Posts tagged with "Venice":

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What if Venice dies? Are architects to blame?

In The Stones of Venice, John Ruskin decries the ways the modern world is destroying the fragile particularity that is Venice. His biggest worries? Train travel and classical arches. God only knows what he would he make of Aqualta 2060, a proposal presented at the 2010 biennale to ring Venice with skyscrapers. In Salvatore Settis's newly translated If Venice Dies, Acqualta 2060 represents the ultimate debasement of a human-scale city by a global economic system that reduces everything, even history, to a commodity. Though only ever a pie-in-the-sky proposal, Acqualta 2060 is a powerful metaphor for Settis's larger argument. The project, Settis argues, reduces Venice to a series expensive views designed to profit real estate speculators. The historic city—animated by the daily use of it citizens for a thousand years—would be reduced to a shell. A City Without a People If you've been to Venice lately, you know the hollowing out of the city is already well underway. For Settis—an archeologist, art historian and former director of the Getty Research Institute—the imminent danger to Venice is not rising sea levels (though, of course, he acknowledges this as a very serious concern). Much more urgent is the threat that it will drown in the oblivion of a "tourist monoculture":
Oblivion doesn’t simply mean forgetting one’s own history, or developing a morbid addiction to beauty, which is experienced as though it were a lifeless ornament that should console us. It primarily means forgetting something essential: the specific role that a city plays in comparison to others, its uniqueness, and its diversity, virtues that Venice possesses more than any other city in the world.
Settis gazes unflinchingly at the towering cruise ships that turn Venice into a fleeting spectacle for paying guests, while literally weakening its ancient foundations. And to make vivid in our imagination a Venice without actual Venetians, he takes us on an unsavory tour of Venetian-style simulacrums around the world, from Las Vegas to Chongqing—even a proposal for a theme-park style replica of Venice within (most ironically of all) Venice itself. A Vitruvian Oath For Settis, Venice is a vivid case study for a process engulfing historic centers everywhere, and he challenges architects everywhere to stop participating in the accelerating commodification of urban life. In particular, he excoriates the way architects and their clients use purely aesthetic arguments to "mask the cynicism of the financial wheeling and dealing and real estate speculation that triggered them in the first place." As an antidote, the classically minded Settis sends his readers back to Vitruvius. Just as doctors take a Hippocratic oath, he argues, architects should take a Vitruvian oath. "No architect," writes Settis, "should ever agree to building anything—whether it’s a bridge, a terrace, or a window—that might contribute to the death of the historic city by destroying its uniqueness." Cri de Coeur At times, Settis can seem like a conservative curmudgeon, with his extravagant rhetoric and appeal to some golden past. Yet he describes the market's familiar creep into the public domain with such vividness, and he so forcefully marks out what is stake (not just Venice but civil society itself), that by the end you can only thank him exactly for his apparent faults. If you stay with him to the last page, you find it is impossible to disagree with his conclusion that, if Venice dies, "the very idea of the city—as an open space where diversity and social life can unfold, as the supreme creation of our civilization, as a commitment to and promise of democracy—will also die with it." If Venice Dies, by Salvatore Settis, translated by André Naffis-Sahely, New Vessel Press, September 2016, paper, 180 pages, $16.95.
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Some of the world’s leading architectural minds recount their obsession with Venice in a new book

Why did the Venetians build their city in such an unlikely place? And how ever did they succeed in doing so? These are the central questions architect and historian Richard Goy poses in his introduction to newly published Dream of Venice Architecture. The first is easy to answer. The first Venetians settled in the lagoon to escape the violent breakdown of the Roman Empire on the mainland, wrote Goy. But how, amid the muddy shoals of a brackish lagoon, did they manage to build such a strange and extravagant city?

It is a question that can inform, inspire—and haunt—an entire architectural career. Architects know exactly how hard it can be to build on terra firma, let alone tidal flats. Yet they instinctively understand that the most compelling built forms tend to coalesce around seemingly impossible challenges. 

Dream of Venice Architecture—edited, published, and with a preface by JoAnn Locktov—gathers 35 very short essays in which some of the world’s leading architectural minds, including Tadao Ando, Mario Botta, Jürgen Mayer H., and Witold Rybczynski, attempt to grapple with the strange and miraculous-seeming city. They alternately recount their obsessions with Venice, reflect on the ways it has infused their own practice, and propose ways to infuse it with new life in the 21st century. William Menking, founder and editor-in-chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, is among the contributors.

Each essay is accompanied by a single, exquisite image by Riccardo de Cal, a Venice-trained architect, photographer, and filmmaker. De Cal has managed to capture Venice in surprising and often poignant ways—no easy task in this postcard of a city. 

“I wanted to tell the story of a Venice empty and suspended in time, a place where nothing exists except architecture and nature—a place man does not inhabit,” said de Cal. Just to photograph Venice, one begins to understand the challenge of building in a place where, according to de Cal, “Everything is slanting in all three axes.”

A Multi-Dimensional Odyssey

“What can we learn from a city that is over 1,500 years old?” asked Locktov in her preface. A great deal, apparently.

For Hong Kong-based architect Rocco Yim, Venice directly informed his concept design for Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, which he described as a “multidimensional odyssey of public domains rather than set-pieces of iconic architecture.”

For Ando, work on the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana reoriented his entire attitude toward architecture’s scope.

“Though the Japanese culture has developed the habit of repeating ‘scrap and build’ philosophies based upon economic rationality, I believe that architecture should be essentially rooted in society and be immersed in a lapse of time,” wrote Ando. “This is exactly what I learned in Venice.”

For others, Venice has served as a kind of liminal space where the real and imaginary have been forced to meet. New York–based architect Louise Braverman equated the “unanticipated, variegated pleasures” of Venice with the architectural encounter itself.

Carlo Scarpa and a Venice of the Future

What is next for Venice itself? With luck, more than just fetishistic preservation, according to architect Frank Harmon.

“A city that has its own fortune in its crystallization cannot however reject to renew itself,” argued Harmon. “We have to be able to add a digital level of intelligence to the city, an invisible layer, like the foundations of mud.” 

In imagining a future for Venice, the essays also return again and again to the work of Venetian-born Carlo Scarpa as a model. Why? Because Scarpa’s projects—including the Olivetti Showroom on Piazza San Marco and the ground floor and gardens of the Palazzo Querini-Stampalia—are utterly contemporary both in form and materials even as they weave themselves harmoniously into an ancient and multifarious city.

Guido Pietropoli, who trained under and worked with Scarpa, praises his mentor’s ability to achieve a “Venetianity that makes no concession to the vernacular.”

And Valeriano Pastor, professor of architecture at the University of Venice, singles out the stone-lined canals that Scarpa places along the perimeters of the palazzo’s ground floor. They graciously accept, then expel again, the high tides that once threatened this flood-prone space.

In the process, Scarpa is “exalting the poetry inherent in the natural phenomenon while befriending its aggressive action,” writes Pastor. “It is a metonymic model—wonderful in itself—of the Venetian Lagoon system.”

NOTE: A portion of the proceeds from Dream of Venice Architecture will help support architectural programming at the Fondazione Querini-Stampalia.

