The V&A Presents "A World of Fragile Parts" at the Venice Biennale's Applied Arts Pavilion

14:45 - 26 May, 2016
The V&A Presents "A World of Fragile Parts" at the Venice Biennale's Applied Arts Pavilion, Dar Abu Said, Shelter 12N 122, scan © Sam Jacob Studio_1. Image Courtesy of The Victoria & Albert Museum
Dar Abu Said, Shelter 12N 122, scan © Sam Jacob Studio_1. Image Courtesy of The Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) has collaborated with La Biennale di Venezia on the Special Project Applied Arts Pavilion with an exhibition called A World of Fragile Parts. The project will examine threats faced by global heritage sites and how copies can act as an aid in the preservation of cultural artifacts.

First Look: "Reporting from the Front" Arsenale Exhibition

13:01 - 26 May, 2016
First Look: "Reporting from the Front" Arsenale Exhibition, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

"Architecture is about giving form to the places where we live. It is not more complicated than that, but also not easier than that." - Alejandro Aravena

MVRDV Designs a Kitchen with Complete Transparency

12:01 - 25 May, 2016
MVRDV Designs a Kitchen with Complete Transparency, © Martin Rijpstra
© Martin Rijpstra

MVRDV has designed a fully transparent kitchen for Kitchen Home Project, a satellite event at this year’s Venice Biennale, focusing on living and the home environment. Kitchen Home Project was initiated by Weng Ling of the Beijing Centre for the Arts (BCA), and also features works by Kengo Kuma and the Hong Kong-based media artist Au Yeung Ying Chai. MVRDV’s proposal, “Infinity Kitchen,” imagines the next stage of kitchen design, creating counters, shelving, cabinets, and faucets entirely out of glass – the metaphor being that a see-through environment will add greater transparency to the food being made in the kitchen, and make inhabitants more aware food choices, cleanliness, and the culinary experience.

© Martin Rijpstra © Martin Rijpstra Courtesy of MVRDV Courtesy of MVRDV +8

Turkey’s Pavilion at the Biennale to Explore Cultural Similarities Between Istanbul and Venice Arsenals

06:00 - 25 May, 2016
Darzanà Mockup. Image © IKSV
Darzanà Mockup. Image © IKSV

The Pavilion of Turkey at the 2016 Venice Biennale will feature an exhibition titled Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel, which links the cultural heritage between the language and architecture of dockyards in Istanbul and Venice. Curated by a team of Turkish architects, the display will present “a last vessel," that has been built using waste materials found at the Haliç dockyards in Istanbul, and transported to the Biennale

Instagram Provides a Sneak Peek at 2016 Venice Biennale Exhibitions

15:15 - 23 May, 2016
Instagram Provides a Sneak Peek at 2016 Venice Biennale Exhibitions

As the 2016 Venice Biennale is set to begin this upcoming Saturday, May 28th, the first glimpses of the pavilions have begun to roll in through the social media wires. In addition to the event’s main exhibition, curated by this year's Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena, there will be 63 exhibitions held in country pavilions throughout the grounds responding to this year’s theme of “Reporting From the Front.” We've taken to Instagram to round up the best sneak peeks of the exhibitions coming together at architecture’s preeminent event—read on to take a look.

Unfoldings and Assemblages: Mexico’s Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

14:00 - 21 May, 2016

Following a competition that received 286 entries from 26 of the 32 states of Mexico, 31 proposals have been selected to be presented at the Mexican Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Narrating the “deep history of social participation in Mexico,” the exhibit, “Unfoldings and Assemblages,” will feature “architectures assembled from fragments, modules, relations, stories, tactics, technologies and construction strategies.” The exhibit will focus on work and experiences that can change, propagate and adapt, rather than closed systems or final products.

Seychelles Makes First Venice Biennale Appearance with "Between Two Waters" Exhibition

06:00 - 20 May, 2016

The Republic of Seychelles will make their debut at the upcoming Venice Biennale with an exhibition titled Between Two Waters, Searching for Expression in the Seychelles. Curated by Andrés F. Ramírez, and featuring the work of local firm ADD.locus, the exhibition faces the Grand Canal and “transports visitors to the 115-island archipelago—the least populated nation in Africa,” exploring the identity of this nation while also investigating the architecture of every day life in the paradise islands.

LifeObject: Israel Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale to Study the Relationship Between Biology and Architecture

08:00 - 19 May, 2016
LifeObject: Israel Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale to Study the Relationship Between Biology and Architecture, LifeObject Close-Up. Image Courtesy of Xhibtion
LifeObject Close-Up. Image Courtesy of Xhibtion

Israel has unveiled its theme for the 2016 Venice Biennale: “LifeObject: Merging Architecture and Biology”. Their pavilion will be comprised of a large-scale sculptural installation and seven speculative architectural scenarios relating to Israel. The exhibition will focus on the relationship between biology and architecture, acting as a “research oriented platform.”

