Venice Biennale 2018: Public Architecture

May 24, 2018 admin

‘FREESPACE’, designing free spaces in the world, is the theme of the 16th Biennale Architettura. Padiglione Italia focus on redevelopment of inland areas, urban suburbs and territories hit by the earthquake

The 16th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice Biennale will be held from 26 May to 25 November 2018 at the Lido (Giardini and Arsenale). In this edition, titled ‘FREESPACE‘ and curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (founders of Irish studio Grafton Architects) the focus is on the quality of free, public space.

The curators of the pavilions of the 63 attending Countries talked with the two curators in order to address their own exhibitions. “We have used the Manifesto FREESPACE, issued in June 2017, as a tool and as a reference point for putting this Exhibition together. We have found it to be a robust tool. It has acted as a measure and a guide to finding cohesion within the diversity of an Exhibition of this enormous scale – say Farrell and McNamara. More importantly, the response we have received from every invited participant has been enthusiastic. The FREESPACE Manifesto has been interrogated, dissected and interpreted by the intelligence and creativity of architects from all over the world… It has been a revelation to witness the variety of architectural responses to the vast differences in culture, climatic conditions, economies, construction techniques, received from architects throughout the world. At the same time it is important to note that at the core of the variety of individual architects’ work is the shared respect of the ‘Earth as client’, a key component of our FREESPACE Manifesto.”

Curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara and President Paolo Baratta [Photo A. Avezzù/courtesy La Biennale]

10 Meetings on Architecture will be open to the public, with the participation of architects involved in the Exhibition. Moreover, in recent years, the Biennale Architettura has become increasingly popular, engaging, and, as a consequence, increasingly successful in terms of visitors. Young architecture graduates will assist visitors during the Exhibition.

Padiglione Italia at the Arsenale, staff Mario Cucinella

The full name of the Italian Pavilion, curated in 2018 by Mario Cucinella, is ‘Arcipelago Italia. Projects for the future of the country’s interior territories’ and it is located at the Tese delle Vergini at the Arsenale. The title indicates the urban spaces of the Apennines, from the Alps to the Mediterranean. An itinerary with a hundred stages and as many small, high quality architectural projects which are the result of a call promoted by the curator. An itinerary of relationships between history, architecture and landscape, very rich in our country, including the current situation of brownfield sites, mobility and the earthquake aftermath. Do not expect to see a theoretic exhibition of projects and best practices, but rather an applied research to transform into concrete proposals also by local people and administrations.

Sketch of the itineraries of  Arcipelago Italia, Architect Mario Cucinella

2018 is the year of the 16th edition dedicated to
Architecture, while in 2019 the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take place. What is the reason for such a different number of editions? According to Paolo Baratta, its President, Architecture has been an independent section of the Biennale only since 1998. In 1976, Vittorio Gregotti started including it into the International Art Exhibition and in 1975 it took place in the Theatre section with Aldo Rossi’s remarkable Teatro del Mondo. Also Paolo Portoghesi contributed to its emancipation and in 1991 Francesco dal Co organized the first exhibition including international pavilions. At first, it lasted only a month, then 3 and in 2014 it has reached the current 6 months. These gradual choices show a willingness to give momentum to architecture and urban planning as factors of global development, with an informative as well as pedagogical-political function. Paolo Baratta concludes:Showing how something ‘can be done differently’ is in itself a gesture against dependence and conformism.” [Lucia Bocchi]