore the term. A full list of the 65 national entrants and their pavilion’s theme can be found here. The United States will front a hefty and diverse group of seven design teams for this year’s show to realize Dimensions of Citizenship.
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How the floating (and collapsing) Makoko school was doomed from the start

Kunlé Adeyemi, of the firm NLÉ, is perhaps one of the most widely acclaimed architects practicing today. Among his renowned projects was a floating school in Makoko, a slum on the fringes of Lagos. It was so well regarded that it was reprised and built in the canals of Venice for the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture, curated by architect Alejandro Aravena. Completed in 2013, the school was not long for this world. In the summer of 2016, it collapsed. For the Atavist Magazine, Allyn Gaestel traces the intertwining narratives of power, ego, and money that led to the lauded project quite literally falling apart. Despite the media painting the project as a roaring success (an image NLÉ was very happy to maintain), Gaestel's reporting reveals the school was rife with problems from the get-go. The school was originally begun as an extension to the Whanyinna school. Initially a collaboration between Adeyemi with Lagos native Isi Etomi, who had herself spent a year teaching at the Makoko school, their partnership fell apart as Adeyemi’s proposals grew more and more grand, and in Etomi’s eyes, more unrealistic and detached from the needs of students. The Stiller Foundation (the namesake of actor Ben Stiller), who had been funding the school, seemingly agreed with Etomi and pulled out of the project. Adeyemi, alone, secured funding from the United Nations Development Program and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Construction began on a floating multistory A-frame structure. While there was funding for the extravagant building, none was put in place for basic supplies or teachers. Photos were staged for the press. Two and a half years after opening, classes began. The school, arguably neglected from the beginning, eventually fell into disrepair. Students were afraid to attend, as water entered the structure and wind rocked the school. Instead, they returned to the original Whanyinna, crammed together in the miniscule space. When confronted about the state of the floating school, NLÉ replied that it was the responsibility of the community to maintain the school, not them. Eventually the school fell into itself. A press release from NLÉ spun this as a “decommission...in anticipation of reconstruction.” If a “decommission,” it was a rather inelegant and unexpected one. No one involved with the school had heard anything of this supposed reconstruction. For many residents and onlookers, the school functioned as a vanity project. In a searing op-ed, architect James Inedu wrote “All the school did was to blow up the designer’s ego and to give him highly coveted international attention...It was simply bad architecture done iconically.” Etomi responded by setting up a GoFundMe to raise money to build a more durable solution for students. The school’s director Noah Shemede has disagreed with her approach and the renovation and extension remains in limbo. Read the full story online at the Atavist Magazine.
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The Vatican reveals its first-ever Venice Architecture Biennale pavilion

This year for the first time, the Vatican will participate in the Venice Architecture Biennale. The Catholic Church's country-within-a-city tapped Italian curator and architecture historian Francesco Dal Co to select ten architects from ten countries to design ten chapels for the pavilion. The chapels must be able to be reconstructed elsewhere, as the Vatican has plans to place them in localities that lack their own houses of worship after the exhibition closes. Paraguay media ABC and Última Hora first reported the news, and ArchDaily picked it up for the stateside audience. Here are the ten chosen architects:
  • Andrew Berman, USA
  • Carla Juaçaba, Brazil
  • Eduardo Souto de Moura, Portugal
  • Eva Prats & Ricardo Flores, Spain
  • Francesco Cellini, Italy
  • Javier Corvalán, Paraguay
  • Norman Foster, United Kingdom
  • Sean Godsell, Australia
  • Smiljan Radic, Chile
  • Teronobu Fujimori, Japan
Although this is the Vatican's first time at the Venice Architecture Biennale, it first entered the other, (much) older Venice Biennale in 2013. The international art showcase occurs in the architecture event's off years.
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How mass timber could transform our cities (really)