Canada, Extraction Empire: A Report From the Edge of Empire (Outdoors, That Is)

04:00 - 19 May, 2016
Canada, Extraction Empire: A Report From the Edge of Empire (Outdoors, That Is), Installation Plan. Image © OPSYS
Installation Plan. Image © OPSYS

With the opening of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale almost upon us, architects, curators and artists have already started to migrate to the city to unlock pavilion doors and sweep out the past six months of hibernation from the previous biennale season. This year, however, one pavilion has confirmed that it will remain closed – the Canadian Pavilion will not be opening its doors. Closure of the space has been attributed to a much-needed renovation, which has been mentioned by those who have exhibited in the space, specifically Shary Boyle at the 2012 Venice Art Biennale. Nevertheless, there are whispers that the political nature of this year’s entry may have been another reason to keep the pavilion shut. That said, Canada will be present by staking claim in the Giardini with a provocative installation entitled Extraction.

Curators Reveal Images for the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

14:35 - 18 May, 2016
Curators Reveal Images for the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

For this year’s US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon have chosen twelve teams to speculate on possible architecture projects for four sites in Detroit, in an exhibition titled: The Architectural Imagination. After visiting Detroit last fall for site visits, community meeting, and discussions with faculty and students at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the teams have now released images for their projects. The curators hope to generate creative and resourceful work to address the social and environmental issues of the 21st century.

Malkit Shoshan on How the City is a Shared Ground for the Instruments of War and Peace

10:45 - 17 May, 2016
Malkit Shoshan on How the City is a Shared Ground for the Instruments of War and Peace, Initial set-up, Camp Castor, Gao (Mali). Image © The Dutch Ministry of Defense
Initial set-up, Camp Castor, Gao (Mali). Image © The Dutch Ministry of Defense

Can architects have a truly active role in pressing social problems? Malkit Shoshan, the curator of the Dutch Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, thinks so. Her career is evidence of this: advocating for the incorporation of a fourth 'D' in the criteria of the UN (Defence, Diplomacy and Development) in its peacekeeping missions around the world, Shoshan has sat at the same table as military engineers and policy makers to analyze the urban impact peacekeepers have left around the world.

For the Dutch Pavilion, Shoshan has focused on the case of the joint mission of the Netherlands and the UN in Gao (Mali). In 2012, Gao was declared capital of the Independent State of Azawad, a nation not recognized by the international authorities, following Mali's Tuareg rebellion. "Although [these peacekeeping missions] occupy large plots of land in hundreds of different cities around the world, it is rarely discussed or addressed by our profession," says Soshan in the following interview.

We spoke with the curator of the Dutch pavilion after her recent visit to Mali to discuss the principles of the Netherlands in the next Venice Biennale; the impact of military drones in public spaces and why, according Shoshan, there is a close relationship between architecture, public policy and ideology. "[With design,] we can make resources available to communities that are exhausted by militarized conflicts, long periods of drought, famine and disease," she says.

“The Forests of Venice” Selected as Collateral Event for the 2016 Venice Biennale

06:00 - 17 May, 2016
“The Forests of Venice” Selected as Collateral Event for the 2016 Venice Biennale, Kjellander + Sjöberg. Image Courtesy of Kjellander + Sjöberg
Kjellander + Sjöberg. Image Courtesy of Kjellander + Sjöberg

The Swedish exhibition, “The Forests of Venice,” has been selected as a Collateral Event for the 2016 Venice Biennale. Initiated by Kjellander + Sjöberg and Folkhem; and curated by Jan Åman, the exhibit highlights wood as a sustainable material, while looking at "the interaction between nature and the man-made human habitat in order to respond to climate change and limited resources." 

"An Alignment of Missions": Why MIT Will Be a Major Player in the 2016 Venice Biennale

10:10 - 16 May, 2016
"An Alignment of Missions": Why MIT Will Be a Major Player in the 2016 Venice Biennale, Brussels Foodmet. A large, mixed-use market building in the immigrant neighborhood of Anderlect, Belgium by ORG Permanent Modernity. The ORG project team includes MIT professor and ORG partner, Alexander D’Hooghe, and MIT alumnus Kobi Rutherberg. Image Courtesy of Filip Dujardin
Brussels Foodmet. A large, mixed-use market building in the immigrant neighborhood of Anderlect, Belgium by ORG Permanent Modernity. The ORG project team includes MIT professor and ORG partner, Alexander D’Hooghe, and MIT alumnus Kobi Rutherberg. Image Courtesy of Filip Dujardin

This interview was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "MIT on the Frontier: An Interview with Hashim Sarkis."

