With previews of each exhibit starting on 26 May in Venice, the international architecture community will descend on the city to celebrate the 15th edition of the Biennale’s Architecture Exhibition. Pritzker Prize-winner Alejandro Aravena is the curator of the event, and last year called for exhibits under the theme of “Reporting from the Front”. The theme was chosen to encourage international exhibitors to share constraints and challenges, believing that collective wisdom could spark fresh imagination and break new grounds.
Here, we roundup a selection of inspiring pavilions and exhibits that will be taking part.
Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice
Young architect Stanley Siu was chosen by Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) to curate the Hong Kong exhibit: Stratagems in Architecture: Hong Kong in Venice. His vision employs the classical Chinese essay Thirty-Six Stratagems – a collection of military tactics applied during wars in ancient China. Siu and his curatorial team aim to show the world how young Hong Kong architects and artists break the norms and test the limits of the city to unleash their own unique vitality and imagination.
“In my statement I had identified many regional frontiers or ‘battle grounds’ in Hong Kong that related to Aravena’s call. Hong Kong is driven by economics; it’s all about development and making money, but to us – this younger generation – we are more concerned about the minorities and the local community,” notes Siu.
28.5 – 27.11
10am – 6pm
(10am – 8pm on Fridays
and Saturdays from 28/5 – 24/9)
Closed on Mondays
(except 30/5, 5/9, 31/10, 21/11)
Campo della Tana
Castello 2126, 30122 Venice
(opposite the main entrance of Arsenale)
As one of Australia's greatest cultural symbols – The Pool – will form the foundation of the Australian Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia 2016. Curated by Aileen Sage Architects (Isabelle Toland and Amelia Holliday) with Michelle Tabet, the exhibit uses the pool as a lens through which to explore Australian cultural identity. It will engage visitors through an immersive experience that will transport them poolside and evoke the pools of Australia in all their forms, be they natural or manmade, inland or coastal, temporary or permanent.
Eight prominent cultural leaders from various fields have also been selected to share their personal stories, using the device of the pool as a platform to explore the relationship between architecture and Australian cultural identity. These include Olympic swimmers Ian Thorpe and Shane Gould, environmentalist Tim Flannery, fashion designers Romance was Born, authors Christos Tsiolkas and Anna Funder, Indigenous art curator Hetti Perkins and musician Paul Kelly.
Against the Tide
Chile’s third Pavilion at the exhibition, Against the Tide, curated by Juan Roman, comprises 15 architectural projects by local students that aim to transform the everyday lives of people living in rural regions of Chile. These projects have been built with minimal means, with leftover resources from agricultural processes and local materials easily available in a rural environment.
According to the jury that selected Juan Roman as the Curator, “The proposal focuses on the problem of the transformation of rural areas, associated with processes of agribusiness exploitation, and poses a critical look through the construction of a series of projects that relate to this new landscape”. The jury commented further that this project was selected for its “conceptual and narrative consistency. The projects include ideas of recycling and waste which are of great architectural interest in answering social needs in the rural areas of south-central Chile."
The FAR Game: Constraints Sparking Creativity
The Korean Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia will present The FAR Game: Constraints Sparking Creativity. FAR (Floor Area Ratio) refers to the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built. Curated by Sung Hong Kim and presented by Arts Council Korea, the exhibit will explore the challenges and achievements of contemporary Korean architecture under these regulatory constraints, and will illustrate the struggle of architects in Seoul who strive to improve the residents' quality of life by utilising space effectively.
Explaining the theme of this year's Korean Pavilion, Curator Sung Hong Kim stated that: "for the past 50 years, maximizing FAR has been the driving force behind the sustainable growth of Korean urban architecture, and remains to be the most challenging task for the majority of architects today".
Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone
The Pavilion of Singapore goes behind Singapore's carefully planned infrastructure and its modern cityscape to put the spotlight on the people of the island nation and their creative actions in forging new identities, connections to place and social bonds. Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone will show a selection of works in three segments: People and their Homes, People working the Land and People engaging the City.
“Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone shares with the global audience, the challenges in Singapore's next stage of development; especially how individuals, enterprises and ground-up actions are making a palpable difference. As small "battles" in its home-front, the selections provide a poignant account on how design improves the quality of the built environment and people's lives," said associate professor Wong Yunn Chii, lead curator of Singapore Pavilion and head of architecture, National University of Singapore.
Campo della Tana 2169
Future Islands has been produced by a group of New Zealand architects and exhibition designers led by creative director Charles Walker and associate creative director Kathy Waghorn. The exhibit consists of 22 island-like forms, some of them several metres in diameter, that are suspended in two rooms throughout the venue. Arranged on or around the islands are more than 100 models that represent 50 different architectural projects from New Zealand.
As this is only the second time that the country has been represented at the international exhibition, the curators hope that the exhibit has a freshness that will stand out in the Biennale environment. “The exhibition expresses the diversity of contemporary New Zealand architecture, and of modern New Zealand society,” notes Walker.
Palazzo Bollani, Castello 3647