This is a preview of our special November timber issue. Mass timber is having its Maison Dom-Ino moment. At the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, a curious structure sat on the grass near the international pavilion in the Giardini. It was an engineered timber version of Le Corbusier’s Maison Dom-Ino, the seminal, prototypical reinforced concrete project, which was celebrating its 100th birthday. As a manifesto of sorts for modernism, the original Maison Dom-
Ino sent shockwaves through the 
architecture world and the built environment at large. It was a replicable, scalable building system made from simple columns and floor slabs, which could be stacked vertically and horizontally like dominoes. The 2014 version was commissioned by Brett Steele, then dean at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He described the “afterlife” of the 1914 Dom-Ino as “a set of guiding, abstract, and idealized principles” that have shaped the world as we know it today. The choice of timber in this case is an interesting one, as mass timber seems to be today’s material that looks promising for the future, much like steel and concrete did in the 20th century. As outlined in this issue, timber has a litany of benefits including carbon sequestration, lower embodied energy than steel and concrete, psychological benefits for inhabitants, less construction noise in tight urban sites, easier on-site construction in general, and many other positive aspects. It would reorient wood from light-frame suburban development toward mid-rise dense urban development. Taller and taller timber towers serve as the “Eiffel Tower” moments for the rapidly expanding timber industry, as pointed out by Jimmy Stamp in the Smithsonian Magazine article, "Is Timber the Future of Urban Construction?" And these important projects have brought attention to an otherwise niche building trade. Alongside these "Wow!" projects, there is another, less sexy side of the timber revolution that could help to change the way we build in America. New technologies abroad are already making mid-rise construction cheaper and more viable at larger scales. This incremental progress is taking place among manufacturers, architects, engineers, and designers as we speak in places like the nearly 600,000-square-foot Arbora complex in Montreal, Quebec. And companies, such as Nordic Engineered Wood, are expanding in the U.S. market, a place known for innovation that makes things cheaper and more market-ready. Once the market can produce mass timber structures more cheaply than steel and concrete, there could be a seismic shift. And as timber becomes more viable for safety concerns, and more legal through local codes adapting ("The State of the Art of Timber"), we could see timber proliferate at the same rate as the early-20th century saw the Maison Dom-Ino’s system spread across the world over the next 100 years. But of course we are speculating a bit in this issue. The future is not so clear. A fight is brewing in Congress ("What Wood You Do?") over the bipartisan Timber Innovation Act (and along with it, lobbying antics from the steel, concrete, and sand industries). If U.S. governmental agencies and private companies—namely manufacturers—come together, the costs could come down. It is possible that architectural knowledge-research and development could bend the markets so as to impact both economic and environmental resource allocation networks toward a lower-carbon future, as architect and timber expert Alan Organschi told AN in a conversation. The arms race is already on, and the National Forest Service has awarded $250,000 to Boston-based IKD to develop a hardwood-based cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is an important incremental step in the process. This issue speculates on a future where entire blocks might be built with green technologies including mass timber, and whole cities could be filled with beautiful wood buildings layered onto the stone, brick, steel, glass, and concrete urban fabric. How this revolution might play out is unclear, but we are seeing glimpses of what might be to come, such as Framework by LEVER Architecture in Portland, which will be the tallest timber building in the U.S., or the work of Michael Green Architecture in Vancouver, or Gray Organschi Architecture out of New Haven, Connecticut, which has been researching mass timber at the Yale School of Architecture. We also look to Europe and Canada for success stories that might be examples for the future of mass timber in the U.S. As Steele said of his 2014 Maison Dom-Ino, “This initial installation will remind visitors not only of modern architecture's most foundational project, but of an architectural instinct made even more apparent today than it was at the time of its original conception; namely that architecture always operates in the space created by a contrast between architecture as already known, and what it might yet become.” Can we imagine a partially wooden future? This article will be updated with links to other articles from the November timber issue.
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U.S. Pavilion announces design teams for 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

Seven design teams have been selected to represent the United States in the U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.  The pavilion's curators, Niall Atkinson, from the University of Chicago; Ann Lui of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Los Angeles–based critic and curator Mimi Zeiger, selected Dimensions of Citizenship as the theme of this year's exhibition, to engage architecture in the timely question of what it means to be a citizen. According to the curators, the selected teams represent a range of design practices, from the technical to the speculative, but "are united by researched-based methodologies and the drive to use that research to push boundaries—formal, disciplinary, and political.” Each team will examine a different dimension of design and citizenship. Their projects will be placed in dialogue with existing projects by architects and other practitioners, who will be announced later. The selected exhibitors are: Amanda Williams + Andres L. Hernandez (Chicago, IL) This duo brings an artistic and political bent to the Pavilion: both Williams and Hernandez have training in architecture and explore themes related to race, vacancy, and blight in urban landscapes. Williams is most widely known for her work Color(ed) Theoryshown in the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennale; Hernandez is co-founder of the Revival Arts Collective as well as the founder and director of the Urban Vacancy Research Initiative. DESIGN EARTH (Cambridge, MA) Headed by MIT's Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, this design research practice works on the geographies of technological systems from speculation into the problems posed by waste management to the fate of oil-rich landscapes. They're currently at work on an exhibition titled Geostoriesa "manifesto [...] on the environmental imagination presented in architectural projects that engage the planetary scale with a commitment to the drawing as a medium." Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Cambridge, MA) This heavy-hitting firm will already be familiar to many. Best known for their work on the High Line in New York City, The Broad in Los Angeles, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Chicago, DS+R brings a seasoned, interdisciplinary team to the task. Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman (San Diego, CA) This research-based political and architectural practice is comprised of two professors from the University of California, San Diego (USCD): Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman. Over the years, the two have examined issues of informal urbanization, civic infrastructure, and public culture, mostly focused on Latin American cities. They also co-head USCD's Cross-Border initiative, whose mission is "to promote interdisciplinary poverty research and practice in the San Diego-Tijuana border region." Keller Easterling (New Haven, CT) Easterling is a professor at Yale University's School of Architecture and a prolific author of eight books and countless articles. Her most recent publication through Verso, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Spaceslooks at global infrastructure with the angle that "emerging governmental and corporate forces [are] buried within the concrete and fiber-optics of our modern habitat." SCAPE (New York, NY) Founded and directed by Columbia GSAPP professor Kate Orff, SCAPE is a landscape architecture firm with an eye on large-scale ecological resilience. In its winning entry to the 2014 Rebuild by Design competition, Living BreakwatersSCAPE employed multiple lines of storm surge defense including artificial reefs promoting biodiversity in New York City's heavily polluted harbor. Orff has also published an examination of the chemical corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in partnership with photographer Richard Misrach – Petrochemical America – and more recently, Toward an Urban Ecology. Studio Gang (Chicago, IL) Architect and MacArthur fellow Jeanne Gang is also well-known for her designs, from her undulating Aqua Tower to her Women's March-inspired exhibit Hive at the National Building Museum. Studio Gang's international work centers on a design principle of "actionable idealism" – the capacity for design to push public awareness of different issues (whether climate change, inequity, or urban decay) and encourage change – which will lend itself well to this year's theme.

