Iñaqui Carnicero and Carlos Quintáns have been selected as co-curators of the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, directed by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, under the theme "Reporting from the Front."
Iñaqui Carnicero is an architect and a Visiting Professor at Cornell University, and has been recognized by numerous international awards such as the Design Vanguard Award, AIANY Housing Award, Emerging Architects Award, FAD and COAM Award.
Carlos Quintáns is Professor of the Architectural Construction Department of the A Coruña Architecture School and director of the Tectónica magazine, recognized with awards such as the COAG, FAD or at the Spanish Architecture Biennale.
These appointments are sponsored by Spain’s Ministry of Development, the ICEX, Foreign Affairs, the Higher Council of Architects and the bank of Arquia Foundation (formerly Caja de Arquitectos), among other public and private entities.
As one of its permanent edifices, the Spanish Pavilion is amongst the most important pavilions of the Biennale -one of the few permanent pavilions-, and especially given its prime location in the Venetian exhibition, where it occupies the central entrance area.
According to the architects, this appointment is a major challenge and it is their intention to design an attractive proposition that represents a country with an enormous influence on the international architecture scene. Carnicero and Quintáns, to begin their work, have drawn up an initial list of over 500 Spanish architects, professionals whose work deserves to be exhibited in the Spanish Pavilion. From this initial list will be drawn the architects who will participate in and develop projects for the pavilion of the Biennale.
The idea that they hope to achieve, and that is inspired by the theme and philosophy of Aravena’s directorship, is to bring out this magnificent Spanish heritage, to value the work of these professionals (preparation, creativity and reliability) as well as their contributions to so many universities and schools around the globe. Venice must become not only a theoretical window on solutions, beauty and techniques but also a commercial platform to show the world the significance and capabilities of Spanish architects.
In their meetings with Aravena they have discussed the title that he has imposed on the 2016 Architecture Biennale: REPORTING FROM THE FRONT. This theme has evolved from a concept that has "largely defined his career and with which he is always working", one that was initiated with his important social housing initiative ELEMENTAL. By the end of the year the parameters should be completed, as the event opens its doors on May 28, and will remain fully operational for about half a year, with numerous activities, workshops, exhibitions, conferences, round tables, etc.
Elemental defines the idea of the need for housing "as a fundamental right of every human being," and calls for a debate on the essential, and on ethical thinking about the future.
There are pavilions exhibiting a single work, with others a single architect, both built and unbuilt projects, or a certain group of architects, or a trend. "Our idea is to include in the exhibition project the largest number of participants to show the variety of directions that can be found in architecture that takes place in Spain ".
Although Carnicero and Quintáns have not yet finalized the project, what is clear is that the Spanish Pavilion in Venice "will not speak to or show architecture’s enormous public works". The debate instead will be about the most basic, elemental issues. "We will focus on decisive topics that are necessary to what the architect does, topics that count for something, that are not merely a hymn to the sun: we are dedicated to think."
As Carnicero and Quintáns consider several possibilities for action, what is sure is that "we will display architectures that are able to endure and adapt to all conditions and programs” They are committed to strategies such as reuse, redevelop, reform, rehabilitate, and rebuild that have gone on to become principal works of architecture. Carnicero and Quintáns would like the Spanish Pavilion to demonstrate these examples, projects that take into consideration what exists, examples that are able to create something new through small-scale interventions.