Venice Biennale

How Will We Live Together? Hashim Sarkis unveils the theme of the Architecture Biennale 2020

The curator asks the participants of the next Biennale to involve artists, builders, craftsmen, but also politicians, journalists, sociologists and ordinary citizens to create truly inclusive spaces.

Sarkis Biennale 2020

If the previous Biennale was the place of free space – free, above all, was the interpretation of this word, often translated into the formal exaltation of the architect’s profession – 2020 proposes a turning point. For Paolo Baratta, president of the Biennale, it is important to ask how architecture can help humanity to live together, with tangible examples that involve every actor in our society. Architect Hashim Sarkis, researcher and dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT and curator of the 17. International Architecture Exhibition, was called in to give an answer.

The Biennale continues a cycle of fundamental appointments on the reaction of the architecture world – often accused of being dissociated and alienated – to the problems of our time: first IABR, the Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam, which in response to the environmental crisis started with an operative confrontation with all the players of the urban development: from real estate companies to politicians, up to district committees (IABR will continue with the same themes in 2020). This was followed by Broken Nature at the Triennale in Milan, a moment of outreach and study on the state of the art of creative responses to our relationship with nature (which is now broken).

There are five points with which Sarkis exposed his declaration of intent for the next Architecture Biennale, entitled “How we will live together?”. Having determined that ours is a time of strong political and economic polarization with inequalities and exclusions that must be overcome starting, at least, from physical places, architects are asked to propose a new “spatial contract” where to live “generously together"”. But who are the actors of this living together? Farkis addresses those human beings who, despite a growing individuality, wish to connect with each other and with other species in the “real and digital” space. To families in search of more diversified and dignified places to live and to emerging communities that “demand equity, inclusion and spatial identity”. The curator urges the participating architects to involve “artists, builders, craftsmen, but also politicians, journalists, sociologists and ordinary citizens”. The perimeter transcends political boundaries to imagine new associative geographies, where global action is needed to address global crises. In the end, we go out in the field.

17. International Architecture Exhibition
Hashim Sarkis
Opening dates:
23 May – 29 November 2020
Venezia Giardini and Arsenale

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