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.

Our Amazon Frontline: Inside Perú's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 6 July, 2016
Our Amazon Frontline: Inside Perú's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, Our Amazon Frontline / Pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2016. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Our Amazon Frontline / Pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2016. 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.

The Amazon rainforest is our common frontline: constant battles are being fought to preserve the greatest source of biodiversity, oxygen production and climate regulation of the planet.

The Amazon is also the battlefront between the ancestral vision of its inhabitants and the modern vision that western society has over this territory. If we were to learn from the indigenous knowledge, now endangered by hegemonic “western civilization”, we would open an unforeseen insight about medicine, nutrition, and the sustainable production of the rainforest. The dissolution of this last frontline would have global implications and it would even change the way we see our world.

Our Amazon Frontline / Pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2016. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Our Amazon Frontline / Pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2016. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Our Amazon Frontline / Pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2016. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Our Amazon Frontline / Pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2016. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu +14

Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone: Inside Singapore's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

16:00 - 5 July, 2016
Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone: Inside Singapore's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, Singapore Pavilion – Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone - at Biennale Architettura 2016, Venice. Image © Don Wong
Singapore Pavilion – Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone - at Biennale Architettura 2016, Venice. Image © Don Wong

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.

Responding to the primary theme of 15th International Architecture Exhibition, ‘Reporting from the Front,’ Singapore’s presentation places the small “battles” fought at the home-front. These efforts are contributing to the emergence of an invigorated Singapore.

From within the comfort and the security of the domestic environments and public spaces that have been created over the past five decades, we are now pushing the home-front from within – to create more Space to Imagine, and Room for Everyone.

Map of Singapore with red pins indicating the HDB blocks where interior photos were taken and green pins indicating community gardens. Singapore Pavilion – Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone - at Biennale Architettura 2016, Venice. Image © Don Wong Close-up of post-it notes handwritten by participants in P!D's (Participate in Design) engagement programmes. Singapore Pavilion – Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone - at Biennale Architettura 2016, Venice. Image © Don Wong Singapore Pavilion – Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone - at Biennale Architettura 2016, Venice. Image © Don Wong Singapore Pavilion – Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone - at Biennale Architettura 2016, Venice. Image © Don Wong +10

Video: Designing Through Time – Home Economics at the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 5 July, 2016
Video: Designing Through Time – Home Economics at the 2016 Venice Biennale, Central Room. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Central Room. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

In this interview, presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, Jack Self—co-curator of the British Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale—reveals how the frontline of architecture in Britain today is not just a housing crisis, but "a crisis of the home." In provocatively presenting "the banal," Self reveals why the British participation at the 2016 Venice Biennale proposes five new models for domestic life, each curated through time of domestic occupancy, alongside how it seeks to address the ways in which we might live in the future.

To Live Is To Be Slowly Born: Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA's Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 4 July, 2016
To Live Is To Be Slowly Born: Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA's Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© 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.

The title relates to the processes of architecture, which can be slow to come to fruition and therefore one also refers to architecture and patience, and to the meaningful sustained existence of buildings in their fragile environments.

The installation is a glass labyrinth, which one crosses to reach an internal landscape. The glass is clear – therefore it is an alternate take on the architectural manifestation of the 'labyrinth': an age-old space of intrigue and discovery. It refers to the idea that although one is sure of one’s intentions - has a clear vision - the path to achieving that may not be straightforward but rather quite 'labyrinthine', in the economies and climatic zones that the architect operates in. That is, one can see clearly but cannot progress easily.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +14

"Between East and West: a Gulf": Inside Kuwait's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

10:30 - 3 July, 2016
"Between East and West: a Gulf": Inside Kuwait's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, "Between East and West: a Gulf" / curated by Hamed Bukhamseen & Ali Karimi. Image © Giulio Boem
"Between East and West: a Gulf" / curated by Hamed Bukhamseen & Ali Karimi. Image © Giulio Boem

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.

Commissioned by the Kuwaiti National Council of Culture Arts and Letters (NCCAL), Between East and West: A Gulf (BEWAG) began as series of questions - an exploration of points and territories that asks how the architect can imagine a scale beyond the national. The investigation of the hydrography of the Arabian/Persian Gulf and its islands reveals a realm forgotten between two coasts. Acting now as the liquid boundary between nations, the Gulf and its islands are the territories in which the identities of the coasts were initially formed. Prior to the discovery of oil, its waters were the source of livelihood for the region which was connected through trade, cultural exchange and commerce. The shallow body of water and the low sandbars that form its islands, create a shifting network of isolated and interconnected nodes. The Gulf island was inextricably linked to the movement of people and resources,yet of a scale and possible containment that allowed it to be planned and experimented upon throughout history. This meant that the island was the smallest plannable political and ecological space in the region.

Making Heimat: Inside Germany's Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 1 July, 2016
Making Heimat: Inside Germany's Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Biennale, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

"Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country" is a response to the fact that over a million refugees arrived in Germany during 2015. The expectations for 2016 are similar. The need for housing is urgent, but just as urgent is the need for new ideas and reliable approaches to integration. The exhibition therefore consists of three parts: the first part surveys physical refugee shelters - the actual solutions that have been built to cope with the acute need. The second part seeks to define the conditions that must be present in an Arrival City in order to turn refugees into immigrants. The third part of the exhibition is the spatial design concept of the German Pavilion, which will make a statement about the contemporary political situation. Something Fantastic will plan and stage the architectural presentation and graphic design. 

