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Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 will proceed as scheduled, announces exhibitors

It's a Go

Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 will proceed as scheduled, announces exhibitors

The Venetian Arsenal complex will be open for business as usual at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale. (Andrea Avezzù/Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia)

Despite mounting fears that it would be postponed or outright canceled as health officials work to contain the spread of coronavirus in northern Italy, it’s been announced that the 17th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale is very much still a go and will kick off on May 23 and run through November 29. The exhibition vernissage–or pre-opening—will be held on May 21 and 22 as originally scheduled.

The announcement was made by Paolo Baratta, the outgoing president of La Biennale di Venezia, via an online presentation held in Venice. The formal presentation of the Biennale was originally scheduled to be made during a press conference held at the Italian Cultural Institute in London on March 3 but was abruptly canceled earlier this week.

In addition to confirming that the 2020 Biennale will proceed as normal, Baratta, as anticipated, further elaborated on the exhibition’s theme, How will we live together? The theme was first unveiled by curator Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in July 2019.

“There has been a constant theme over the years, the social advantages which architecture can catalyze,” said Baratta. “As we have often said, Architecture makes us more aware individuals, it helps us become citizens, not just consumers, it stimulates us to consider the indirect effects of our actions, it helps us understand more fully the importance of public goods and of free goods. It helps us develop a more all-around vision of welfare.“

Baratta went on to elaborate on the curatorial approach of Sarkis:

“In its broad-ranging gaze, the exhibition curated by Hashim Sarkis captures the structural problems of contemporary society. He observes—and we with him—that, in every corner of the world, phenomena of intense change are underway, they all differ but what they share is a need for important ‘adjustments’ in living conditions. Thus, the gaze of the curator and the Exhibition ranges even further afield. Architecture becomes the reference point of a vast interdisciplinary commitment and of a vast cultural and political commitment.

“We live in a time characterized by a potential feeling of no longer being assured of an increasingly widespread progress but, instead, of being victims of the changes it entails. This is a time in which many could take advantage of the ensuing fears, worries, and changes to promote ultra-defensive campaigns. We find it useful if a Biennale can remind everyone that the identity of a society or a community lies in the quality of the projects it formulates for its future, to correct distortions and valorize resources. And, as can be seen by the many phenomena that are impacting the world just now, these projects can only arise from extensive awareness and widespread collaboration.”

In total, 114 participants from 46 countries will present at the 2020 Biennale—this is a notable increase from the 71 participants in the 2018 edition of the Biennale. La Biennale di Venezia noted that there will be increased participation from architects hailing from Latin American, Asian, and African countries. Thirty-six American and multinational teams with American members are among the exhibitors, and a complete list of participants can be found below.

a historic building in venice
The Central Pavilion at the Giardini, Venice. (Francesco Galli_Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia)

As for the Biennale’s crowd-drawing national pavilions, there will be 63 in total including first-time participants Grenada, Iraq, and Uzbekistan. The U.S. Pavillion is being co-curated by Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Weekends on Architecture, a supplementary series of lectures and panels, will run throughout the course of the festival. And as during past Venice Architecture Biennales, there will be a special emphasis on education-based initiatives and programming for all ages.

“The Biennale Architettura 2020 is motivated by new kinds of problems that the world is putting in front of architecture, but it is also inspired by the emerging activism of young architects and the radical revisions being proposed by the profession of architecture to take on these challenges,” said Sarkis. “But more than ever, architects are called upon to propose alternatives. As citizens, we mobilize our synthetic skills to bring people together to resolve complex problems. As artists, we defy the inaction that comes from uncertainty to ask ‘What if?’ And as builders, we draw from our bottomless well of optimism. The confluence of roles in these nebulous times can only make our agency stronger and, we hope, our architecture more beautiful.”

Information on the Biennale’s exhibitors, programming, locations, ticketing, and more can be found here.

Below are all 114 architects and architecture firms that will be presenting, organized by the Biennale’s five different thematic stations and their locations.

Among Diverse Beings—Arsenale

  • Allan Wexler Studio (New York, USA) Allan Wexler
  • Ani Liu (New York, USA)
  • Azra Aksamija (Cambridge, USA)
  • FABER FUTURES (London, UK) Natsai Audrey Chieza
  • Lucy McRae (Los Angeles, USA)
  • MAEID [Büro für Architektur und transmediale Kunst] (Vienna, Austria) Daniela Mitterberger, Tiziano Derme
  • Modem (Oakland, USA) Nicholas de Monchaux, Kathryn Moll
  • Parsons & Charlesworth (Chicago, USA) Tim Parsons, Jessica Charlesworth
  • Peju Alatise (Lagos, Nigeria)
  • Philip Beesley Architect and Living Architecture Systems Group (Toronto, Canada) Philip Beesley
  • Refik Anadol Studio (Los Angeles, USA) Refik Anadol
  • Studio Libertiny (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Tomas Libertiny
  • Studio Ossidiana (Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Milan, Italy) Giovanni Bellotti, Alessandra Covini
  • The Living (New York, USA) David Benjamin