Dream of Venice Architecture Riccardo De Cal and Richard J. Goy, Bella Figura Publications, $26.99

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Tradition versus modernity in Venice, and that time Pink Floyd played St. Mark’s Basin

On July 15,1989, Pink Floyd held a concert in Venice in front of more than two hundred thousand people. Framed in the foreground by the city’s famous twin columns—of its patrons, St. Mark the Evangelist and St. Theodore of Amasea—and in the background by Andrea Palladio’s San Giorgio Maggiore, the band performed from a floating platform in the middle of the Venetian lagoon, while the assembled crowds filled every inch of St. Mark’s Square, the adjoining Piazzetta, and waterfront Riva degli Schiavoni, and even jostled for a front row seat in an ever-growing carpet of boats moored within the lagoon itself. A particularly striking aerial photograph presents the scene a few hours before the band took to the stage, “mechanically repeating,” as Roland Barthes would put it, “what could never be repeated existentially.”

Yet the romantic, almost fantastical nature of this moment is somehow misleading: In spite of the popularity of the concert—a “Night of Wonders,” as certain sections of the press described it—the event provoked an outpouring of opprobrium in Venice’s always tempestuous political quarters. A number of the city’s municipal administrators viewed the concert as an assault against Venice, something akin to a barbarian invasion of urban space. Other voices, such as the local architectural historian Manfredo Tafuri, were equally vitriolic. Lecturing at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV) in 1993, just a year before his death, he spoke of how he despised the concert for being nothing more than a “postmodern masquerade”—the epitome of the frivolous discourse that characterized culture in the 1980s—and for the physical damage it had wrought on the city.

The idea for the performance had originated with Francesco (Fran) Tomasi, the band’s Italian promoter. “For their 1989 tour,” Tomasi recalled, “Pink Floyd were looking to perform in peculiar places. At the time, my office was in Venice and so I had the idea of organizing a free concert to coincide with the Feast of the Redeemer, the Redentore, in which the local population, rather than the tourists, always take an active part. The band immediately loved the idea.”

The Redentore, held annually on the third weekend of July, was initiated in 1578 to celebrate the end of the terrible plague. At sunset Venetians invade St. Mark’s Basin, from where they watch a fireworks display while bobbing up and down in their boats. In the 18th century it was also common to see gondolas and the smaller sandoli carrying musicians who entertained the crowds before the fireworks. It was this aquatic musical accompaniment that Tomasi hoped to recall with his own concert. The sheer scale of the event, however, called for a corresponding increase in the size of the musical boats. In the end, individual vessels were recast as a vast floating stage, 318 feet long by 79 feet wide and 79 feet high.

Preparations for the event, billed as the latest stop in the band’s “Momentary Lapse of Reason” tour, gathered pace. RAI, Italy’s state broadcaster, agreed to a live broadcast of the show. The big day drew closer. In June 1989, after a fiercef debate about the profanity or acceptability of such an event so close to the Redentore festivities, the city council finally granted its approval (in a democratic vote that went against the wishes of the mayor, Antonio Casellati).

Just three days before the event, however, Margherita Asso, Venice’s superintendent for cultural heritage (nicknamed the “Iron Superintendent”), vetoed the concert on the grounds that the amplified sound would damage the mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica, while the whole piazza could very well sink under the weight of so many people. Tomasi had to think fast. He quickly offered to turn down the volume on the thousands of speakers and to move the stage back 98 feet, in an attempt to dampen the ardor of the crowd. Asso remained unconvinced, and it was not until the arrival of the three band members on July 13 that a so-called compromesso all’italiana (Italian-style compromise), involving decibel levels and crowd fencing, was secured and the concert could go ahead.

The show lasted just 90 minutes but lived long in the memory of those who witnessed it. The next day the local paper, Il Gazzettino, carried the headline “Grandi Pink Floyd, Povera Venezia” (“Great Pink Floyd, Poor Venice”), juxtaposing appreciative accounts of the show with images of St. Mark’s Square covered with litter and young people sleeping rough in doorways. No real damage had occurred, but the city woke with a distinct “after-party” look. The political reverberations were more far-reaching, and a few weeks later the local government fell.

Of course, Venice has a long history of political farragoes, just as it does of floating, ephemeral architectures, from Alvise Cornaro’s almost surreal 16th century proposal for a theater and artificial island on the lagoon, or the triumphal arch built near the church of Santa Lucia on the occasion of Napoleon’s visit to the city in 1807—a project famously depicted in a painting by Giuseppe Borsato—to the floating bath constructed by Tommaso Rima in 1833 and moored off the city’s Punta della Dogana, and, most celebrated of all, perhaps, Aldo Rossi’s highly poetic Teatro del Mondo, built in 1979.

Tafuri’s first edition of the Renaissance book, Venezia e il Rinascimento—published in 1985, just a few years before Pink Floyd’s floating stage (also witnessed from the Piazzetta)—articulated a characteristically political argument in presenting the history of Venice as a constant battle between those who wanted to restructure and renovate the city (whom Tafuri dubs the primi) and the traditionalists who only wanted to uphold its established principles and structures. The book was not written as a contemporary allegory, at least not explicitly, but the parallels are obvious, not least in the ongoing clash between the more progressive Venetians who defend the Serenissima’s artistic patrimony but also endorse more modern solutions, and those who seem only to consider the city as a kind of frozen museum. Like many entrenched oppositions, the two sides are actually not all that different, but the debate centered (and still centers) on striking a balance between the city’s delicate ecology and its economic viability. In this debate, tourism and spectacle are both the agent of destruction and the city’s salvation.

More than Palladio’s San Giorgio, then, this was the real backdrop to the Pink Floyd concert, confirming the music promoter Bill Graham’s famous adage, “politics uses and abuses rock music.” Even Mason himself revealed the ambivalences and overlaps endemic on both sides when he admitted, “I must say I like the idea of carrying on a tradition rather than being totally unique.” It was no coincidence that 1989 was also the year Venice was preparing its bid to host the 2000 European Expo, which was expected to attract upward of two hundred thousand visitors a day and act as a springboard for a new, modern city.

The project was backed largely by Italy’s Socialist Party (PSI), and more particularly by Gianni De Michelis, then the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Ranged against them were the traditionalists, including a number of key members of the opposing Christian Democrats, who were keen to block the expo bid by whatever means. If the former group had secured an initial victory in clearing the way for the smaller, metonymic rock concert, the latter soon took their revenge, using Pink Floyd as a Trojan horse to point to the city’s inability to accommodate a crowd. In fact, this apparent inability was not unconnected to the city’s refusal to provide either city cleaners or portable toilets for the concert. The day-after hangover, depicted in all its squalor by the local newspapers, had therefore actually been designed.

Despite his passion for Renaissance architecture and enduring fondness for Cornaro’s seemingly perverse theater project, Tafuri, as we have seen, was vociferous in his objections to both the Pink Floyd concert and to Venice playing host to the European Expo. For Tafuri, the theatricality of both events concealed a darker ambition to transform the city into a purely political and economic object. Venice, he countered, is a particular city that negates the possibility of an absolute modernity—a theme he returned to repeatedly, but especially in the same 1993 lecture in which he lambasted Pink Floyd.