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +21

Cool Capital: Inside South Africa's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

14:00 - 29 June, 2016
Cool Capital: Inside South Africa's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, © Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
© Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

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 line with creative director  Alejandro Aravena's theme for the 15th La Biennale di Venezia "Reporting from the Front", the 2016 South African pavilion at building D in the Sale d'Armi presents successful physical outcomes and practical solutions to urban challenges, conceived and implemented by citizens for the citizens of the administrative capital city of South Africa under the umbrella organization of "Cool Capital".

Curated by architect Pieter J. Mathews of Mathews & Associates Architects, this year’s South African Pavilion is called “The Capital of Uncurated Design Citizenship”, and showcases a selection of projects from Cool Capital – an urban experiment and labour of love for Mathews and a small team of dedicated architects, artists and designers that began in 2012, coincidentally at the 2012 Biennale Architettura.

© Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia © Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia © Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia © Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia +6

ReframingBack/ImperativeConfrontations: Inside Egypt's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

14:00 - 27 June, 2016
 ReframingBack/ImperativeConfrontations: Inside Egypt's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, © Michela di Savino, Morgane Quere
© Michela di Savino, Morgane Quere

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.

The Venice Biennale of Architecture is an integral part of architectural culture. However, this year’s cycle “Reporting from the Front” is more unique, highlighting the capacity and potential of architecture’s role inside communities; “architecture makes the difference”, as  2016 Venice Biennale director Alejandro Aravena puts it.

The Egyptian pavilion commissioned and curated by Architect Ahmad Hilal with a team composed of Eslam Salem, Gabriele Secchi, Luca Borlenghi and Mostafa Salem, seeks to reveal various successful stories of architecture narrating the difficulties and challenges inside the Egyptian built environment. The works inside the pavilion reveal how architecture is actively creating change in communities. Nowhere are these confrontations more evident than in the urban context, and nowhere more so than in Egyptian cities. 

© Michela di Savino, Morgane Quere © Michela di Savino, Morgane Quere The MAS urban design of ETH Zurich contribution to the Egyptian pavilion. Image © Michela di Savino, Morgane Quere PennDesign of University of Pennsylvania contribution to the Egyptian pavilion. Image © Michela di Savino, Morgane Quere +23

Critical Round-Up: Did Aravena's 2016 Venice Biennale Achieve its Lofty Goals?

10:30 - 27 June, 2016
Critical Round-Up: Did Aravena's 2016 Venice Biennale Achieve its Lofty Goals?, The "Reporting the Front" exhibition/ curated by Alejandro Aravena at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
The "Reporting the Front" exhibition/ curated by Alejandro Aravena at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

The XV International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale opened its doors last month. Under the directorship of Chilean Pritzker Prize-winner Alejandro Aravena, “Reporting the front” asked architects to go beyond “business as usual” and investigate concealed built environments – conflict zones and urban slums, as well as locations suffering from housing shortage, migrations and environmental disasters. Clearly, the aim of this Biennale is to open the profession to new fields of engagement and share knowledge on how to improve people’s quality of life.

This stance that has been highly criticized by Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architectswho believes that architects “are not equipped to [address these issues]. It’s not the best value for our expertise.” But is this a view shared by the rest of the design world and its critics? What are the limits and benefits of this “humanitarian architecture”? Read on to find out critics’ comments.

The "Reporting the Front" exhibition/ curated by Alejandro Aravena at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Gabinete de Arquitectura at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu NLÉ's Makoko Floating School at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu "OUR AMAZON FRONTLINE" / curated by Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse. Peruvian Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu +6

Video: Ascend the Ziggurat in the Nordic Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 27 June, 2016
Video: Ascend the Ziggurat in the Nordic Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, "In Therapy" at the Nordic Pavilion. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
"In Therapy" at the Nordic Pavilion. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

In this film, Jesús Granada visits the Nordic Pavilion, “In Therapy”, at the 2016 Venice Biennale. The video presents a series of measured stills in 4K resolution which introduce the central installation of the exhibition—a stepped pyramid, or ziggurat—and its series of reflective "rooms without walls." The pavilion itself, which was completed in 1969, was designed by Sverre Fehn to partially reflect and concretize certain ideas about Nordic society and its architecture – including a sense of openness. This year, therefore, the pavilion has been orchestrated as an extension of the public space of the Giardini.

Monocle 24's 'Section D' Reports from 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 24 June, 2016
Monocle 24's 'Section D' Reports from 2016 Venice Biennale, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

In the latest edition of Section DMonocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, Chiara Rimella reports from the Veneto in northern Italy for a report on the best at the 15th International Architecture Biennale – La Biennale di Venezia. Covering Aravena's central exhibitions, Reporting From the Front, and the designers and curators of the 61 national pavilions, the show seeks to understand how architecture can tackle some of the pressing social and political concerns of our time.