As New Households—Arsenale

  • Achim Menges / ICD University of Stuttgart and Jan Knippers / ITKE University of Stuttgart (Stuttgart, Germany) Achim Menges, Jan Knippers
  • Aires Mateus (Lisbon, Portugal) Francisco Aires Mateus, Manuel Aires Mateus
  • AL_A (London, UK) Amanda Levete, Ho-Yin Ng, Alice Dietsch, Maximiliano Arrocet
  • Alison Brooks Architects (London, UK) Alison Brooks
  • Atelier RITA (Paris, France) Valentine Guichardaz-Versini
  • BAAG Buenos Aires Arquitectura Grupal (Buenos Aires, Argentina) Griselda Balian, Gastón Noriega, Gabriel Monteleone
  • ecoLogicStudio (London, UK) Claudia Pasquero, Marco Poletto
  • Farshid Moussavi Architecture (London, UK) Farshid Moussavi
  • Fernanda Canales (Mexico City, Mexico)
  • gad · line+ studio (Hangzhou, China) Fanhao Meng
  • Gramazio Kohler Architects / NCCR DFAB (Zürich, Switzerland) Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler
  • K63.STUDIO (Nairobi, Kenya, Vancouver, Canada) Osborne Macharia
  • leonmarcial arquitectos (Lima, Peru) Alexia Leon, Lucho Marcial
  • Leopold Banchini Architects (Geneva, Switzerland) Leopold Banchini
  • LIN Architects Urbanists (Berlin, Germany, Paris, France) Finn Geipel
  • Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture (Paris, France) Lina Ghotmeh
  • Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona, Spain) Benedetta Tagliabue, Elena Nedelcu, Joan Callís
  • nicolas laisné architectes (Montreuil, France) Nicolas Laisné
  • OPAFORM architects (Bergen, Norway) Marina Bauer, Espen Folgerø
  • Open Systems Lab (London, UK) Alastair Parvin)
  • ROJO / FERNÁNDEZ-SHAW, arquitectos (Madrid, Spain) Begoña Fernadez-Shaw, Luis Rojo
  • Sahel Alhiyari Architects (Amman, Jordan) Sahel Alhiyari
  • SsD (Seoul, Korea, New York, USA) Jinhee Park
  • THE OPEN WORKSHOP (San Francisco, USA, Toronto, Canada) Neeraj Bhatia, Antje Steinmuller

As Emerging Communities—Arsenale 

  • antonas office (Athens, Greece, Berlin, Germany) Aristide Antonas
  • Arquitectura Expandida (Bogotá, Colombia) Ana López Ortego, Harold Guyaux, Felipe González González, Viviana Parada Camargo
  • atelier masōmī (Niamey, Niger) Mariam Kamara
  • Bouroullec Brothers (Paris, France) Erwan Bouroullec, Ronan Bouroullec
  • Cohabitation Strategies (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Lucia Babina, Emiliano Gandolfi, Gabriela Rendon, Miguel Robles Duran
  • doxiadis+ (Athens, Greece) Thomas Doxiadis
  • EFFEKT (Copenhagen, Denmark) Sinus Lynge, Tue Foged
  • ELEMENTAL (Santiago de Chile, Chile) Alejandro Aravena, Victor Oddó, Gonzalo Arteaga, Diego Torres, Juan Cerda
  • Enlace Arquitectura (Caracas, Venezuela) Elisa Silva
  • Fieldoffice Architects (Yilan, Taiwan) Huang Sheng-Yuan
  • Han Tumertekin (Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Igneous Tectonics (Cambridge, USA) Cristina Parreño, Sergio Araya
  • Lacol (Barcelona, Spain) Ariadna Artigas, Mirko Gegundez, Lali Daví, Pol Massoni, Anna Clemente, Cristina Gamboa, Núria Vila, Jordi Miró, Ernest Garriga, Eliseu Arrufat, Laura Lluch, Lluc Hernandez, Arnau Andrés, Carles Baiges
  • Leong Leong (New York, USA) Dominic Leong, Christopher Leong
  • Manuel Herz Architects and Iwan Baan (Basel, Switzerland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) Manuel Herz, Iwan Baan
  • NADAAA (Boston, USA) Nader Tehrani, Arthur Chang
  • OMA (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) Reinier de Graaf
  • PRÁCTICA (Madrid, Spain) Jaime Daroca Guerrero, José Mayoral Moratilla, José Ramón Sierra Gómez de León
  • raumlaborberlin (Berlin, Germany) Andrea Hofmann, Axel Timm, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, Christof Mayer, Florian Stirnemann, Francesco Apuzzo, Frauke Gerstenberg, Jan Liesegang, Markus Bader
  • S.E.L (Cambridge, USA, Paris, France) Verena Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
  • Sean Lally (Lausanne, Switzerland, Chicago, USA)
  • Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (New York, USA) Colin Koop
  • Storia Na Lugar (Praia, Cabo Verde) Patti Anahory, Cesar Schofield Cardoso
  • studio L A (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) Lorien Beijaert, Arna Mačkić
  • Superflux (London, UK) Anab Jain, Jon Ardern
  • TUMO Center for Creative Technologies (Yerevan, Armenia) Marie Lou Papazian, Pegor Papazian
  • UNStudio (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos
  • WOJR (Cambridge, USA) William O’Brien Jr.

