An artistic director’s achievement at the International Architecture Exhibition in Venice is rated on the breadth, relevance and lucidity of his or her curated exhibition. As Architizer explores Alejandro Aravena’s Reporting from the Front, which fills the Central Pavilion at the Giardini and the Corderie at the Arsenale, it is becoming clear that this year’s Biennale scores highly on all three criteria.
Aravena proposes that ‘architecture gives form to the places where people live,’ and that its practice is ‘neither more complicated nor simpler than that.’ To be included, projects had to address relevant architectural challenges in the contemporary world, rather than merely produce ‘buildings that look nice but are unable to say which problem [they] are trying to address.’
Keep scrolling for exclusive photographs of the most striking architectural interventions across the Giardini and the Arsenale.
The “Making Of” Venice Biennale introductory exhibit
The work of Rural Urban Framework in Mongolia: “Sedentary versus nomadic; cities should be able to host from modern to archaic ways of living if they want to properly tackle the migration of people towards them.”
The work of Christ & Gantenbein in Switzerland: “Sustainable architecture is not just one that disappears peacefully (recyclable), but one that stands the test of time (durable).”
The work of BeL Architects in Germany: “Open incremental architecture able to register the cultural backgrounds of dwellers (or even refugees).”
The War on Bending by Block Research Group: “The attempt by Ochsendorf, Block and DeJong to save materials and energy by having structures working only in compression.”
The projects, exhibited by 88 participants from 37 countries, provide insights into contemporary architectural practice across the world. They range from Francis Kéré’s Parliament House (Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso) to the work of Assemble Studio in the U.K.
None are static snapshots of architectural ‘moments’ frozen in time — they convey the dynamism of a profession adapting to changing architectural priorities, with practitioners from emerging geographical regions of the world challenging the waning hegemony of the northern hemisphere.
The Schools of C+S for the Veneto region: “Public buildings as public goods.”
Polish architect Hugon Kowalski in Mumbai, in collaboration with Marcin Szcelina: “Let’s talk about garbage.”
The work of ADNBA in Romania: “Fighting the weight of dullness in the real estate world.”
An immigrant market in Belgium by Alexander D’Hooghe and Organization for permanent modernity: “Addressing immigration’s civic (not residential) dimension.”
The work of Transsolar and their contribution to sustainability: “Cutting edge engineering at the service of common sense.”
A Sentimental Monumentality, a functionless concrete pillar installed between one of the pairs of massive brick that supports the Corderie roof, is symbolic of an outmoded view of architecture as static. Further along, rays of light that seemingly penetrate through the Corderie roof, but were in fact engineered by Transsolar, are symbolic of how architecture is changing in the 21st century.
All photographs © Stefan Tuchila, May 2016; follow Stefan on Instagram. Additional reporting by Paul Keskeys.