A Look Back at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, the First to be Focused on the Culture of Africa

The 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia closed on November 26th. A total of 285,000 people visited the exhibition, making it the second most highly attended Architecture Biennale in its history. Named "The Laboratory of the Future," this edition led by curator Lesley Lokko, has been the first to focus on Africa and its diaspora, exploring the “fluid and enmeshed culture of people of African descent that now straddles the globe,” in the words of the curator, with themes of decolonization and decarbonization.

On-Site in Venice: 12 Interviews with Curators Discussing the Impact of the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale

While exploring the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, the ArchDaily team had a chance to engage in conversation with several curators of the national pavilions, along with Lesley Lokko, the curator of the entire exhibition. The discussions delved into the unique character of this year’s edition focused on an understanding of Africa as a “Laboratory of the Future.” Through this lens, the biennale became “a healing experience,” in the words of Lesley Lokko, reinterpreting and deconstructing the meaning behind ideas such as decolonization, decarbonization, resource management, or finding the hidden potential in vernacular forms of practice.

Utopian Practice, Political Power, and Community in Architecture: An Interview with Olalekan Jeyifous

After being awarded the prestigious Silver Lion for his contribution to this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous shows no signs of slowing down. Currently in the midst of preparing his entry to the next Sharjah Architecture Triennial, he also recently celebrated the opening of Climate Futurism, a group exhibition that highlights the power and efficacy of artists’ methods and processes to imagine a more equitable future – and is working on a public monument to former United States Representative Shirley Chisholm as part of New York City's She Built NYC initiative, among other projects.

A Mindset of Revival: Exploring Reuse in Urban Biennales and Pavilions

In light of the looming climate crisis and the pursuit of sustainability, the concepts of revival and reuse have emerged as crucial strategies in the quest for decarbonization in the architecture industry. These principles preach that creating new structures may be sustainable but encourage architects to minimize their ecological footprint by reactivating and recycling existing resources. This year specifically, innovative projects in line with these themes were displayed as part of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. This world-renowned event’s core purpose is to serve as a platform for architects, designers, and thinkers to collectively reimagine sustainability, decarbonization, resource conservation, and the industry's future.

Women-Led Architecture Practices: Redefining Urban Housing Design at the Time Space Existence Exhibition in Venice

As part of the 6th edition of “Time Space Existence”, the European Cultural Center (ECC) presented the “Reconceptualizing Urban Housing” exhibition. Taking place from May 20 to November 26, 2023, it brings together a diverse array of women-led architecture practices from around the world, each offering a unique perspective on collective housing, particularly within urban settings. The showcased projects feature approaches from Europe, North America, and more developing countries like Uganda, Malaysia, and Mexico.

Is Wood the Sustainable Solution for the Middle East?

As we understand it today, the sustainable architecture movement began to take shape at the end of the 20th century. Essentially, it responds to growing concerns about environmental degradation, energy consumption, and resource scarcity. In this global discourse on sustainable architecture, wood has long been celebrated as a symbol of environmental consciousness and decarbonization. As one of the most widespread building materials, it has gained popularity with the rise of this movement. This is because trees absorb carbon dioxide during their growth, which stays in the wood during its construction use, keeping it out of the atmosphere.

Rethinking the Biennale: In Conversation with Anh-Linh Ngo, Curator of the German Pavilion at the 2023 Venice Biennale

The German Pavilion Open for Maintenance / Wegen Umbau geöffnet at this years 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia was curated by ARCH+ and Summacumfemmer Büro Juliane Greb. At its core, the exhibition addresses the resource problem and the material cycles of the biennale. Inside the pavilion is a functioning workshop dedicated to applying these concepts of care, repair, and maintenance to Venice onsite. In Venice, ArchDaily had the chance to speak with the co-curator Anh-Linh Ngo, where he discussed the different aspects of the German Pavilion.

“Everyone Belongs to Everyone Else:” In Conversation with the Curators of the Italian Pavilion at the 2023 Venice Biennale

During this year’s edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale, ArchDaily had the chance to discuss with Giacomo Ardesio and Claudia Mainardi of Fosbury Architecture, the curators of the Italian Pavilion together with Alessandro Bonizzoni, Nicola Campri and Veronica Caprino. The curatorial project, titled “Spaziale: Everyone Belongs to Everyone Else,” aims to provide a distinctive and original portrait of Italian architecture within the international context. The curators discussed the origins of their office, their sources of inspiration and the thinking behind the design decisions that led to the creation of the curatorial project for the Italian Pavilion.

"So We Can Be Here in 100 Years": In Conversation with Josephine Michau, Curator of Danish Pavilion at the 2023 Venice Biennale

This year’s Danish Pavilion at The 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, was curated by Josephine Michau. Titled “Coastal Imaginaries,” the exhibition addresses solutions to alleviate global challenges such as rising sea levels and storm floods. Onsite in Venice, ArchDaily had the chance to speak with the curator Josephine Michau, where she discussed the thought process behind the pavilion, the collaborations, and her hopes of starting meaningful dialogue as a result of the exhibition.

