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Spain’s ‘Unfinished’ exhibition received The Golden Lion for Best National Participation

An Alternate Perspective

The 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice shares the knowledge of those who have overcome architectural challenges.

One of the most anticipated events in architecture, the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia rolled out in Venice, Italy from May 28 through November 27, 2016. The exhibition is curated by Architecture Biennale Director Alejandro Aravena with Paolo Baratta as the President.

The primary theme of this exhibition is ‘Reporting From The Front’ which aims to look at architecture from a different perspective.

The installation by Bijoy Jain’s Studio Mumbai Architects
The installation by Bijoy Jain’s Studio Mumbai Architects

This theme selected by Aravena, a Chilean architect and 2016 Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate, seeks to widen the range of issues to which architecture is expected to respond to – currently focused on the cultural and artistic aspects – and move on to the social, political, economic, and environmental end of the spectrum.

It also seeks to highlight the fact that architecture responds to several dimensions, integrating a variety of fields instead of choosing one.

In the words of Alejandro Aravena, “Reporting from the Front will be about sharing with a broader audience the work of people who are scrutinizing the horizon looking for new fields of action. These are the frontlines from which we would like different practitioners to report, sharing success stories and exemplary cases where architecture made, is making, and will continue to make a difference.”

Alejandro Aravena with Paolo Baratta
Alejandro Aravena with Paolo Baratta

The issues addressed at the exhibition are inequalities, sustainability, insecurity, segregation, traffic, pollution, waste, migration, natural disasters, informality, peripheries and housing shortage. This edition’s poster which is a photograph – “Maria Reiche, The Nazca Lines Archaeologist,” – captured by late travel journalist and photographer Bruce Chatwin, depicts Reiche standing on a ladder overlooking the Nazca lines in Peru. This image serves as the base for the architectural community to look beyond their current scenario to find solutions for current issues.

The exhibition includes 62 national participations in the historic pavilions at Giardini, Arsenale and in the city’s historic centre.

The 88 members from 37 nations participating in the exhibition ‘Reporting from the Front’ showcase their pavilions in a unitary exhibition sequence from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale.

Amongst the celebrated architects, the Indian names to make the cut were Anupama Kundoo Architects, Auroville; Matharoo Associates, Ahmedabad; Anuj Saini, who has been invited to display a replica of the famous Rock Garden in Chandigarh created by his late father Nek Chand; and Bijoy Jain’s Studio Mumbai Architects.

The awards ceremony took place on May 28, where The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement was awarded to the Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, while Spain’s ‘Unfinished’ exhibition received The Golden Lion for Best National Participation.

Anupama Kundoo Architects was one of the Indian architects who participated in the exhibition ‘Reporting from the Front’
Anupama Kundoo Architects was one of the Indian architects who participated in the exhibition ‘Reporting from the Front’

The ‘Unfinished’ exhibition by Spain, presented instances of architecture constructed in the past few years, born out of abandonment and economy, designed to adapt to future necessities. The Singapore Pavilion, titled Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone emphasises how the built environment is intertwined with people by outlining the limits that need to expand to improve the quality of life.

At the venue will be important programmes and discussions held related to the themes in the exhibition. The Meetings on Architecture will have leading architects and participants presenting their views on the projects displayed by them once every month during the exhibition. The biennale will also play host to Collateral Events, a set of 19 presentations displayed by international bodies on various themes of architecture.

The 15th International Architecture Exhibition gives a fresh outlook to the challenges faced by architecture today, enabling architects and designers to create a more liveable world.

By Rehana Hussain





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