Sevince Bayrak and Oral Göktaş, founders of the Istanbul-based studio SO? Architecture and Ideas, were selected as curators for the Pavilion of Turkey in the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia 2023. Named Ghost Stories: Carrier Bag Theory of Architecture, the installation questions how architects can transform buildings instead of demolishing or leaving them to their fate to reveal hopeful proposals for the future. The exhibition will take on 20 May–26 November 2023, under the coordination of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV).
The Pavilion aims to open the debate on the taken-for-granted attitudes to buildings to propose more accurate outcomes. According to the Selection Committee Aslı Çiçek, Prof. Dr. Ayşen Savaş, Neyran Turan, Han Tümertekin, and Ertuğ Uçar, the proposal was selected for its cross-scale range, from building to urbanism, and deliver the contemporary problem of historic construction threatened by increasing urbanization and obsolescence.
Pieces of Turkey’s contemporary buildings collection will be displayed as the ‘laboratory of the future' to question possible reuse alternatives and approaches to heritage. Based on the book The Carrier Bag Theory by Ursula K. Le Guin, the exhibition suggests listening to the stories of unused buildings rather than heroic structures standing on pedestals. As well as drawing strength from the radical change that the world of architecture has undergone in the last two decades.
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SO? Architecture and Ideas' work has been published internationally, winning the Young Architects Programme by MoMA/PS1 and the invited competition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The studio has been nominated for Mies and Aga Khan Awards, and they were among the finalists of the Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award 2019. Sevince Bayrak and Oral Göktaş recent works include the cultural center Beylikduzu Ataturk Arts, and the transformation of a swimming pool and a hangar for a public hall, both in the city of Istanbul.
For the 18th edition of the International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, curator Lesley Lokko has chosen the theme The Laboratory of the Future. Other countries have also announced their selected curators. SPACES was selected as Curators of the U.S. Pavilion, with a project that examines the role of plastic “both literally and as a cultural metaphor”; Germany has chosen ARCH+ and Summacumfemmer Büro Juliane Greb as curators with a project focused on repair and maintenance; while the UAE pavilion will be curated by Faysal Tabbarah, who chose to explore the potential of the dry landscape of his country.