Across Borders; Giardini—Central Pavilion 

  • AAU ANASTAS (Bethlehem, Palestine) Elias Anastas, Yousef Anastas
  • ACASA GRINGO CARDIA DESIGN (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Gringo Cardia with AIKAX, Takumã Kuikuro (Amazonas, MG, Brazil) and People’s Palace Projects, Paul Heritage (London, UK)
  • ASSET Production Studio (Berlin, Germany) Anna-Sophie Springer with Ibu Kota Kolektif (Indonesia), Yayasan Peta Bencana (Indonesia), Nashin Mahtani (Indonesia) and Armin Linke (Italy, Germany)
  • Atelier Marko Brajovic (São Paulo, Brazil) Marko Brajovic, Bruno Bezerra
  • BASE studio (Santiago, Chile) Barbara Barreda, Felipe Sepulveda
  • Dan Majka & Gary Setzer (Madison and Tucson, USA) Dan Majka, Gary Setzer
  • Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (Beit Sahour, Palestine) Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hilal
  • Dogma (Brussels, Belgium) Martino Tattara, Pier Vittorio Aureli
  • Forensic Oceanography (London, UK) Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani
  • Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST) (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, New York, USA)Malkit Shoshan
  • GFA (Sydney, Australia) Guillermo Fernández-Abascal, Urtzi Grau
  • Giuditta Vendrame (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Heatherwick Studio (London, UK) Thomas Heatherwick
  • La Minga (Quito, Ecuador)Pablo Escudero
  • Lateral Office and Arctic Design Group (Toronto, Canada, Charlottesville, USA) Mason White, Lola Sheppard, Leena Cho, Matthew Jull
  • Matilde Cassani, Ignacio G. Galan, Ivan L. Munuera, Joel Sanders (Milan, Italy, New York, USA, Princeton, USA, New Haven, USA)
  • Michael Maltzan Architecture (Los Angeles, USA) Michael Maltzan
  • MDP Michel Desvigne Paysagiste (Paris, France) Michel Desvigne
  • Monsoon Assemblages and Office of Experiments (London, UK) Lindsay Bremner, Neal White
  • Olalekan Jeyifous (Brooklyn, USA) and Mpho Matsipa (Johannesburg, South Africa and New York, USA)
  • Paula Nascimento (Luanda, Angola)
  • Pinar Yoldas (San Diego, USA)
  • Rural Urban Framework (Hong Kong, China) Joshua Bolchover, John Lin
  • Smout Allen ( London, UK) Laura Allen, Mark Smout, Geoff Manaugh
  • Somatic Collaborative (New York, USA) Anthony Acciavatti, Felipe Correa, Devin Dobrowolski
  • Studio Paola Viganò (Milan, Italy) Paola Viganò
  • Studio Tomás Saraceno (Berlin, Germany) Tomás Saraceno
  • UNLESS (Hamburg, Germany) Giulia Foscari Widmann Rezzonico
  • Vogt Landscape Architects (Zürich, Switzerland)Günther Vogt

As One Planet; Giardini—Central Pavilion 

  • Bethany Rigby (London, UK)
  • Cave_bureau (Nairobi, Kenya) Karanja Kabage, Stella Mutegi
  • Christina Agapakis, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg & Sissel Tolaas (Boston, USA; London, UK; Berlin, Germany)
  • DESIGN EARTH (Cambridge and Ann Arbor, USA) Rania Ghosn, El Hadi Jazairy
  • Kei Kaihoh Architects (Tokyo, Japan) Kei Kaihoh
  • Mabe Bethônico (Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Geneva, Switzerland)
  • OOZE and Marjetica Potrč (Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Lubjiana, Slovenia) Eva Pfannes, Sylvain Hartenberg, Marjetica Potrč
  • Plan B Architecture & Urbanism (New Haven, USA) Joyce Hsiang, Bimal Mendis
  • Self-Assembly Lab (Cambridge, USA)Skylar Tibbits, Jared Laucks, Schendy Kernizan
  • spbr arquitetos (Sao Paolo, Brazil) Angelo Bucci
  • TVK (Paris, France) Pierre Alain Trévelo, Antoine Viger-Kohler
  • Urban Theory Lab (UTL) Harvard GSD / Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich (Cambridge, USA, Zürich, Switzerland) Neil Brenner, Christian Schmid
  • Weitzman School of Design (Philadelphia, USA) Richard Weller

How Will We Play Together?—Fort Marghera

  • AWILDC-AWP london (London, UK, New York, USA) Alessandra Cianchetta
  • HAJEK & SKULL + MOLOARCHITEKTI (Prague, Czech Republic) Matej Hajek, Tereza Kucerova
  • HHF Architects (Basel, Switzerland) Tilo Herlach, Simon Hartmann, Simon Frommenwiler
  • Ifat Finkelman & Deborah Pinto Fdeda (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • Sean Ahlquist – University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, USA) Sean Ahlquist
  • Wissam Chaaya (Beirut, Lebanon)