Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Venice: Looking Forward To – Biennale Architettura 2020 - 17th International Architecture Exhibition

La Biennale di Venezia
17th International Architecture Exhibition
How will we live together?

The press conference - via streaming - for the – Biennale Architettura 2020 - 17th International Architecture Exhibition – with the theme - How will we live together? was held last week. Chaired by the outgoing president, La Biennale di Venezia’s Paolo Barata and curated by architect, educator, and scholar Hashim Sarkis, will take place from 29th August - 29th November, between the Central Pavilion at the Giardini, the Arsenale and Forte Marghera - including - 114 participants in competition coming from 46 countries63 National Participations of which three will be present for the first time: Grenada, Iraq and Uzbekistan. The Italian Pavilion will be curated by Alessandro Melis.

Olalekan Jeyifous and Mpho Matsipa
Liquid Geographies - Liquid Borders - 2020

“There has been a constant theme over the years - the social advantages which Architecture can catalyze. As we have often said, Architecture makes us more aware individuals; it helps us become citizens, not just consumers; it stimulates us to consider the indirect effects of our actions; it helps us understand more fully the importance of public goods and of free goods. It helps us develop a more all-around vision of welfare. And lastly, Architecture helps us to conserve resources and to give ourselves a modicum of happiness. In its broad-ranging gaze, the exhibition curated by Hashim Sarkis captures the structural problems of contemporary society. He observes that, in every corner of the world, phenomena of intense change are underway; they all differ but what they share is a need for important “adjustments” in living conditions. Thus, the gaze of the curator and the exhibition ranges even further afield. Architecture becomes the reference point of a vast interdisciplinary commitment and of a vast cultural and political commitment.”
Paolo Baratta
President La Biennale di Venezia

“We need a new spatial contract.  In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together. The architects invited to participate in the Biennale Architettura 2020 are encouraged to include other professions and constituencies—artists, builders, and craftspeople, but also politicians, journalists, social scientists, and everyday citizens. In effect, the Biennale Architettura 2020 asserts the vital role of the architect as both cordial convener and custodian of the spatial contract.”
Hashim Sarkis
Curator Biennale Architettura 2020

·  together as human beings who, despite our increasing individuality, yearn to connect with one another and with other species across digital and real space;
·  together as new households looking for more diverse and dignified spaces for inhabitation;
·  together as emerging communities that demand equity, inclusion, and spatial identity;
·  together across political borders to imagine new geographies of association;
·  and together as a planet facing crises that require global action for us to continue living at all.

The question, “How will we live together?” is as much a social and political question as a spatial one. Aristotle asked it when he was defining politics, and he came back to propose the model of the city. Every generation asks it and answers it differently. More recently rapidly changing social norms, growing political polarization, climate change, and vast global inequalities are making us ask this question more urgently and at different scales than before. In parallel, the weakness of the political models being proposed today compels us to put space first and, perhaps like Aristotle, look at the way architecture shapes inhabitation for potential models for how we could live together.

How will we live together?
The theme of the Biennale Architettura 2020 is its title.
The title is a question. The question is open:

How: Speaks to practical approaches and concrete solutions, highlighting the primacy of problem solving in architectural thinking.
Will: Signals looking toward the future, but also seeking vision and determination, drawing from the power of the architectural imaginary.
We: Stands for first person, plural, and thus inclusive (of other peoples, of other species), appealing to a more empathetic understanding of architecture.
Live: Means not simply to exist but to thrive, to flourish, to inhabit, and to express life, tapping into architecture’s inherent optimism.
Together: Implies collectives, commons, universal values, highlighting architecture as a collective form and a form of expression.
?: Indicates an open question, not a rhetorical one, looking for (many) answers, celebrating the plurality of values in and through architecture.

Courtesy Studio Ossidiana – La Biennale di Venezia

Five Scales
The Biennale Architettura 2020 will be organized into five scales, three in the Arsenale and two in the Central Pavilion. Projects range from the analytic to the conceptual, the experimental, the tested and proven, and the widely deployed.