In this talk, presciently titled “Le forme del tempo: Venezia e la modernità” (“The Forms of Time: Venice and Modernity”), he argued that the concert relied not only on the splendor of the city but also on the perfectly Italian splendors of blackmail and bribery, and the ascendancy of economic and media interests. However, perhaps because this was the school’s Lectio Magistralis (the inaugurating lecture for the academic year), he concluded more optimistically with the notion that the imago urbis of Venice is sacrosanct and impossible to recalibrate, ending defiantly with “The battle is not yet finished.”

But in many ways the battle has finished, and is one that has seen a victory of sorts for a kind of synthetic Venice that is both traditional town-museum and a contemporary hub—for what are the vast cruise liners that today pass through the Grand Canal if not a recalibrating imago urbis fundamentally reliant on both the historic and the commercial? And what, for that matter, is the Venice Biennale if not a repeating ritual that under the theatrical guise of art and architecture maintains a thriving, even defining, economic model? The vast numbers of people these different tourist attractions draw in dwarf all of the figures ascribed to that moment in July 1989 when Pink Floyd ended their set with “Run Like Hell.” The historian in Tafuri would no doubt see this as further confirmation of all those Italian splendors, and in this, as ever, he may well be right.

Léa-Catherine Szacka is also the author of the forthcoming book Le Concert with Sara Marini, which will be published by Editions B2 in 2017. A longer version of this paper was originally published in AA Files 69, 2014: 12-17.

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OMA unveils their refurbishment of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice

International practice OMA has completed a refurbishment of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venice. Originally constructed in 1228, rebuilt in 1508 after a fire, then given a concrete structure in the 1930s, the Italian Renaissance-styled building is an emblem of Venetian Republic. Having served many purposes throughout its lifetime—used by German trade merchants, then as a customs house for Napoleon and a post office for Mussolini—the Fondaco dei Tedeschi was granted "Monument" status in 1987. In 2008, the building was purchased by Italian fashion brand Benetton, who commissioned Rem Koolhaas to transform the space with its primary use being for retail. However, conservationists from Italia Nostra objected dubbing the Palazzo's proposal as a "megastore." In 2012, during the midst of the debacle, Benetton's spokesman Federico Sartor said: "A city with just museums will die. There is lots of culture in Venice but you cannot find a sandwich." Four years later, Benetton and OMA's plans have been scaled back to incorporate an artistic element, thus maintaining Venice's cultural pedigree. Opening the courtyard piazza and rooftop to pedestrians facilitates views down into the building and, more impressively, over Venice along the city's canals.
The most drastic intervention comes in the form of the structure's circulation. Timber-clad escalators rise up through the volumes, punctuating the space with their dark red coloration, seemingly an amplified reference to the pink hues found in the worn bricks of the interior. In order to encourage circulation to the building, new entrances from the Campo San Bartolomeo and the Rialto have been created, while the existing entrances into the courtyard have been retained for the locals. OMA created a new rooftop through the renovation of the existing 19th Century pavilion at the top and the addition of a large wooden terrace, which now offers spectacular views over the city. Both the rooftop and the central courtyard below will remain open to the public. "The transformation of the Fondaco is based on a finite number of local interventions and vertical distribution devices that support the new program structure a sequence of public spaces and paths, from the central courtyard to a new roof terrace overlooking the Canal Grande," said OMA. "Each intervention is conceived as a brutal excavation through the existing mass, liberating new perspectives and unveiling the real substance of the building to its visitors," they continued. "With an almost forensic attitude, each new component serves as a way to show the stratification of materials and construction techniques." As for the retail space itself, Jamie Fobert Architects from London will lead the design. The renovated building is due to open in October this year.
 
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Here’s every participant working on the Venice Biennale 2016

This year's Venice Architecture Biennale, titled Reporting from the Front, has unveiled its full list of participants. The 15th instalment of the Biennale, directed and curated by the man of the moment, Alejandro Aravena, will occupy venues along the Arsenale and the Central Pavilion in the Giardini. There will be work on display from 62 national pavilions, featuring five newcomers: Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Philippines, Seychelles, and Yemen. From this pool of nations, 50 architects will be taking to the Venetian stage for the first time. This year's event will also witness an infusion of youth never seen before with 33 of the featured architects being under 40—a first for the Biennale. “There are several battles that need to be won and several frontiers that need to be expanded in order to improve the quality of the built environment and consequently people’s quality of life," said Aravena. "This is what we would like people to come and see at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition: success stories worth to be told and exemplary cases worth to be shared where architecture did, is and will make a difference in those battles and frontiers.” Together, they will contribute work that addresses concurrent issues such as: segregation, inequalities, peripheries, access to sanitation, natural disasters, housing shortage, migration,  informality, crime, traffic, waste, pollution, and the participation of communities. “It is not easy to achieve such a level of expansion and synthesis; they are battles that need to be fought," Aravena continued. "The always menacing scarcity of means, the ruthless constraints, the lack of time and urgencies of all kinds are a constant threat that explain why we so often fall short in delivering quality. The forces that shape the built environment are not necessarily amicable either: the greed and impatience of capital or the single mindedness and conservatism of the bureaucracy tend to produce banal, mediocre and dull built environments. These are the frontlines from which we would like different practitioners to report, sharing success stories and exemplary cases where architecture did, is and will make a difference.”

Here's the full list of participants:

Albania “I Have Left You the Mountain” Commissioners: Albanian Ministry of Culture. Curators: Simon Battisti, Leah Whitman-Salkin, Åbäke. Exhibitors: Etel Adnan, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Mourid Barghouti, Claire Fontaine, Yona Friedman, Anri Sala, Michael Taussig, Yanis Varoufakis, Ornela Vorpsi. Site: Arsenale

Argentina experimentAR - Poéticas desde la frontera Commissioners: Federico Gonzalez Perini. Curator: Atilio Pentimalli. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

Armenia Independent Landscape Commissioners: Ministry of Culture, (Vartan Karapetian).Curator: Sarhat Petrosyan. Site: Chiesa di Santa Croce degli Armeni, Calle dei Armeni, San Marco 965

Australia The Pool – Architecture, Culture and Identity in Australia Commissioners: Janet Holmes a Court AC. Curators: Amelia Holliday and Isabelle Toland (Aileen Sage Architects) with Michelle Tabet. Exhibitors: Conversations with Olympians Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe (Anna Funder and Christos Tsiolkas; musician Paul Kelly; environmentalist Tim Flannery; fashion designers Romance Was Born; and art curator Hetti Perkins). Site: Giardini

Austria Places for people Commissioners/Curator: Elk Elke Delugan-Meissl with Liquid Frontiers. Exhibitors: Caramel architects, EOOS, the next ENTERprise architects. Site: Giardini

Bahrain Commissioners: Sh. Mai Al Khalifa. Curators: Anne Holtrop e Noura Al Sayeh. Site: Arsenale

Belgium BRAVOURE Commissioners: Christoph Grafe, Director Flanders Architecture Institute. Curator: bravoure architecten de vylder vinck taillieu - doorzon interieur architecten - filip dujardin. Site: Giardini

Brazil Commissioners: Luis Terepins, Bienal de São Paulo Foundation.Curator: Washington Fajardo. Site: Giardini

