Níall McLaughlin Architects, based between the United Kingdom and Ireland, have been selected to represent Ireland at the 2016 Venice Biennale. The practice, who were shortlisted this year for the RIBA Stirling Prize, will be working alongside Yeoryia Manolopoulo, an architectural academic based in London. Their proposal "reflects their interest in working as architects to understand and improve the quality of life for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease [by examining] the spatial experiences of people with Alzheimer’s whilst recognising that the experiences of the sufferer are unlikely to resemble any conventional architectural representation."
According to Culture Ireland, "the installation will record and represent the human experience from this frontline condition and show it as a space with its own characteristics. This central concept will be accompanied by a contextual piece and also a social media campaign to extend the impact of this exhibition beyond the Biennale." For Christine Sisk, Director of Culture Ireland, "the Venice Architecture Biennale is the greatest world showcase for the presentation of contemporary architectural talent. The selection of Niall McLaughlin Architects to represent Ireland in 2016 will serve to build on Ireland's successes over the years and serve to further highlight the ingenuity and responsiveness of Irish architects to difficult challenges."
As reported in the Architects' Journal, McLaughlin has said that "Alzheimer’s Disease is a condition that progressively destroys the ability to remember and to navigate one’s way in the world." He believes that "to be at ease, one must be able to situate oneself: to know when and where one is. This is what is destroyed by dementia. Situation is the task of architecture. The loss of one’s ability to place oneself presents a profound challenge for our discipline." Níall McLaughlin Architects have previously worked with the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland.
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