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15th International Architecture Exhibition: REPORTING FROM THE FRONT

27 May, 2016

Simon Velez – Temple Without Religion

Open to the public from Saturday May 28th to Sunday November 27th 2016 at the Giardini and the Arsenale, the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, titled REPORTING FROM THE FRONT, will be directed by Alejandro Aravena and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta.

The preview will take place on May 26th and 27th, the awards ceremony and inauguration will be held on Saturday May 28th 2016.

The Exhibition will also include 63 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. Four countries will be participating for the first time: Philippines, Nigeria, Seychelles and Yemen.

The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, sponsored and promoted by the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane, has been assigned to the curatorial team TAMassociati: Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo, and Simone Sfriso.

The Exhibition REPORTING FROM THE FRONT will be laid out in a unitary exhibition sequence from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale, and will include 88 participants from 37 different countries. 50 of them will be participating for the first time, and 33 architects are under the age of 40.

“The lady on the ladder who, climbing up onto the highest steps can gaze over a far broader horizon, and by doing so conquers an “expanded eye”, announces the Biennale Architettura 2016 curated by Alejandro Aravena. We immediately loved this picture – stated President Paolo Baratta – because in a way it represents la Biennale as a whole, with our attitudes and our goals. “It is also in part a counterpoint to the image chosen for the most recent Biennale Arte. The symbol selected last year by Okwui Enwezor – Baratta noted – was Paul Klee’s famous “Angelus Novus” as interpreted by Walter Benjamin; the winged angel looking backwards in shock, seeing only the past and in the past, debris and tragedy, but also insights that could be useful some day, in a future towards which the hidden forces of providence are driving him, like a wind blowing on his wings.” “What does the lady see? I think – commented Baratta -mainly desolated land comprising immense swathes of human habitation which no human could be proud of; great disappointments representing a sad, infinite number of missed opportunities for humanity’s ability to act intelligently. Much of this is tragic, much is banal, and it seems to mark the end of architecture. But she also sees signs of creativity and hope, and she sees them in the here-and-now, not in some uncertain aspirational, ideological future.”

“We believe – explained Aravena – that the advancement of architecture is not a goal in itself but a way to improve people’s quality of life. “

“REPORTING FROM THE FRONT will be about sharing with a broader audience the work of people who are scrutinizing the horizon looking for new fields of action, facing issues like segregation, inequalities, peripheries, access to sanitation, natural disasters, housing shortage, migration, informality, crime, traffic, waste, pollution and the participation of communities. And simultaneously it will be about presenting examples where different dimensions are synthesized, integrating the pragmatic with the existential, pertinence and boldness, creativity and common sense. “

The Special Projects
The 15th International Architecture Exhibition will feature three Special Projects, the first promoted by La Biennale, the other two the result of agreements stipulated with other institutions, organized and realised by La Biennale itself.

The exhibition curated by architect Stefano Recalcati, titled Reporting from Marghera and Other Waterfronts, to be shown in the exhibition venues of Forte Marghera (Mestre, Venezia), will analyse significant projects for the urban regeneration of industrial ports, helping to fuel the debate on the conversion of production in Porto Marghera.

The collaboration agreement with the Victoria and Albert Museum of London takes its first step in the Applied Arts Pavilion at the Sale d’Armi in the Arsenale, with the exhibition entitled A World of Fragile Parts, curated by Brendan Cormier.

Finally, in view of the United Nations – Habitat III world conference, to be held in Quito, Ecuador, during the month of October 2016, and as part of the Urban Age programme, organized jointly by the London School of Economics and the Alfred Herrhausen Society, La Biennale will present, also in the Sale d’Armi, a pavilion dedicated to the themes of urbanisation – Report from Cities: Conflicts of an Urban Age – with particular attention to the relationship between public spaces and private spaces, curated by Ricky Burdett.

The programme of conversations about architecture
The Biennale Architettura 2016 will be accompanied throughout its duration by a wide-ranging programme of encounters to discuss the themes and phenomena presented in the Exhibition. Architecture Saturdays return this year with the architects and protagonists of the International Architecture Exhibition curated by Aravena, scheduled for every last weekend of the month. The “Special Projects” will also be enriched with a series of conversations and symposia to explore the issues they raise.
On July 16th and 17th, in Venice, the exhibition venues will host the annual Urban Age conference organized by the London School of Economics Cities, jointly with the Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society. The complete programme of events will be announced shortly.

“Biennale Sessions”, the project for Universities
The Biennale Sessions project will be held again for the seventh consecutive year, following the success of its previous editions. This initiative is dedicated by La Biennale di Venezia to institutions that develop research and training in architecture, the arts and related fields, and to Universities and Fine Arts Academies. The goal is to offer favourable conditions for students and teachers to organize three-day group visits for fifty people or more, offering reduced price meals, the possibility to organize seminars free of charge at the Exhibition’s venues, and assistance in organizing their journey and stay. As of today, 53 international institutions from 13 countries and every continent have signed a protocol of understanding.

Educational activities will again be offered for the year 2016, addressed to individuals and groups of students from schools of all levels and grades, from universities and fine arts academies, and to professionals, companies, experts, architecture fans and families. These initiatives aim to actively involve participants in both Guided Tours and Creative Workshops.

The official catalogue, titled REPORTING FROM THE FRONT, consists of two volumes (format 21 x 27 cm). Volume I is dedicated to the International Architecture Exhibition, and is edited by Alejandro Aravena. Each project is presented on specific pages within the catalogue. In individual dedicated essays, Aravena introduces the architectural design, the author’s or Firm’s “approach”, describing the project’s specificities and explaining the reasons that led him to include the project in the Exhibition. The curator’s texts are accompanied by drawings, sketches, original manuscripts and repertory images by the various authors. Each section is also accompanied by short technical and biographical notes. Volume II is dedicated to the National Participations, the Collateral Events and the 3 Special Projects. Each section includes detailed texts dedicated to the individual projects, repertory images and renderings of the installations in the exhibition spaces.

The Exhibition Guide (one volume, format 10.5 x 27 cm) is conceived to accompany the visitor through the exhibition, thanks to its practical “pocket-sized” format. The projects and authors are published in the order in which they appear along the sequence through the spaces of the Exhibition.


27 May, 2016
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