The 13th International Architecture Show opens to the public on 29 August, running to 25 November. The theme selected by the director this year, British architect David Chipperfield, is COMMON GROUND. The concepts of collaboration, dialogue and interaction take centre stage at the Venetian festival. 55 countries are exhibiting at the Giardini dell’Arsenale and will put their spin on the theme, offering interesting perspectives for a general reflection on the spaces that are created between the buildings and the cities that take shape and form around constructions. This year has been particularly satisfactory given the richness of the ideas, emotions and irony. The Biennial show looks toward the eastern and southern regions of the world and has decided to award “social” architecture rather than “cookie cutter” skyscrapers by big name architects.
The top prize for best global participation has gone to Japan, which has focused on the “compatible” reconstruction of homes destroyed by the devastating tsunami last year. This has resulted in the exhibition, HOME FOR ALL, in which the great architect, Toyo Ito, participated with a team of young, unknown architects that listened to and embraced the community of survivors, deciding together on a new living space. The project is especially moving because of its ability to transmit a sense of humanity and its emotional gravity.
> The Committee also decided to award four honourable mentions to Poland, the United States and Russia as well as Italian architect Cino Zucchi. Zucchi won for his interesting Cable installation that studies the presence of repeat forms both in architecture and other types of human constructions, comparing them to one another.
From the Central Pavilion at the Giardini to the Cables at the Arsenale, David Chipperfield has presented a unique journey with this Show, which includes 69 projects created by architects, photographers, artists and critics, who juxtapose their experiences and various projects.
Alfredo Brillembourg, Hulbert Klumpner and Justin McGuirk won the top prize for their experience with the David Tower, a reinvented building occupied by a hundred people in Caracas, Venezuela, almost as if it were a “vertical favela,” full of new life and various opportunities for interaction.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to the Portuguese Avaro Siza Vieira for the constant commitment and attention that his projects have always shown to respecting the places and history of the places where they were built.
A positive note for the Italian Pavilion as well, curated this year by Luca Zevi, that primarily reinterprets the entire history and cultural of Italian industry.
The key to this edition of the Architecture Show is having juxtaposed, instead of “perfect” projects, architectural ideas, which are often very different from one another. The “Common Ground” on which everything is based is the ability to listen to the needs and requirements of people. In fact, this Show, as President Paolo Baratta reminds us, is focused on an international audience rather than just industry professionals. For those who want to visit the Biennial, don’t miss the many other events that are taking place in the city and that make Venice an exciting place to visit. We would like to emphasize the “Voice of the Images “ in particular, the title of the Show that opened on 13 January 2013 in Palazzo Grassi with the installation video works of 27 artists selected from the Pinault Foundation. An original journey through moving images with the works of authors from various backgrounds, playing with language and aesthetics at the same time. The videos presented are suitable for the building space: some are long, others are short, many are completed by installations but all of them have a common theme: being able to discover reality through poetic images.
Each month, the videos in the two rooms will change. In October, “Liu Lan” by Yang Fudong will be projected and will be followed by “Faezeh” by Shirin Neshat in November along with many others.
We also want to point out the Olivetti store in Piazza San Marco, a gem belonging to Carlo Scarpa, which reopened a year ago under the auspices of FAI. It has inaugurated the show “Programming Art. Olivetti and the Cinematic Neo Avant-gardes,” which looks the Programmed Art show that took place in the Olivetti stores in Milan and Venice fifty years ago in 1962, curated at the time by Bruno Munari and accompanied by the words of Umberto Eco. The show will then travel to Milan to the Museo del Novecento.