Canada “EXTRACTION” Commissioners: Catherine Crowston, Art Gallery of Alberta. Curator: Pierre Bélanger, OPSYS. Exhibitors: OPSYS / RVTR. Site: Giardini

Chile Against the tide Commissioners: Cristóbal Molina (National Council of Culture and the Arts of Chile). Curators: Juan Román, José Luis Uribe. Exhibitors: Felipe Aranda, Ximena Cáceres, Claudio Castillo, Ximena Céspedes, Gabriel Garrido, Carolina Guerra, Juan Francisco Inostroza, Yasna Monsalve, Felipe Muñoz, Daniel Prieto, Javier Rodríguez, Jonnattan Silva, Carolina Solís, Tanya Vera, Cesar Verdugo. Site: Arsenale

China Daily Design, Daily Tao-Back to the ignored front Commissioners: China Arts & Entertainment Group (CAEG).Curator: Jingyu Liang. Exhibitors: Approach Architecture Studio, Drawing Architecture Studio (Han Li, Yan Hu), in+of architecture (Lu Wang), People’s Architecture Office (Zhe He, James Shen, Feng Zang), Run Atelier (Hao Wang, Man Ye), Qun Song, View Unlimited Lanscape Architecture Studio CUCD (Xie Xiaoying, Yan Tong, Haitao Huang, Qu Zhi), Wuyong (Ma Ke), Jingxiang Zhu (Unitinno+CUHK), Jing Zuo. Site: Arsenale

Czech Republic & Slovakia Care for Architecture: Exemplum of the Slovak National Gallery or Asking Arche of Architecture to Dance Commissioners: Monika Mitášová, Monika Palcová. Curators/Exhibitors: Benjamín Brádnanský, Petr Hájek, Vít Halada, Ján Studený, Marián Zervan (Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava and University in Trnava). Site: Giardini

Côte d'Ivoire Live differently Commissioners: N’Guessan N’Dri Barthelemy. Curator: SOSSAH Francis. Exhibitors: Ministère de la construction et de l’urbanisme, Ministère de l’habitat et du logement social, Ministère de la culture et de la francophonie, Ordre des architectes, Ecole d’architecture d'Abidjan. Site: Palazzo Bembo e Palazzo Mora

Croatia “We Need It-We do it” Commissioners: Zlatko Hasanbegovic, PhD, Minister of culture; Ministry of Culture. Curator: Dinko Peracic. Exhibitors:Dinko Peracic, Slaven Tolj, Miranda Veljacic, Emina Višnic. Site: Arsenale

Denmark Commissioners: Kent Martinussen, CEO, Danish Architecture Centre. Curators: Boris Brorman Jensen and Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss. Exhibitors: 3XN; AART architects; Adept; AI; Anders Abraham & Christina Capetillo; Anders Peder Larsen; Andersen & Sigurdsson Architects; Arcgency; Arkitektfirmaet Merete Lind Mikkelsen; Arkitema Architects; BCVA Architecture; BIG; BO FROST architects; CEBRA; CF. Møller Architects;Christensen & Co architects; COBE; COLORCLOUDSTUDIO;DISSING+WEITLING architecture; Dorte Mandrup Architects; EFFEKT; ELKIÆR + EBBESKOV; Erik Brandt Dam architects; Erik Møller Architects; Force4; Frans Drewniak & Philip Rahm; Frederiksund Municipality; Friis & Moltke Architects Gottlieb Paludan Architects; Herzog de Meuron; JAJA architects; Jakob Knudsen; Jan Gehl; Jane Havshøj Architects; Jes Vagnby; JJW Architects; Johan Mottelson; Jonathan Meldgaard Houser; Junya Ishigami; Karlsson Arkitekter; KHR Arkitekter; Kim Loudrup; KRADS; Kristine Jensens Tegnestue; Lenschow & Pihlmann; LETH & GORI; LUMO Architects; Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects; Mathilde Petri Architects; Middelfart Municipality and Middelfart Wastewater Utility; Mikkelsen Architects; Møller & Grønborg; Nicolai Bo Andersen; NORD Architects Copenhagen; ONV Architects; POLYFORM; Powerhouse Company Copenhagen; Roskilde Municipality;  RUBOW Arkitekter; schmidt hammer lassen architects; SLA Architects; SLETH Architects; SNE architects; Spektrum Arkitekter; Svendborg Architects; THIRD NATURE; Toposfære IVS; TRANSFORM; Tyra Lea Amdisen Dokkedahl; URBAN AGENCY; Vandkunsten Architects; Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects; WE Architecture; Wienberg Architects and Frier Architecture; Schønherr; Henning Larsen Architects. Site: Giardini

Egypt ReframingBack/ImperativeConfrontations Commissioners: Ahmad Hilal. Curator: Ministero della Cultura. Exhibitors: Eslam Zenbaey, Luca Borlenghi, Gabriele Secchi, Mostafa Salim. Site: Giardini

Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania The Baltic Pavilion Commissioners Estonia: Raul Järg Commissioner Lettonia: Janis Dripe ( Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia) Commissioners Lithuania: Ona Lozuraité, Jonas Žukauskas. Curators: Karlis Berzinš, Jurga Daubaraite, Petras Išora, Ona Lozuraityte, Niklavs Paegle, Dagnija Smilga, Johan Tali, Laila Zarina, Jonas Žukauskas. Exhibitors: Architekturos Fondas, Eesti Arhitektuurikeskus. Site: Palasport G.B. Gianquinto, Castello, Calle S. Biagio

Finland From Border to Home - Housing Solutions for Asylum Seekers Commissioners: Juulia Kauste Museum of Finnish Architecture. Curator: Marco Steinberg. Exhibitors: a team; Lindberg & Erdman; Society Lab with the participation of alt Architects; D.A.T. PANGEA + QUATORZE; Helsinki Kasbah Combine; Satoshi OHTAKI. Site: Giardini

France Nouvelles du Front, Nouvelles Richesses Commissioners: Institut Français, ministère de la culture et de la communication - direction générale des patrimoines.Curator: Frédéric Bonnet - OBRAS e AJAP 14 (PNG, Boidot & Robin, Studio 1984, Studiolada, Boris Bouchet, Claas architectes, R Architecture, NeM / Niney et Marca architectes). Site: Giardini

Germany Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country Commissioners: Peter Cachola Schmal, Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM). Curator: Oliver Elser, Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM). Exhibitors: Something Fantastic. Site: Giardini

Great Britain Home Economics Commissioners: Vicky Richardson. Curators: Shumi Bose, Jack Self, Finn Williams. Exhibitors: ÅYR, Pier Vittorio Aureli e Martino Tattara (Dogma) con Maria S. Giudicci (Black Square), Julia King, Jenna Sutela Hesselbrand. Site: Giardini

Greece “Challenging architecture on site of crisis” Commissioners: General Secretary of Spatial Planning and Urban Environment, Ms Eirini Klampatsea. Curators: SADAS-PEA (the Greek Architects Association).Exhibitor: SADAS-PEA (the Greek Architects Association). Site: Giardini

Hungary æctivators. Locally active architecture Commissioners: Júlia Fabényi. Curators: Gábor Fábián, Dénes Fajcsák. Exhibitor: Arkt. Site: Giardini

