At 2016 Biennale Half-Point, We Celebrate Architects: "Spiral Travelers That Imagine Our Universe"

01:00 - 30 August, 2016
At 2016 Biennale Half-Point, We Celebrate Architects: "Spiral Travelers That Imagine Our Universe"

92 days into the 2016 Venice Biennale we have reached its exact midpoint, and the ArchDaily team, together with photographer Jesús Granada, bring you a video compilation from the opening days. With this video we want to thank the architects and talented teams that worked to produce invaluable exhibitions that were a joy to photograph and document. They showed patience, availability and attention to detail that made our job much easier. We also extend our thanks to architects in general—"viajeros en espiral que imaginan el universo" (spiral travelers that imagine our universe)—who inspire the work of all of us ArchDaily. 

"Transformations: The Emirati National House": Inside UAE's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

16:20 - 22 August, 2016
"Transformations: The Emirati National House": Inside UAE's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, Courtesy of NPUAE
Courtesy of NPUAE

As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.

In response to Alejandro Aravena’s Biennale theme “Reporting from the Front” the UAE National Pavilion, commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, has chosen as its main theme the transformation of the UAE National house, also known as Sha’abi, or People’s house – a housing program that was introduced in the UAE in the early 1970s to house what was then a fairly transient population.

Zumthor's LACMA Design Suspended in a Rainbow of Fabric at the 2016 Venice Biennale

12:25 - 22 August, 2016
Zumthor's LACMA Design Suspended in a Rainbow of Fabric at the 2016 Venice Biennale, © Danica O. Kus
© Danica O. Kus

At the 2016 Venice Biennale, Peter Zumthor has put his designs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on display for the professional community. Inside the Arsenale building, a model of the tar-pit-inspired building has been suspended to float within a curving display of textile artworks by Christina Kim, while a soundtrack by Walter De Maria – “Ocean Music,” written in 1968 – provides a rhythmic backdrop for the installation.

Carla Bechelli Arquitectos Unveils Villa Housing Project at 2016 Venice Biennale

08:00 - 21 August, 2016
Carla Bechelli Arquitectos Unveils Villa Housing Project at 2016 Venice Biennale, Courtesy of Carla Bechelli Arquitectos
Courtesy of Carla Bechelli Arquitectos

Update: We've added a video, presented by PLANE-SITE, about the exhibition, featuring quotes from Carla Bechelli.

Video: Curators Discuss "Making Heimat, Arrival Country," the German Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale

16:30 - 17 August, 2016

In this video, presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, the curators of the German Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale discuss their theme of “Making Heimat, Arrival Country.” The exhibition explores the current influx of refugee communities occurring in Germany, and how architecture can be used to improve the “arrival cities” where immigrants tend to settle.

Video: Ali Karimi and Hamed Bukhamseen Discuss the Kuwaiti Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale

16:20 - 15 August, 2016

In this interview, presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, Ali Karimi and Hamed Bukhamseen, curators of the Kuwait Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, discuss the architectural identity and potential of Kuwait and the Middle East region as a whole. The duo explain how they approached the pavilion design by asking themselves the question: “How do we imagine a conversation between the different countries of the Gulf?”

Pezo von Ellrichshausen Discuss Their Philosophy of Human-Scaled Architecture

09:30 - 13 August, 2016
Pezo von Ellrichshausen Discuss Their Philosophy of Human-Scaled Architecture, Vara Pavilion / Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Vara Pavilion / Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

For Mauricio Pezo and Sofía Von Ellrichshausen, the architect's job is about much more than dealing with functional issues, as well as social issues, sustainability, and safety. “Of course architecture from its very essence is solving problems, and the problems constantly change,” says von Ellrichshausen in this interview with The Architectural Review outside their Vara Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. “But probably the life span of architecture is many times larger than the problem that it addresses initially. Therefore we think of architecture more in terms of this larger span and hopefully it might embody a set of values and not necessarily propose a solution.”

