Approaching the Architecture Biennale 2021

A look at the protagonists and national participants of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition curated by Hashim Sarkis. “How will we live together?” has been postponed to August.


The Architecture Biennale in Venice reaches its 17th edition in 2021 and will be open from 22 May to 21 November. As usual, its events take place at Giardini della Biennale and Arsenale, as well as in other satellite venues in the city.

The event is led by the Lebanese architect Hashim Sarkis –  head of Hashim Sarkis Studios (HSS) and dean of the School of Architecture and Planning of MIT –  who has chosen the title “How we will live together?” The title underlies a political vision of architecture, seen as a collective good: the participating architects are asked to create a new “spatial contract” to live together, involving everyone, from artists to politicians to ordinary citizens.

This is the first edition of the event under the presidency of Roberto Cicutto, distributor and film producer, who replaced Paolo Baratta at the end of January 2020. 

National participants: a selection

Italy: “Comunità Resilienti”
Architect Alessandro Melis, founding partner of Heliopolis 21 Architetti Associati, will curate the Italian Pavilion with the project “Resilient Communities”, with an approach that is sensitive to climate change issues..

United Arab Emirates: “Wetland”
The pavilion of Arab Emirates –  host country of Expo 2020 Dubai at the start of October –  will be curated by architects Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto.The exhibition is based on the research of renewable building materials from the salt and mineral compounds of Sabkha, in response to the serious environmental impact of construction companies.

Germany: “2038”
The story of the past in a utopian narrative of the future will be that of “2038”, the project of the German Pavilion recently presented in Berlin: a story of forgotten economic and ecological crises that wants to propose new models, as explained by Christopher Roth, one of the curators together with Arno Brandlhuber, Olaf Grawert and Nikolaus Hirsch.

Great Britain: “The Garden of Privatised Delights”
Curators Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler represent Britain with a curatorial programme focused on the ownership and significance of public space.

Russia: “Open!”
Born from the need to restructure the national pavilion, the project will act as a catalyst for activities from different disciplines. The studio that won the call will move into the pavilion for the entire duration of the Biennale, staging a work in progress of design and also “a testing ground to experiment alternative ways of living together,” says curator Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. The pavilion will then reopen to the public for the Biennale Arte 2022.

Opening picture: The Porto di Lido-San Nicolò and the Lagoon of Venice. Author Didier Descouens. Source Wikipedia

17th International Architecture Exhibition – Biennale Architettura 2020
Roberto Cicutto
Hashim Sarkis
Giardini della Biennale, Arsenale – Venice
Opening dates:
22 May – 21 November 2021

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