Iran Commissioners: Ministry of Road and Urban Development Hamed Mazaherian. Exhibitors: Saba Engineering Events Association. Site: Arsenale

Ireland Losing Myself Commissioners: Niall MacLaughlin. Curator: Yeoryia Manolopoulou. Exhibitor: Níall McLaughlin (Níall McLaughlin Architects). Site: Arsenale

Israel "A is for Architecture, B is for Biology" Commissioners: Arad Turgeman. Curators/Exhibitors: Ido Bachelet, Bnaya Bauer, Arielle Blonder, Yael Eylat Van-Essenn, Noy Lazarovich. Site: Giardini

Italy TAKING CARE – Progettare per il bene comune Commissioners: Federica Galloni, Direttore Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane, Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo. Curators: Simone Sfriso, team Curatorsale Massimo Lepore, Simone Sfriso, Raul Pantaleo TAMassociati. Site: Tese delle Vergini all’Arsenale

Japan beyond - SHARING Commissioners: The Japan Foundation. Curator: Yoshiyuki Yamana. Exhibitors: mnm (Mio Tsuneyama); ondesign (Osamu Nishida); Erika Nakagawa; Naruse Inokuma Architects (Jun Inokuma, Yuri Narus; Naka Architects’ Studio (Toshiharu Naka, Yuri Uno); Nousaku Architects (Fuminori Nousaku, Junpei Nousaku); miCo. (Mizuki Imamura, Isao Shinohara); Levi Architecture (Jun Nakagawa); Shingo Masuda+Katsuhisa Otsubo Architects (Shingo Masuda, Katsuhisa Otsubo); Koji Aoki Architects(Koji Aoki); 403architecture [dajiba] (Takuma Tsuji, Takeshi Hashimoto, Toru Yada); BUS (Satoru Ito, Kosuke Bando, Issei Suma); dot architects (Toshikatsu Ienari, Takeshi Shakushiro, Wataru Doi). Site: Giardini

Kazakhstan (New) Commissioners: Minister Muhamediuly Arystanbek.

Korea The FAR Game: Constraints Sparking Creativity Commissioners: Arts Council Korea. Curators/Exhibitors: Sung Hong KIM, Eungee CINN, Keehyun AHN, Seungbum KIM, Isak CHUNG, Daeun JEONG. Site: Giardini

Kuwait Between East and West, A Gulf Commissioners: NCCAL. Curators: Hamed Bukhamseen e Ali Karimi. Site: Arsenale

Luxembourg Tracing Transitions Commissioners: LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture, Andrea Rumpf. Curators/Exhibitors: Claude Ballini, Serge Ecker, Daniel Grünkranz, Panajota Panotopoulou. Site: Ca’ de Duca, Corte del Duca Sforza, San Marco 3052

Macedonia 
No Man’s land Commissioners: Ivanka Apostolova. Curator: Stojan Pavleski. Exhibitors: Stojan Paveski, Ivan Simeonov, Gjorgji Radovanovic e Ljupcho Tasevski.

Mexico Dispiegamenti e Assemblaggi  (Despliegues y ensambles) Commissioners: María Margarita Segarra Lagunes.Curator: Pablo Landa Ruiloba.Exhibitors:David Mora Torres, Valeria Prieto, Mariano Arias-Diez, Alejandro Suárez Pareyón, César Augusto Guerrero Rodríguez, Mariana Ordoñez Grajales, Jorge Andrade Narváez, Paloma Vera, João Boto Matos Caeiro, Javier Toscano Guerrero, Isadora Hastings, Melba Denisse García, Álvaro Lara Cruz, Juan Carlos de la Garza Madero, Juan José Santibañez, Luz Yazmin Viramontes, Juan Alfonso Garduño, Jesús Roberto Nuñez, Rodolfo Samperio, Alfredo Hidalgo Rasmussen, Daniel Filloy Ring, Juan M. Casillas Pintor, José Carlos Lavalle Alonzo, Alexa Mabel Pacheco, Carlos Hagerman, Jesús Álvarez, Lara Becerra, Betsaid M. Moreno Corona, Jorge A. Rivera, Aarón Gutiérrez, Raúl Cárdenas Osuna. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

Montenegro Project Solana Ulcinj Commissioners: Dijana Vucinic Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism. Curators: Bart Lootsma, Katharina Weinberger. Exhibitors: ecoLogicStudio, London; LOLA, Rotterdam; LAAC, Innsbruck. Site: Palazzo Malipiero, San Marco 3079

Nigeria  (New) ‘Diminished Capacity’ Commissioners: Nkanta George Ufot (Ministry of Information and Culture). Curator: Camilla Boemio. Exhibitor: Ola-Dele Kuku.

New Zealand “Future Islands” Commissioners: Tony Van Raat. Curator: Charles Walker. Exhibitors: Kathy Waghorn, Jessica Barter, Stephen Brookbanks, Maggie Carroll, Bruce Ferguson, Minka Ip, Jonathan Rennie, Rewi Thompson. Site: Palazzo Bollani, Castello 3647

The Netherlands BLUE: Architecture of Peacekeeping Missions Commissioners: Het Nieuwe Instituut. Curator: Malkit Shoshan. Site: Giardini

Finland, Norway & Sweden In Therapy - Nordic Countries Face to Face Commissioners: ArkDes, The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design (Sweden). Adjunct Commissioners: The Finnish Museum of Architecture (Finland) and Nasjonalmuseet (Norway). Curators: David Basulto, James Taylor-Foster. Site: Giardini

Perù "OUR AMAZON FRONTLINE" Commissioners: José Orrego. Curators: Sandra Barclay e Jean Pierre Crousse. Exhibitors: Ministero dell’Istruzione Peruviano, “Progetto Plan Selva” Capo Progetto Elizabeth Añaños e con Claudia Flores, Sebastian Cilloniz, Jose Luis Villanueva, Miguel Chavez, Gino Fernandez, Alvaro Echevarria, Alfonso Orbegoso, Luis Miguel Hadzich, Carlos Tamayo. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

Phillipines (New) Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City Commissioners: National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Felipe M. de Leon. Curator: Juan Paolo de la Cruz, Sudarshan Khadka Jr., Leandro Locsin (LVLP Partners). Site: European Cultural Center - Palazzo Mora, Strada Nuova 3659

Poland “Fair Building” Commissioners: Hanna Wróblewska. Curator: Dominika Janicka, in cooperation with Martyna Janicka and Michal Gdak. Site: Giardini

Portugal NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro meets Aldo Commissioners: Carlos Moura-Carvalho. Curator: Nuno Grande e Roberto Cremascoli. Exhibitor: Álvaro Siza Vieira. Site: Campo di Marte, Giudecca (tra Calle Mason e Calle Michelangelo Buonarroti – vaporetto: Zitelle)

Romania SELFIE AUTOMATON Commissioners: Attila Kim. Curator: Tiberiu Bucsa. Exhibitors: Tiberiu Bucsa, Orsolya Gal, Stathis Markopoulos, Adrian Arama, Oana Matei, Andrei Durloi. Site: Giardini e Nuova Galleria dell'Istituto Romeno di Venezia Palazzo Correr, Campo Santa Fosca, Cannaregio 2214

Russia V.D.N.H. Commissioners: Semen Mikhailovsky. Curator: Sergey Kuznetsov. Site: Giardini

Serbia HEROIC: Free Shipping Commissioners: Ivan Raskovic. Comitato Scientifico: Ljiljana Miletic Abramovic, Igor Maric, Aleksandar Bobic, Milan Ðuric, Vladimir Milenkovic, Vesna Cagic Miloševic, Maja Ciric. Exhibitors: Stefan Vasic, Ana Šulkic e Igor Sjeverac. Site: Giardini

Seychelles (New) Commissioners: Benjamin Rose. Curator: Andres Ramirez.