Scale 1: Among Diverse Beings – Arsenale
 - Designing for New Bodies: Addressing changes in the perception and conception of the human body.
- Living with Other Beings: Foregrounding empathy and engagement with other beings.

Studio Ossidiana - Variation on a Bird Cage - 2019-20

Courtesy Alison Brooks Architects – La Biennale di Venezia
 Alison Brooks - ”Axonometric,” - Home Ground – 2020
Courtesy Osbourne Macharia– La Biennale di Venezia
Osbourne Macharia - “GIKOSH”:
Example of Photographic art projects involving the creative Millenial within the informal settlements in Nairobi – “Keja,” - 2019

Scale 2: As New Households – Arsenale
 -  Catering to New Demographics: Responding to changing compositions and densities of households.
-  Inhabiting New Tectonics: Exploring technologies that enable innovative housing construction.
-  Living Apart Together: Expanding possibilities of the apartment building as a collective housing typology.

  Courtesy SOM | Slashcube GmbH – La Biennale di Venezia
SOM - “Moon Village Earth Rise,” Life Beyond Earth – 2020
  Courtesy PRACTICA – La Biennale di Venezia
PRACTICA, “River Somes, Urban Beach,” River Somes:
Across Communities and Ecosystems - 2017-ongoing.

  Courtesy doxiadis + - La Biennale di Venezia
doxiadis + - “Growing,” Entangled Kingdoms - 2019-20

Scale 3: As Emerging Communities – Arsenale

-  Engaging Varied Forms of Civicness: Investigating novel ways for communities to organize themselves spatially.
-  Re-equipping Society: Proposing new forms of social equipment (parks, schools, hospitals, ...).
-  Coming Together in Venice: Imagining the future of Venice.
-  Co-habitats: Showing how we do live together in... Addis Ababa, Al Azraq Refugee Camp, Beirut, Hong-Kong, India-Pakistan corridors, Lagos squatter settlement, New York, Prishtina, and the Rio-Sao Paulo area.

  Courtesy Rural Urban Framework – La Biennale di Venezia
Rural Urban Framework - “Video collage by day – dug-out house on the bottom, Chinese landscape on the top,” Split Lives:
Stories from the Underground House – 2020

  Courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture – La Biennale di Venezia
Bureau of Engineering, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc. / HNTB Corporation, “City of Los Angeles,” Sixth Street Viaduct

Scale 4: Across Borders – Giardini - Central Pavilion

-  Transcending the Urban-Rural Divide: Mitigating the growing social and economic differences between global cities and the global hinterland.
-  Linking the Levant: Negotiating sharp political divisions in the Levant region.
-  Bridging Infrastructures: Exploring how infrastructural design can provide trans-regional connectivity.
-  Protecting Global Commons: Bringing the architectural imaginary to endangered treasures such as the Poles, the Amazon, the Oceans, the Indo-Pacific Region, and the Air. 

  Courtesy Cave_bureau – La Biennale di Venezia
Cave_bureau - “Mbai Cave Steam + Struggle,”
The Anthropocene Museum: Exhibit 3.0 “Obsidian Rain,” – 2017

Courtesy Angelo Bucci – La Biennale di Venezia
Angelo Bucci, Satellights over Sao Paolo – 2019

Scale 5: As One Planet – Giardini - Central Pavilion

-  Making Worlds: Anticipating and calibrating the future of the planet.
-  Uniting the Nations: Marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations by revising and expanding its spatial scope.
-  Changing Designs for Climate Change: Presenting solutions in face of global warming.
-  Networking Space: Connecting between Earth and outer space.
The grounds of the Arsenale and the Central Pavilion at the Giardini will include several large installations that relate to one of the five scales.The grounds of Forte Marghera will feature projects devoted to children’s play, by five architects and an architectural photographer under the subtheme: How Will We Play Together?.

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