At this year's Biennale, "Reporting from the Front," MIT will have an unusually widespread presence. Ten full-time and visiting faculty, six alumni, and a handful of other MIT-affiliates (many invited by curator Alejandro Aravena himself) will contribute to over 15 installations, including "Rwanda Droneport," a full-scale earthen masonry shell designed by Norman Foster, which will serve as a small airport for drones delivering supplies to inaccessible areas of Rwanda, and "Courtyard House Plug-In," a prefabricated building system designed to be inserted into Beijing's dilapidated courtyard houses. To discuss MIT's significance on the architectural stage today, we spoke with the Dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, Hashim Sarkis, who, it was recently announced, will also serve on the Biennale jury.

Back to the Ignored Front: Chinese Pavilion Reveals Theme for 2016 Venice Biennale

12:00 - 15 May, 2016
Back to the Ignored Front: Chinese Pavilion Reveals Theme for 2016 Venice Biennale, Something About Food Courtesy of SONG Qun
Something About Food Courtesy of SONG Qun

The organising committee behind the Pavilion of China at the 2016 Venice Biennale (the China International Exhibition Agency) have revealed that the exhibition will be entitled Back to the Ignored Front, themed around "things and designs that embody traditions of the past and have a lasting presence." Based on the premise that Chinese architecture has been pioneering in the nation’s modernization for the last three decades the show, which will be on display in the Arsenale, intends to tackle how these "developments generally focus only on the new ‘futuristic’ frontier." 'Spectacular’ buildings and cities are, in their words, "erected one after another, seldom taking a glance at the things passed by – ancient traditions and daily lives."

Complex Problems for Architectural Imaginations: BairBalliet at the U.S. Pavilion

14:00 - 14 May, 2016
Courtesy of BairBalliet
Courtesy of BairBalliet

Kristy Balliet, Assistant Professor at the Knowlton School of Architecture, is the Columbus-based half of BairBalliet, who will be presenting their work as part of the Pavilion of the United States at this year’s Venice Biennale. Her research focuses on the exploration of volume as an architectural medium. Balliet's interest in the city of Detroit began long ago. Related to her interest in contemporary forms of volume, her research started to reimagine the typology of the architectural "midrise" (10-15 story building). Detroit, along with other Midwest cities, requires an innovative tactic for urban infill and associated embedded volumes. This topic has been explored within her own work and as a topic for research design studios at the Knowlton School of Architecture.

Zaha Hadid to be Remembered With Exhibition in Venice

14:00 - 13 May, 2016
Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects
Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects

In celebration of the four decade career of the late Zaha Hadid, Fondazione Berengo will host an exhibition of her paintings, drawings, and models at the 16th century Palazzo Franchetti in Venice, coinciding with the 2016 Venice Biennale. The exhibition will display the full range of Hadid's design work from built projects, to those under construction, and others ultimately never realized. Some of the early, unrealized work that will be represented includes Malevich’s Tektonic, a bridge concept for the Thames River, which Hadid developed while she was still a student at the Architectural Association School in London (1976-77), as well Peak Club, Hong Kong (1982-83), Hafenstrasse, Hamburg (1989), Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square, London (1985), the Victoria City master-plan for Berlin (1988), and the Cardiff Bay Opera House (1994-95).

The Peak, Hong Kong. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects Malevich’s Tektonic . Image © Zaha Hadid Architects Hafenstrasse, Hamburg . Image © Zaha Hadid Architects Victoria City Berlin. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects +9

Structures of Spontaneous Architecture in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro by Patricia Parinejad

18:00 - 12 May, 2016
Structures of Spontaneous Architecture in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro by Patricia Parinejad, © Patricia Parinejad
© Patricia Parinejad

FAVELAS, named after the Brazilian creeping plant ’favela’ have existed in Brazil since the late 19th century. Wretched areas of closely packed dwellings were planted in the cities, on the outskirts of the cities, and continued to spread rampantly, growing out of all control. The problem became worse around 1950 when the industrialization of Brazil led to mass migration from rural areas to the big cities. At first the municipal administration tried to resolve this problem by building social housing. Some of the favelas were bulldozed and their inhabitants were forced to resettle elsewhere. But areas of informal settlements have continued to grow. According to the Secretaria Municipal de Habitação the slum’s residents are already 22% of the population in Rio.

WOHA Unveils “Fragments of an Urban Future” for the 2016 Venice Biennale

06:00 - 12 May, 2016
WOHA Unveils “Fragments of an Urban Future” for the 2016 Venice Biennale, PARKROYAL on Pickering. Image Courtesy of WOHA Architects
PARKROYAL on Pickering. Image Courtesy of WOHA Architects

Singapore-based WOHA’s “Fragments of an Urban Future” will be on display at the 2016 Venice Biennale, addressing some of the critical issues that megacities face today --  “unprecedented urbanization, accelerating climate change and the need for preservation of tropical biodiversity.” Part of the Global Art Affairs Foundation’s collateral exhibition, “TIME SPACE EXISTENCE,” WOHA’s contribution will be housed in the Palazzo Bembo.