Singapore At The ‘Home Front’ Commissioners: Jeffrey Ho, Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council. Curator: Wong Yunn Chii, Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

Slovenia Home@Arsenale Commissioners: Matevž Celik, Museum of Architecture and Design, MAO. Curators: Aljoša Dekleva e Tina Gregoric (dekleva gregoric architects). Site: Arsenale

Spain UNFINISHED Commissioners: Iñaqui Carnicero + Carlos Quintans. Curator: Carnicero + Quintans. Exhibitors: Contemporary Spanish Architecture. Site: Giardini

Switzerland "Incidental Space” Commissioners: Sandi Paucic e Marianne Burki, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. Curator: Sandra Oehy. Exhibitor: Christian Kerez. Site: Giardini

Thailand Class of 6.3 Commissioners: The Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, Ministry of Culture. Curator: Teeranuj Wongwaisayawan. Exhibitors: Pitupong Chaowakul, Chatpong Chuenrudeemol, Jeravej Hongsakul, Kanika R’Kul, Jun Sekino Chutayaves Sinthuphan, Suriya Umpansiriratana, Twitee Vajrabhaya, Varudh Varavarn. Site: Arsenale

Turkey Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel Commissioners: Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV). Curators: Feride Çiçekoglu, Mehmet Kütükçüoglu, Ertug Uçar. Exhibitors: Hüner Aldemir, Caner Bilgin, Hande Cigerli, Gökçen Erkiliç, Nazli Tümerdem, Yigit Yalgin. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

United Arab Emirates Transformations: The Emirati National House Commissioners: Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. Curator: Yasser Elsheshtawy. Site: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi

United States of America The Architectural Imagination Commissioners: Monica Ponce de Leon. Curators: Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon. Exhibitors: Marcelo López-Dinardi and V. Mitch McEwen, A(n) Office, Detroit, Michigan Kelly Bair and Kristy Balliet, BairBalliet, Chicago, Illinois, and Columbus, Ohio, Greg Lynn, Greg Lynn FORM, Los Angeles, California Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Atlanta, GeorgiaMarshall Brown, MARSHALL BROWN PROJECTS, Chicago, Illinois Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith, MOS Architects, New York, New York Florencia Pita and Jackilin Hah Bloom, Pita & Bloom, Los Angeles, California Albert Pope and Jesús Vassallo, Present Future, Houston, Texas Preston Scott Cohen, Preston Scott Cohen Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts Stan Allen, SAA/Stan Allen Architect, New York, New York Thom Moran, Ellie Abrons, Adam Fure, and Meredith Miller, T+E+A+M, Ann Arbor, Michigan Andrew Zago and Laura Bouwman, Zago Architecture, Los Angeles, California. Site: Giardini

Yemen  (New) Beautiful Yemen Commissioners: Mr. Ayed Ali Al-Shawafy, Undersecretary for Cultural relations, Ministry of Culture, Yemen. Site: Arsenale

