The British Council has announced that curators Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler will represent the UK at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2020. Selected from a shortlist of nine proposals, the winning project entitled “The Garden of Privatised Delights”, explores the creeping epidemic of privatized public spaces across cities in the UK.
Commissioned by the British Council, the British Pavilion, a platform for discussion about contemporary art and architecture, will host this year, an exhibition that looks at “how spaces such as the British High Street and the Playground are under threat from increasing privatization”. In fact, the winning proposal, by curators Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler, engages with the current on-going debate around ownership and public space.
The British Pavilion will be transformed into “a series of immersive spaces, commissioned from leading researchers and practitioners, presenting both a critique of how they are currently used while providing strategies to increase people’s agency over their public spaces”.
We are delighted to be selected as curators of the British Pavilion for La Biennale di Venezia 2020. The British Council commission offers a unique platform for research about public space to be collected, tested and disseminated in order to increase public agency across the UK and beyond. We will be working with an experienced team of architects and designers who are at the forefront of research and practice on this subject. -- Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler
Curators Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler have worked together on summer school units, workshops, and masterclasses on architecture across the UK. Manijeh Verghese is the Head of Public Programmes and Exhibitions at the Architectural Association. She is also a Unit Master of AA Diploma 12, seminar leader for the Professional Practice for Fifth Year course and editor of the website AA Conversations. On the other hand, Madeleine Kessler is an Associate Architect at Haptic Architects, where she leads and contributes to international research visits, open-panel discussions, and events for the collaborative research program Londonon.
In collaboration with our partners Museum of Architecture and the Saturday Club Trust, we hope to widen access not only to the Biennale but also to who participates in the discussion around privatized-public space. It is our hope that through the research, design and legacy of the project, we can begin to imagine all public spaces as Gardens of Delight. -- Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler
Read on for the eight other shortlisted projects for the commission.
- BOT by Design Computation Lab, UCL, Tactical Tech, FutureEverything
- Fallen Idols by Beatrice Galilee, Adrián Villar Rojas
- The Gran Bretagna or The Definite Article by Hadrian Garrard and Diana Ibanez Lopez (Create London), Apparata, Seb Emina
- Home & Other Worlds by Rachel Armstrong/EAG, Sarah Wigglesworth, Irene Gallou, Studio Swine, Ioannis Ieropoulos, Simon Park
- A House for Britain by Priya Khanchandani, Joseph Henry, Jayden Ali
- Land of Exceptional Qualities by Brendan Cormier, Ruth Lang, OMMX
- Learning from Artists Housing by vPPR Architects, Kate Goodwin, Create, Artist
- Radically rural - the overlooked potential of contemporary rural architecture by Jonathan Tuckey Design, Kate Darby Architects, David Connor Design, Rural Office for Architecture