Three Nordic Refractions: After Belonging Agency Discuss the Theme of the 2016 Oslo Trienniale

04:00 - 12 August, 2016
Three Nordic Refractions: After Belonging Agency Discuss the Theme of the 2016 Oslo Trienniale, The main installation of the 2016 Nordic Pavilion as "discourse machine". Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
The main installation of the 2016 Nordic Pavilion as "discourse machine". Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

In May 2016, the After Belonging Agency discussed the theme of the forthcoming Oslo Architecture Triennale—entitled After Belonging: a Triennale In-Residence, On Residence, and the Ways We Stay In-Transit—as part of In Therapy, the exhibition of the Nordic Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. The hour-long discussion, which also includes presentations by Shumi Bose and Füsun Türetken, begins with an in-depth description of how the Triennale intends to focus on the future challenges of migration by investigating how cities and architecture can react to large groups of people moving and resettling.

This is How Urban Agency Made a 150kg Concrete Model

10:00 - 9 August, 2016

As part of the Danish contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale Urban Agency embarked on a challenging feat: the construction a 1:50 concrete model. The firm—based in Dublin, Copenhagen and Lyon—contributed three projects to the "Human Architectures" exhibition at this year's Danish Pavilion.

The video shows the careful, painstaking process of molding, setting and assembling the 150kg model. Urban Agency told ArchDaily,

Video: Frédéric Bonnet and Grichka Martinetti Explain "Nouvelles Richesses", the French Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale

12:00 - 3 August, 2016
Video: Frédéric Bonnet and Grichka Martinetti Explain "Nouvelles Richesses", the French Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale

In this interview, presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, Frédéric Bonnet of Obras Architecture and Grichka Martinetti of PNG, curators of the French contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale, discuss their commitment to celebrating meaningful architecture in various contexts, and the ways in which this passion was translated into their exhibition. The duo explains the concepts driving the exhibition design, including their choice to exhibit small-scale work from throughout France rather than focusing on the large, high-profile architecture found in the major cities.  

Video: Pierre Bélanger Explains "EXTRACTION", the Canadian Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale

12:00 - 2 August, 2016
Video: Pierre Bélanger Explains "EXTRACTION", the Canadian Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale

In this interview, presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, Pierre Bélanger, curator of the Canadian contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale—explains why Canada's practices of mining and extraction should be carefully understood for their architectural implications. Together with his firm OPSYS, Bélanger conceived of a miniaturized experience of an "inverted territorial intervention" so that Biennale visitors could personally experience and relate to "the complex ecologies and vast geopolitics of resource extraction." 

Bart Lootsma Dissects, Unpicks and Evaluates the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 27 July, 2016
Bart Lootsma Dissects, Unpicks and Evaluates the 2016 Venice Biennale, One installation of the Central Pavilion, curated by Alejandro Aravena. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
One installation of the Central Pavilion, curated by Alejandro Aravena. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

In two lectures delivered by Bart Lootsma, Professor and Head of Institute for Architectural Theory and History at the University of Innsbruck, the 2016 Venice Biennale—Reporting From the Front—is dissected, unpicked and evaluated through the national participations (pavilions) and Alejandro Aravena's central exhibitions. Lootsma, who has broadcast the lectures as publicly available resources on architecturaltheory.eu, is the co-curator of the 2016 Pavilion of Montenegro.

Surface Magazine Examines Alejandro Aravena's "Architecture of Improvement"

08:00 - 26 July, 2016
Surface Magazine Examines Alejandro Aravena's "Architecture of Improvement", Alejandro Aravena in his exhibit at the Arsenale, created using waste material generated from the last Venice Biennale. Photo © James Mollison / Surface. Image Courtesy of Surface Magazine
Alejandro Aravena in his exhibit at the Arsenale, created using waste material generated from the last Venice Biennale. Photo © James Mollison / Surface. Image Courtesy of Surface Magazine

It’s the Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena’s habit to look at architecture as a way to help people, and not to simply dazzle them with form. The ethos and practice of Aravena’s Santiago-based firm, Elemental, is essentially the blueprint for each national pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale (through Nov. 27), which he is directing. His brief, “Reporting from the Front,” asks a simple question, one that’s increasingly difficult to address: How can the advancement of architecture, given physical needs and local contexts, actually improve the quality of people’s lives? 