ull list of participants (via www.labiennale.org) 1. 51N4E (Brussels, Belgium) Freek Persyn; Johan Anrys 2. ADNBA (Bucharest, Romania) Andrei Serbescu; Adrian-Ioan Untaru 3. Aires Mateus (Lisbon, Portugal) Francisco Aires Mateus; Manuel Aires Mateus 4. Al Borde (Quito, Ecuador) David Barragán; Pascual Gangotena; Marialuisa Borja; Esteban Benavides 5. Alexander Brodsky (Moscow, Russia) 6. Alonso de Santos Estudio (Madrid, Spain) Francisco Alonso de Santos 7. Amateur Architecture Studio (Hangzhou, China) Wang Shu; Lu Wenyu 8. Anupama Kundoo Architects (Auroville, India) Anupama Kundoo 9. Architecture and Vision (Bomarzo - Viterbo, Italy) Arturo Vittori 10. Arno Brandlhuber + Christopher Roth (Berlin, Germany) Arno Brandlhuber; Christopher Roth 11. Assemble (London, Great Britain) 12. Atelier Bow-Wow (Tokyo, Japan) Yoshiharu Tsukamoto; Momoyo Kaijima; Yoichi Tamai 13. Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner (Haldenstein, Switzerland) Peter Zumthor 14. Barozzi / Veiga (Barcelona, Spain) Alberto Veiga; Fabrizio Barozzi 15. Batlle i Roig Arquitectes (Barcelona, Spain) Enric Batlle; Joan Roig 16. BeL Sozietät für Architektur (Köln, Germany) Anne-Julchen Bernhardt; Jörg Leeser 17. Bernaskoni (Moscow, Russia) Boris Bernaskoni 18. Block Research Group, ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) Philippe Block; Tom Van Mele WITH Ochsendorf, DeJong & Block (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) John Ochsendorf; Matthew DeJong; Philippe Block AND WITH Escobedo Construction (Buda, Texas, USA) David Escobedo 19. C+S Architects (Treviso, Italy) Carlo Cappai; Maria Alessandra Segantini 20. Cadaval & Solà-Morales (Barcelona, Spain) Eduardo Cadaval; Clara Solà-Morales 21. Cecilia Puga (Santiago, Chile) 22. Christ & Gantenbein (Basil, Switzerland) Emanuel Christ; Christoph Gantenbein WITH Stefano Graziani 23. Christian Kerez Zürich (Zurich, Switzerland) Christian Kerez 24. David Chipperfield Architects (Berlin, Germany) David Chipperfield 25. designworkshop: sa (Durban, South Africa) Andrew Makin 26. El equipo Mazzanti - Giancarlo Mazzanti, Carlos Medellín, María Mazzanti (Bogotá, Colombia) Giancarlo Mazzanti 27. Ensamble Studio (Madrid, Spain) Antón García-Abril; Débora Mesa Molina 28. EPEA Internationale Umweltforschung (Hamburg, Germany) Michael Braungart 29. Estudi d'Arquitectura Toni Gironès (Barcelona, Spain) Toni Gironès 30. Estudio del Paisaje Teresa Moller & Asociados (Santiago, Chile) Teresa Moller 31. Film First (New York, USA) Gary Hustwit 32. Forensic Architecture (London, Great Britain) Eyal Weizman 33. G124 (Gruppo di lavoro del Senatore Renzo Piano) (Rome, Italy) Renzo Piano 34. Gabinete de Arquitectura (Asuncion, Paraguay) Solano Benítez; Gloria Cabral; Solanito Benítez 35. Grafton Architects (Dublin, Ireland) Yvonne Farrell; Shelley McNamara 36. Grupo EPM - Departamento de intervenciones urbanas sostenibles (Medellín, Colombia) Horacio Valencia 37. GrupoTalca (Talca, Chile) Martín del Solar; Rodrigo Sheward 38. Herzog & de Meuron (Basil, Switzerland) Jacques Herzog; Pierre de Meuron WITH Agav Films (Paris, France) Amos Gitai 39. Hollmén Reuter Sandman Architects (Helsinki, Finland) Saija Hollmén; Jenni Reuter; Helena Sandman 40. Hugon Kowalski + Marcin Szczelina (Poznan, Poland) Hugon Kowalski; Marcin Szczelina; Klaudia Dopierala; Maria Dondajewska 41. Inês Lobo, Arquitectos (Lisbon, Portugal) Inês Lobo 42. Jiakun Architects (Chengdu, China) Liu Jiakun 43. João Luís Carrilho da Graça (Lisbon, Portugal) 44. José María Sánchez García (Madrid, Spain) 45. Kashef Chowdhury / Urbana (Dhaka, Bangladesh) Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury 46. Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA (Tokyo, Japan) Kazuyo Sejima; Ryue Nishizawa 47. Kengo Kuma and Associates (Tokyo, Japan) Kengo Kuma 48. Kéré Architecture (Berlin, Germany) Francis Kéré 49. LAN (Paris, France) Umberto Napolitano; Benoît Jallon 50. Luyanda Mpahlwa DesignSpaceAfrica (South Africa) Luyanda Mpahlwa 51. M. Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo (Vittoria – Ragusa, Italy) 52. Manuel Herz Architects (Basil, Switzerland) Manuel Herz 53. Marte.Marte Architects (Weiler, Austria) Bernhard Marte; Stefan Marte 54. Matharoo Associates (Ahmedabad, India) Gurjit Singh Matharoo 55. menos é mais (Porto, Portugal) Francisco Viera de Campos; Cristina Guedes 56. NLÉ (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) Kunlé Adeyemi 57. Norman Foster Foundation (Madrid, Spain) Norman Foster WITH Redline-EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland) Jonathan Ledgard WITH Ochsendorf, DeJong & Block (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) John Ochsendorf ; Matthew DeJong; Philippe Block WITH Block Research Group, ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland) Philippe Block; Tom Van Mele 58. OMA - Office for Metropolitan Architecture (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Rem Koolhaas 59. ORG Permanent Modernity (Brussels, Belgium) Alexander D'Hooghe, Luk Peeters, Natalie Seys 60. Paulo David (Funchal, Portugal) 61. Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Concepcion, Chile) Mauricio Pezo; Sofía von Ellrichshausen 62. Rahul Mehrotra and Felipe Vera (Cambridge, Washington, USA) Rahul Mehrotra; Felipe Vera 63. Raphael Zuber (Chur, Switzerland) 64. Recetas Urbanas (Siviglia, Spain) Santiago Cirugeda 65. Renato Rizzi (Venice, Italy) 66. Robust Architecture Workshop (Colombo, Sri Lanka) Milinda Pathiraja 67. Rock Garden (Chandigarh, India) Anuj Saini 68. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (London, Great Britain) Richard Rogers; Graham Stirk; Ivan Harbour 69. Rural Studio, Auburn University (Newbern, Alabama, USA) Andrew Freear; Rusty Smith 70. Rural Urban Framework, The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) Joshua Bolchover; John Lin 71. SAAS (Porto, Portugal) Samuel Gonçalves 72. School of Architecture, University of Waterloo (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada) Robert Jan van Pelt; Anne Bordeleau; Sascha Hastings; Donald McKay 73. Simon Velez (Bogotá, Colombia) 74. Souto Moura - Arquitectos, S.A. (Porto, Portugal) Eduardo Souto de Moura 75. SPBR Arquitetos (São Paulo, Brazil) Angelo Bucci 76. Studio Anna Heringer (Laufen, Germany) Anna Heringer WITH Lehm Ton Erde Baukunst (Schlins, Austria) Martin Rauch WITH Architekturmuseum der TUM (Monaco, Germany) Andres Lepik 77. Studio Jaeeun-Choi (Tokyo, Japan) Shigeru Ban Architects (Tokyo, Japan) Jaeeun-Choi; Shigeru Ban 78. Studio Mumbai Architects (Mumbai, India) Bijoy Jain 79. Studio Snozzi (Locarno, Switzerland) Luigi Snozzi 80. Studio TAMassociati (Venice, Italy) Massimo Lepore; Raul Pantaleo; Simone Sfriso 81. Tadao Ando Architect & Associates (Osaka, Japan) Tadao Ando 82. Tatiana Bilbao Estudio (Mexico City, Mexico) Tatiana Bilbao WITH Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura (Mexico City, Mexico) Rozana Montiel WITH Dellekamp Arquitectos (Mexico City, Mexico) Derek Dellekamp WITH Alejandro Hernández (Mexico City, Mexico) 83. Transsolar (Stuttgart, Germany) Matthias Schuler WITH Anja Thierfelder Freie Architektin (Stuttgart, Germany) Anja Thierfelder 84. TYIN tegnestue (Trondheim, Norway) Yashar Hanstad; Andreas Grønvedt Gjertsen 85. VAVStudio (Iran) Arash Aliabadi; Afshin Farzin; Saman Shamsbeki; Sakhi Shirmohammadi; Amin Tadjsoleiman 86. Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Hanoi, Vietnam) Vo Trong Nghia 87. Werner Sobek (Stuttgart, Germany) 88. ZAO / Standardarchitecture (Beijing, China) Zhang Ke
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Breaking: Alejandro Aravena Named Director of 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture

Its final. Alejandro Aravena has been named Director of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. The Chilean architect will have just 10 months to prepare the exhibition, which opens May 28. He follows David Chipperfield and Rem Koolhaas in directing the exhibition. Aravena is from Santiago, Chile, where he directs the firm ELEMENTAL S.A., a multi-disciplinary design office that works on projects in a range of scale. He is possibly best known for his Siamese Towers, and was named by Herzog + de Meuron as one of the Ordos 100. He has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. According to director Paolo Baratta,“After the important experimental Biennale developed by Rem Koolhaas, dedicated entirely to the curator’s research, it is our belief that we must follow up with a Biennale that convenes the architects, and is dedicated to the exploration of the new frontier that demonstrate the vitality of architecture, a frontier that spans across various parts of the world and shows architecture engaged in providing specific responses to specific demands. This Biennale intends to react once again to the gap between architecture and civil society, which in recent decades has transformed architecture into spectacle on the one hand, yet made it dispensable on the other. Among architects of the new generation, Alejandro Aravena is, in our opinion, the one who can best describe this reality and highlight its vitality. He continued, “The 15th International Architecture Exhibition will be about focusing and learning from architectures that through intelligence, intuition or both of them at the same time, are able to escape the status quo. We would like to present cases that, despite the difficulties, instead of resignation or bitterness, propose and do something. We would like to show that in the permanent debate about the quality of the built environment, there is not only need but also room for action”. Aravena said of the appointment, “There are several battles that need to be won and several frontiers that need to be expanded in order to improve the quality of the built environment and consequently people’s quality of life. This is what we would like people to come and see at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition: success stories worth to be told and exemplary cases worth to be shared where architecture did, is and will make a difference in those battles and frontiers”.  
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Rem Koolhaas’ Biennale: Or how the Tempest Swept Venice

