After being postponed for one year, the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale opened its doors to the public on May 22nd, 2021, revealing a wide range of answers to Hashim Sarkis’ question of "How will we live together". With over 112 participants from 46 countries, the contributions are organized into five themes: Among Diverse Beings, As New Households, As Emerging Communities, Across Borders, and As One Planet. Due to travel restrictions, many curators were unable to be physically present at the inauguration of the event, resorting to digital platforms for interviews and presentations. ArchDaily had the chance to physically attend the exhibition and meet with some of the curators to further explore their pavilions. The following are 9 interviews from ArchDaily’s Youtube playlists that feature these exclusive interviews.
Hashim Sarkis: "Architecture Is A Medium That Can Make A Difference"
Onsite, in Venice, ArchDaily had the chance to meet with curator Hashim Sarkis, to discuss once more the ever-growing relevance of the biennale, different overlapping scales and fields, recurring qualities, and the international language of architecture. Hoping that “people will walk out of the biennale with a stronger belief in architecture as being a medium that can make a difference”, Sarkis in his third interview talks of a collective imaginary that can inspire new spatial contracts.
Paul Andersen: "Woodframing is Both an Egalitarian and Open System"
One of the recurring themes explored at the Biennial is the value and future opportunities held by different local characteristics and building practices, often overlooked in architectural discourse. The US Pavilion highlights such a subject, showcasing the ubiquity and aesthetic power of wood-framed construction in American architecture through the exhibition American Framing. Stressing the established tradition of wood framing in the US and its egalitarian quality, in the interview with Archdaily, Andersen talks about the contemporary possibilities of generating a new kind of architecture using this construction practice so widespread in the United States.
Wael El Awar: "Our Future Vernacular Could Be Our Industrial Waste"
Many pavilions highlighted the sources of environment's deterioration and provided insights on how we should sustain it. As a solution, the curators of the UAE pavilion decided to look at the local geography of the United Arab Emirates to find alternatives to Calcium Oxide (known as free lime in the construction industry) since cement is one of the key emitters of the world's carbon dioxide. Architect Wael Al Awar, one of the co-curators of the UAE Pavilion, discussed how the pavilion's innovative material came to be and what it means for the future of architecture.
Christophe Hutin: "Housing Is A Universal Natural Right"
The idea of community has been central to this edition of the Biennale, with several national pavilions exploring its many manifestations, scales and symbiotic relationships with the built environment. With the exhibition “Communities at Work”, The French Pavilion reflects on how communities transform their living spaces, highlighting the universality of the phenomenon across several continents, from Europe, Asia, to America and Africa.
Emilio Marin and Rodrigo Sepulveda: "There is a Relationship Between Narrative and Architecture"
Bringing into focus the question of “How will we live together”, the pavilion connects to the theme through several layers by displaying the emblematic neighborhood of Jose Maria Caro in Santiago, Chile. ArchDaily met with the curators of the Chilean Pavilion Emilio Marín and Rodrigo Sepúlveda at the Biennale and discussed how the project tackled the question of the future of living together and how they bridged the stories from Santiago to Venice. The interview was conducted in Spanish but is provided with English subtitles.
Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli: Politics and Mechanics of Institutions
ArchDaily met with Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, curator of the Russian Pavilion, to discuss how the idea of the pavilion came together throughout the year as a virtual platform for interdisciplinary creative thinkers, the role of cultural institutions across physical and digital spaces, and how digitalization is always part of the conversation.
Alejandro Aravena: "We Are Not The Protagonists, Architecture Is Just The Background"
The Mapuche conflict is a phenomenon happening in Chile and some area of Argentina, which centres around claims of indigenous Mapuche for jurisdictional autonomy, land ownership and rights recognition. As the Chilean-Mapuche hostilities have escalated in recent years, ELEMENTAL chose to address the conflict by using architecture as a means to establish a dialogue. In the interview, Alejandro Aravena explains how the project aims to recover the old parley tradition, the means the Mapuche community used to relate to other powers.
Hae-won Shin: Blurring Out Boundaries Between Domestic and Institution
The Korean Pavilion is imagined as a catalyst for discussion around the urgent global challenges, coagulating a collective of experts from various disciplines and proposing workshops, roundtables, installations and screenings with the aim of establishing new networks of cooperation. ArchDaily met virtually within the Korean pavilion with curator Hae-Won Shin, as the pandemic prevented the exhibition's creators to be present at the Biennale. The conversation explored the thinking behind "Future School" and how it creates a framework for collective learning and exploration.
Venice Biennale 2021: The Future of the Built Environment in One Word
ArchDaily asked the curators of Luxembourg, Chile, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Mexico, the KOYAÜWE Installation, and Hashim Sarkis what they believe is the future of our built environment in one word.
We invite you to check out ArchDaily's comprehensive coverage of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, and watch our official playlist on Youtube featuring exclusive interviews with architects and curators of the Biennale.