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Additionally, Iker Gil – a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Director of MAS Studio, and founder of its design journal MAS Context – has been selected as associate curator of the exhibition to join the curatorial team of Atkinson, Lui and Zeiger.
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BREAKING: SAIC and UChicago may be organizing the U.S. Pavilion at Venice Biennale

We have been reporting on the official silence from the U.S. Department of State regarding the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. But now there seems to be a glimmer of information on who will organize and curate the pavilion. A job posting on the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) website is seeking a “Venice Biennale US Exhibition and Program [Coordinator].” The exhibition, according to this posting, is being co-curated with the University of Chicago:
Under the leadership of the SAIC and UChicago program directors and curatorial team, the Exhibition and Program Coordinator supports the development of the U.S. pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice, Italy (hereafter, “Biennale”) through research, fundraising, planning, scheduling, commissioning, staffing, and more. This work involves coordinating and collaborating with architects, artists, scholars, public and private organizations in both the U.S. and Italy.
There is no word on the theme of the exhibition and the posting makes us wonder if this group was selected without a coordinated curatorial approach or idea, perhaps based on a fundraising budget and strategy? The job listing claims the Program Coordinator will be under the program director and curatorial team of the sponsoring institutions. The architecture program of the Art Institute of Chicago is directed by Jonathan Solomon who co-curated the 2010 U.S. Pavilion with Michael Rooks. (The High Museum in Atlanta was the organizer for the 2010 pavilion as well.) Solomon clearly knows his way around the Venetian Giardini. Stay tuned.
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The U.S. currently has no curator for its Venice Biennale pavilion—and the clock is ticking

UPDATE 8/9/2017: The SAIC and UChicago may be organizing the U.S. Pavilion at Venice Biennale. See our new coverage here. Will the United States be represented at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture? Since 2010, the State Department—the federal agency that organizes and partially funds the pavilion—began to systematize the pavilion’s creation through an RFP process. The announcement of the pavilion's curators and organizers typically happens a full two years before the event. It’s important to have this lead time as the curators and organizers must help fund the pavilion and raise at least $500,000. The 2018 Biennale will open on May 26, 2018, and there hasn't been any word on who's been selected. On this past June 12, we asked, why hasn’t the U.S. Department of State announced the U.S. Pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale? Then we contacted the State Department Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and received the following reply from a spokesperson on July 27:
The State Department supports freedom of expression and speech around the world as a means to share American values and ideas with the world. We are proud to continue our support of an American grantee to the Venice Architecture Biennale, one of the most influential international architecture exhibitions in the world. A decision will be made in the next few weeks on a grantee for this year’s exhibit. We also want to note that the State Department’s support to the Venice Biennale is only a portion of the total funds that go each year to the grantee. The Biennale is a public-private partnership, with the private sector and individual donors also funding the featured U.S. exhibit. As such, official announcement and promotion of the award is carried out by the grantee.
Evidently, the curators and organizers—and not the State Department—are the ones to make the announcement (and begin the fundraising). Still, a person close to the U.S. Pavilion has told us that the State Department has made a decision on who will curate the exhibition and, perhaps as a result of funding negotiations, no announcement has been made. Furthermore, our contact has no idea when it will be made public. When we pressed the State Department on whether it had made a selection, the spokesperson responded again on August 3. According to him, it seems gears are in motion but a decision has not yet been "formalized":
The grant review and award process for the 2018 Architecture Biennale involves the State Department coordinating with several Federal Government entities, and the process has been extremely complex this year. We cannot precisely say when the decision will be made public, but know it is in motion and it will be soon. When a decision has been formalized and a grant is awarded, we will make every attempt to share your interest in the 2018 Architecture Biennale with the grantee organization, who ultimately will make the announcement.
The clock is ticking.