The global design circuit comes to a head this fall with over a dozen events

Peak Biennial?

The global design circuit comes to a head this fall with over a dozen events

The Al-Qasimiyah School and the Old Al Jubail Vegetable Markett will be the main venues for this year’s event. The long property is a prime example of 1970s and ’80s architecture in Sharjah and other nearby cities. (Courtesy Sharjah Architecture Triennial, 2019)

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It seems like somehow all the world’s design triennials and biennials have lined up to happen in the fall of 2019. September is especially packed with events for the global design cognoscenti, but the deluge will continue through the new year. Here is a breakdown of over 20 design-related celebrations from Chicago to Seoul to Uruguay.

Photo of a large open plaza
Columbus city hall, the site of a forthcoming Bryony Roberts installation come the fall. (Hadley Fruits)

Exhibit Columbus

August 24 to December 1
Columbus, IN

Inspired by the 1986 Good Design in the Community: Columbus, Indiana National Building Museum exhibition, this year’s edition of Exhibit Columbus will rethink what good design means today. Eighteen projects will activate downtown Columbus, including installations from the 2018–19 Miller Prize recipients, SO – IL, MASS Design Group, and Frida Escobedo Studio, among others.

Rendering of abstracted pink people below a lit-up cluster of canopies, a winner of the Detroit City of Design Competition
Garden Novela, pictured here, will debut during Detroit Design Month. (Other Works/Courtesy Design Core Detroit)

Detroit Month of Design

September 2019

The Detroit Design Festival is extending from a week to an entire month with programming from Design Core, the steward of Detroit’s 2018 UNESCO City of Design program. Emerging local studios, educational institutions, and major companies will showcase projects and events throughout the city as well as installations from the festival’s three main competitions.

Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

September 7 to November 10, 2019
Seoul, South Korea

Sponsored by the Seoul city government, this year’s biennial, themed “Collective City,” invites a global discussion on how architecture practices can help change the political paradigms of development and influence policy ideas. Along with directors Francisco Sanin and Lim Jaeyong, curator Beth Hughes will organize the main exhibition, which will showcase new models of collaboration, governing, and research.

Estonia: Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB)

September 11 to November 30, 2019
Tallinn, Estonia

Focusing on the theme “Beauty Matters” TAB will look at new interests in aesthetics and how the concept of beauty is developing in architectural discourse and across cultures. Curated by Dr. Yael Resiner, the fifth edition of the biennial will feature nine exhibitors including Sou Fujimoto, Elena

Manferdini, and Space Popular.

Istanbul Biennial

September 14 to November 10, 2019
Istanbul, Turkey

Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the 15th edition of this citywide biennial will feature work from over 60 artists relating to the concept of the Anthropocene. Curated by French art scholar Nicolas Bourriaud, the exhibition will be held across three venues: the 600-year-old Istanbul Shipyard, the Pera Museum, and Buyukada Island. Participants will showcase pieces that detail the impact of human waste on other species and the environment.

Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB)

September 19, 2019, to January 5, 2020

Now in its third cycle, CAB will be curated by Yesomi Umolu, Sepake Angiama, and Paulo Tavares under the theme “…and other such stories.” Through engaging the narratives of different cultures and their historical memories, the biennial will look at the importance of space, architecture, and nature in connection to the practices of building, designing, planning, policymaking, teaching, and activism.

Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT)

September 26 to November 24, 2019
Oslo, Norway

The seventh edition of the Nordic region’s biggest architecture festival will call attention to how architecture might respond to the current climate emergency and to social division in cities around the world. Titled “Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth,” this year’s OAT is curated by Maria Smith, Matthew Dalziel, Phineas Harper, and Cecilie Sachs Olsen, and will center on four concepts, or “institutions of growth”: the library, the theater, the playground, and the academy.

Chile: Feria Libre de Arquitectura

October 3 to 27, 2019
Santiago, Chile

Having started in 1977, the Free Architecture Fair in Chile is one of the oldest biennials in the world, and this year, it will largely be held in Santiago. With a focus on “the common and the ordinary,” participants will try to answer questions regarding the role of architectural production for people who don’t live on the extreme edges of society.

Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa

October 3 to December 2, 2019
Lisbon, Portugal

The fifth edition of the Lisbon Triennial will focus on the theme “The Poetics of Reason” and will be broken up into five exhibitions curated by various experts. Claiming that architecture “rests on reason,” the showcase will break down the ways in which architecture is shareable and can be understood by anyone.

Lagos Biennial

October 26 to November 30, 2019
Lagos Island

Organized by the Àkéte Art Foundation, the second Lagos Biennial will ask: “How to Build a Lagoon with Just a Bottle of Wine?” Curated by Antawan I. Byrd and Tosin Oshinowo, the event will challenge artists, designers, and the public to think about how the city of Lagos, with its 21 million residents, can continue to expand its built environment while responding to climate change, socioeconomic inequality, and international exchanges.

The interior of a long open gabled hall
Inside of the Old Al Jubail Vegetable Market in Sharjah. (Courtesy Sharjah Architecture Triennial, 2019)

Sharjah Architecture Triennial

November 9, 2019, to February 8, 2020
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Adrian Lahoud, dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, London, will curate the inaugural run of this triennial around the theme of the “Rights of Future Generations.” With major exhibitions held at the Al-Qasimiyah School and the Old Al Jubail Vegetable Market, participants will rethink the role of architecture and how it addresses climate change across the Global South.

Rendering of a long glassy hall
A rendering of the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale’s main venue. (Courtesy Eyes of the City Team)

Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (UABB)

December 2019 to March 2020
Shenzhen, China

The eighth edition of the UABB is co-hosted by Shenzhen and Hong Kong and is the only biennial dedicated to urban issues. This year’s theme, “Urban Interactions,” will be broken down into two sections, “Eyes of the City” and “Ascending City,” and will be chiefly curated by Carlo Ratti, Meng Jianmin, and Fabio Cavalluci. The main exhibition will be held at the Futian Railway Station and will explore how technological advances can shape urban spaces.

Other Notable Events:

Experimental Architecture Biennale

June 14 to September 1, 2019
Prague, Czech Republic

Vienna Biennale for Change

June to October 2019
Vienna, Austria

Ottawa Architecture Week

September 30 to October 6, 2019
Ottawa, Canada

London Design Festival

September 14 to 22, 2019

Brazil: XII Bienal Internacional
de Arquitecta de São Paulo

September 19 to December 19, 2019
São Paulo, Brazil

Spain: Bienal de Arquitectura Latinoamericana

September 24 to 27, 2019
Pamplona, Spain

International Biennale of Architecture Kraków

October 8 and 9, 2019
Kraków, Poland

Biennale d’ Architecture d’ Orléans #2 – Years of Solitude

October 11, 2019, to January 19, 2020
Orléans, France

Argentina: XVII Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura de Buenos Aires

October 15 to 26, 2019
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dutch Design Week         

October 19 to 27, 2019
Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Paraguay: XI Bienal Iberoamericana de Arquitectura y Urbanismo

October 2019
Asunción, Paraguay