peter-lang-biennale-02 [Editor's Note: The Venice Architecture Biennale is still on through November 23 and it's still proving to be controversial. Professor Peter Lang shares his thoughts on Rem Koolhaas' event here.] A Tale about the Magician Koolhaas who plays Prospero, lives on an island in the Venetian Laguna, and brings a Tempest to the Venice Biennale. Miranda: O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't. —William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206[5] (Aldous Huxley quoted this line from the Tempest for the title of his dystopian novel Brave New World published in 1931) In choosing to take a different perspective on the 14th edition of the Architecture Biennale in Venice directed by Rem Koolhaas, I decided to skip the standard blow-by-blow critique, and instead confront what I believe is the greatest enigma behind this controversial event. Up till now, the majority of critics taking a look at this year’s exhibition find fault with Koolhaas’ method, not so much with his madness. But the key to the exhibition is not in its studied aloofness, but in its insubordination—Koolhaas is determined to shake up the Biennale institution by any means possible. In all likelihood it didn’t start out this way. Koolhaas went about his business to remake the Biennale as did any major curator in the past, but Koolhaas is ambitious, and he set the stakes very high. To remake the Biennale, Koolhaas would need to dismantle the entire institution in order to rid it of its nearly century old infrastructure, complete with archaic “nationalist” pavilions, an array of inflexible labyrinthine spaces and gigantean maritime buildings, and a legacy of incredibly dated architectural categories. Koolhaas must at some point hit a frustrating impasse, compelling him to look for alternative best practices. It might have been around then that he hit upon the Tempest. The Tempest has an incredible allure for the kind of intellectual figure who won’t be compromised. The Shakespearean play itself lives on and on: it morphs continuously through time into an incredibly wondrous amalgam of human drama and personal transcendence. The Tempest is a malleable condition, and can double as a playbook for utopian practices, a manual for post-colonial discourse, or a stage for feverish fantasies. Prospero, the ex-Duke of Milan was a man of great vision and curiosity. While his methods may not be commonly practiced today, he would be of great inspiration to someone like Koolhaas who also faced insurmountable odds. Prospero ruled by sorcery, commanded over an army of slaves, spirits, half humans and fairies. His supernatural powers were based on his immense intellect, drawn from his great library in Milan of which a portion accompanied him in his escape from the city. His strongest affections are reserved for his daughter, Miranda. But the most important cue Koolhaas probably takes from Prospero is dramaturgical, that all spectacle is one big illusion, and that the scenes and characters are but figments of one’s imagination. Prospero evokes the “stuff dreams are made on.” He reveals the insubstantial world of the theatrical craft, masking fiction from truth. Continue reading the rest of Peter Lang's essay here.
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Protest in Venice: Megaphones in hand, The Architect’s Lobby explores “Getting By”

01-protestsinvenice While most of the attendees at the recently opened Venice Biennale were thinking about the basic Elements of Architecture a younger generation of architects were concerned about something even more basic: how to earn a living. In a series of Arsenale round table talks called Stay Radical created by New York–based Superscript, young Italian architects talked about the difficulties of earning even the most basic living wage in their country devastated by recession and a historic system of wage depression. Meanwhile the New York group, The Architect's Lobby took matters into their own hand and with megaphones held a protest just outside entrance to the Venetian Giardini (above). san-precarious-archpaper Led by architects Yolande Daniels and Manuel Shvartzberg, surrounded by Carabinieri, the Italian paramilitary police, the young architects shouted the demands and manifesto of the Lobby:
We are precarious workers; these are our demands: 1. Enforce labor laws that prohibit unpaid internships, unpaid overtime; refuse unpaid competitions. 2. Reject fees based on percentage of construction or hourly fees and instead calculate value based on the money we save our clients or gain them. 3. Stop peddling a product - buildings - and focus on the unique value architects help realize through spatial services. 4. Enforce wage transparency across the discipline. 5. Establish a union for architects, designers, academics and interns in architecture and design. 6. Demystify the architect as solo creative genius; no honors for architects who don't acknowledge their staff. 7. Licensure upon completion of degree. 8. Change professional architecture organizations to advocate for the living conditions of architects. 9. Support research about professional labor rights in architecture. 10. Implement democratic alternatives to the free market system of development.
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La Moglie di Lot in Venice Remembers Superstudio’s Radical Ideas

05-venice4 The Florentine architecture group Superstudio enjoyed the penultimate moment on the world architecture stage at the 1972 MoMA exhibition, The New Domestic Landscape. However, by the end of that decade with worldwide radical politics on the wane and postmodernism on the rise, the Florentines found their radicale arguments and practice marginalized and they began to move away from architecture towards other sorts of design initiatives. But before the group left the international stage, they created one last potent architectural statement: La Moglie di Lot and displayed it at the 1978 Venice Biennale of Art. 03-venice4 The piece consisted of an iron frame with a table on which were placed four basic architectural forms constructed of salt, like a round Coliseum (see below). The frame has a taller high-rise like armature that help up plastic tubes that dripped water down on the forms. Each mass slowly disappeared or eroded into nothingness like Superstudio's careers and hopes for radical change in culture and the architecture profession. The frame from Moglie disappeared after 1978 but now a gallerist from Genoa has reconstructed a new frame (in fact, he built three of them for sale), and it is on display the 2014 Venice Biennale in the Moditalia Arsenale. 04-venice4 02-venice4 01-venice4
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Walking through the “Elements of Architecture” exhibit at the 2014 Venice Biennale

The 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale is a bit like walking into a giant research project. If the exhibition The Elements of Architecture is not necessary thrilling to the spirit it is at least full of ideas on the basics of construction. It is possible to walk through a dozen times and come away with new information and concepts. Here is a quick look at several of the ideas in this intellectual project masquerading as an exhibition.
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On View> Radical Pedagogies: ACTION-REACTION-INTERACTION at the 2014 Venice Biennale

AN just had a quick Arsenale walkthrough of Radical Pedagogies: ACTION-REACTION-INTERACTION by creator and Princeton professor Beatriz Colomina. The Arsenale has been given over in this biennale to Monditalia, a single-theme exhibition with exhibits, events, and theatrical productions engaging Italian architecture with politics, economics, religion, technology, and industry. In this installation the other festivals of la Biennale di Venezia—film, dance, theatre, and music—will be mobilized through the architecture event to contribute to a comprehensive portrait of the host country. In Radical-Pedagogies, Colomina's team (that includes Britt Eversole, Ignacio G. Galán, Evangelos Kotsioris, Anna-Maria Meister, Federica Vannucchi, Amunátegui Valdés Architects, and Smog.tv) has created a wondrous wall display of the effects of the radical years in Italy and as their influence spread around the world to architecture schools and movements on every content. The display is a wall of information that, rather than make definitive claims to all inclusiveness, uses an open-source strategy to feature what's known so far about the these multiple international movements and that asks others to add their own information to the wall. The wall includes original journals, fantastic period images of major protagonists from Giancarlo de Carlo, Manfredo Tafuri, and many others. The display makes use of augmented reality that allows users with mobile devices to scan the display which then creates an interactive display of films, videos, images, and other displays. Its is a not-to-be-missed part of Monditalia in the biennale.