On 16 July, the President of La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, together with the curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, Hashim Sarkis, met the press to launch the exhibition and to announce the theme.
Curator Hashim Sarkis titled the 17th International Architecture Exhibition How will we live together? and explained his decision as follows:
“We need a new spatial contract. In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together: Together as human beings who, despite our increasing individuality, yearn to connect with one another and with other species across digital and real space; together as new households looking for more diverse and dignified spaces for inhabitation; together as emerging communities that demand equity, inclusion and spatial identity; together across political borders to imagine new geographies of association; and together as a planet facing crises that require global action for us to continue living at all.
“The architects invited to participate in Biennale Architettura 2020 are encouraged to engage other professions and constituencies – artists, builders, and craftspeople, but also politicians, journalists, social scientists, and everyday citizens. In effect, Biennale Architettura 2020 asserts the overlooked role of the architect as both cordial convener and custodian of the spatial contract.
“In parallel, Biennale Architettura 2020 also maintains that it is in its material, spatial, and cultural specificity that architecture inspires the ways we live together. In that respect, we ask the participants to highlight those aspects of the main theme that are uniquely architectural.
“The curators of the national participations are called upon to address one or more of the sub-themes of the Exhibition. The need for more inclusive social housing and equipment or for more connective urban and territorial tissue remains as pressing in emerging economies as in advanced ones.
“The year 2020 has often been referred to as a milestone on the path to a better future. Many nations and cities have devised a ‘Vision 2020.’ The year is upon us. We look to the collective architectural imagination to meet this momentous occasion with creativity and courage.”
President Paolo Baratta, in his statement, referred to the Biennale Architettura 2018, which brought our attention on free space, an essential element of our living that has been omitted in so many recent developments, and continued that with Sarkis the exhibition will try to expand the horizon to all the issues raised by our living together.
“We expect from Hashim Sarkis’ research and from the individual participating countries a number of examples that besides informing us on the different realities and the current trends and conflicts, can let us imagine a world at work to face those issues, and in particular a world of architecture committed to thinking, imagining and realising new solutions.”
Read President Baratta’s full statement here.
The 17th International Architecture Exhibition will take place from May 23rd to November 29th, 2020 (pre-opening May 21st and 22nd) at the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as around other venues in Venice.
The Open Call for exhibition proposals for the Pavilion of Finland is open until 8 August.