The question is central to how Aravena approaches his own work. Before he puts pen to paper, the economic, environmental, political, and social dimensions of the built environment are fully taken into account. 

Alejandro Aravena on Design, Venice and Why He Paused His Career to Open a Bar

04:00 - 21 July, 2016
Alejandro Aravena on Design, Venice and Why He Paused His Career to Open a Bar, Alejandro Aravena in Venice. Image © Andrea Avezzù
Alejandro Aravena in Venice. Image © Andrea Avezzù

In an exclusive half-hour interview with Alejandro Aravena, Monocle's Josh Fehnert questions the recent Pritzker Prize-laureate on Chilean architecture and urbanism, why he considers simple design as the key to alleviating the world's biggest woes, and the conception and ultimate result of his 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

AD Interviews: Bart Lootsma / Curator of Montenegro Pavilion

04:00 - 18 July, 2016
AD Interviews: Bart Lootsma / Curator of Montenegro Pavilion

Ahead of this weekend's symposium “THE DEBATE”—which will take place in Kotor, Montenegro and will present the results of the Project Solana Ulcinj for the national and international audience of the KotorAPSS (Kotor Architectural Prison Summer School)—we present an interview with Bart Lootsma, co-curator of the Montenegro Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Video: Daily Life, Daily Tao – Jingyu Liang Discusses the Chinese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

12:00 - 15 July, 2016
Video: Daily Life, Daily Tao – Jingyu Liang Discusses the Chinese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

In this interview, curator Jingyu Liang of Approach Architecture Studio discusses the concept behind "Daily Design, Daily Tao – Back to the Ignored Front," the theme of the Chinese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Responding to 2016 Biennale director Alejandro Aravena's overall theme of "Reporting From the Front," the pavilion takes an introspective look at China's own architectural front, and the impact that the country's ongoing development boom has had on Chinese architecture.

Video: Speculative Detroit – The Architectural Imagination at the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 11 July, 2016
Video: Speculative Detroit – The Architectural Imagination at the 2016 Venice Biennale

In this interview, presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon—curators of the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale—explain why the United States' contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale has brought together "visionary" American architectural practices to speculatively address the future of the city of Detroit. They argue that these projects have "far-reaching applications for cities around the world."

Incidental Space: Inside the Swiss Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 7 July, 2016
Incidental Space: Inside the Swiss Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, «Incidental Space»  A project by Christian Kerez / curated by Sandra Oehy. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
«Incidental Space» A project by Christian Kerez / curated by Sandra Oehy. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.

All architecture is exhibitionist. Exhibitions are not simply sites for the display of architecture, they are sites for the incubations of new forms of architecture and new ways of thinking about architecture. [1] – Beatriz Colomina

An architecture biennale can be more than a place to simply represent and celebrate the status quo in architectural production. The Biennale’s state of exception and its spatial distance from where people normally work open up a space for examining and critically questioning the conditions of everyday work and production. Although, technologically speaking, more is possible today than ever before, in recent years architects’ creative latitude has been greatly reined in by an enormous—and growing—burden of rules and regulations. Against this background, the architectural exhibition is becoming an ever more relevant medium for a critical practice of architecture. Understood in these terms, an exhibition is no longer just a place for representing architecture ex post facto, as it is still often treated today. Instead, the fact of the exhibition space’s autonomy, and its distance from the “real” world of public and private architecture, has a potential that is increasingly being recognized and put to use. Exhibitions are becoming a place for researching and producing an experimental and critical architectural practice: a place not for the presentation of finished products, but for the production of content. The simultaneous limitations and license to experiment lent by the exhibition space focuses the object of research, allowing for the emergence of new insights, interpretations, and meanings. This calls into question the supposed boundary between architecture and the exhibition. Inquiry becomes a form of display.