"A Wall is A Political Statement": Karin Sander on Co-Curating the Swiss Pavilion at the 2023 Venice Biennale

At the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Karin Sander, and Philip Ursprung curated the Swiss Pavilion “Neighbors”. In her interview with Louisiana Channel, Karin Sander talks about expanding the understanding of the pavilion, reimagining the connected role of architecture and art, and explaining her artistic process. “Neighbors” was focused on spatial proximity between the Swiss Pavilion and its Venezuelan neighbor. Sander highlights also the conversation between the two structures, that became possible after the removal of a separating wall.

"It’s the People Who Keep Buildings Alive": In Conversation with SO?, Curators for the Pavilion of Türkiye at the 2023 Venice Biennale

During their visit to the 18th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, ArchDaily had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with Sevince Bayrak and Oral Göktaş, founders of the Istanbul-based studio SO? Architecture and Ideas, curators for the Pavilion of Türkiye. Their exhibition, titled Ghost Stories: Carrier Bag Theory of Architecture, explores the status and hidden potential of abandoned buildings across Türkiye to discover more hopeful proposals for the future. The conversations opened with an exploration of the status of these forgotten structures and their hidden potential, leading into the intentions behind the exhibition in Venice and the curator’s message for the wider audience.

"Liminality" by Neri&Hu Explores the Zone Between Theory and Practice at La Biennale di Venezia 2023

Neri&Hu presented “Liminality”, a multimedia exhibition selected by Lesley Lokko, at the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. The exhibition took place in the Dangerous Liaisons section of La Biennale di Venezia at the Arsenale. In response to Lokko’s curatorial statement, Neri&Hu’s display explored the concept of liminality, the “zone” between design practice and theoretical exploration. The display consisted of three adaptive reuse projects that represent the practice’s research in “Reflective Nostalgia, Recasting Vernacular, and Ruinophilia/Future Artifact.”

A Brick for Venice: Urban Radicals Explores Waste-based Construction in Response to the Rising Climate Crisis

Urban Radicals presented a temporary pavilion “A Brick for Venice” as part of the European Cultural Center’s “Time Space Existence program during the same time as the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale. The entirety of the brick pavilion was made with mud from the city’s canals. Furthermore, “A Brick for Venice” is the first proof of concept for the team’s novel waste-based construction product.

What Is an Architectural Curator?

In his book “Curation: The Power of Selection in a World of Excess,” Michael Bhaskar defines curation as “using acts of selection and arrangement (but also refining, reducing, displaying, simplifying, presenting, and explaining) to add value.” Originating from the Latin word curare, meaning to take care of, the curator’s role in dissecting our understanding of the world around us cannot be overlooked. Over time, as the definition morphs into different bodies, the practice of curation continues to evolve, filling the roles of caretakers of our built environment and thinkers of different forms for the overall bettering of society.

Building for Sustainability: 3 Main Themes Explored at the Time Space Existence Exhibition in Venice

The European Cultural Centre (ECC), a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering cultural exchanges on an international scale, showcased its sixth edition of the Time Space Existence architecture exhibition alongside this year's Venice Architecture Biennale. The 2023 installment was centered on the theme of sustainability in its various forms, encompassing subjects related to migration, digital building technologies and material research, future urban developments, and housing, bringing together architects, designers, artists, academics, and photographers from 52 different countries.

In Search of Well-Tempered Architecture: The Pavilion of Slovenia Explores Energy Efficiency at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale

At the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, the Pavilion of Slovenia set out to explore the theme of ecology and the paradoxical ways in which architecture relates to it. Instead of understanding it strictly through energy-efficient adaptations like heat pumps or recovery ventilation, the exhibition titled +/- 1 °C: In Search of a Well-Tempered Architecture aims to address the theme holistically. The Pavilion curators Jure Grohar, Eva Gusel, Maša Mertelj, Anja Vidic, Matic Vrabič, together with fifty European architects and creatives, researched and analyzed vernacular buildings from Europe to gain insight into the living example of intuitive adaptations.

In Conversation with Studio Muoto's Gilles Delalex on Their Architecture of Endless Possibilities

The architecture of Studio Muoto is one that encompasses endless definitions of what architecture should be, but most importantly, of what architecture can become. The scope of work of the Paris-based practice founded in 2003 by Gilles Delalex and Yves Moreau includes projects in the fields of architecture, exhibition design, urban planning, teaching, and research. All of this has led to an architecture of minimal structures that age gracefully, an architecture that evolves and adapts with time, and that is sustainable economically and environmentally.

NEOM Showcases Its Designs for the Line at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale

At the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, NEOM has unveiled the “Zero Gravity Urbanism- Principles for a New Livability” exhibition to present the concept and standards guiding the design of the Line, their proposed 170-kilometer-long linear city in north-west Saudi Arabia. The event aims to introduce to the public an alternative vision for urban planning whose compact configuration strives to become a model for the development of more efficient and sustainable cities. Prior to the opening of the exhibition, more than 20 internationally recognized architects and designers joined the design team, including Sir Peter Cook, Massimiliano Fuksas, Jean Nouvel, and Ben van Berkel. The exhibition is open from 20 May to 24 September 2023 at Abbazia di San Gregorio, Venice.