More than a Building: The 15th Venice Architecture Biennale

With curious anticipation, the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale opened to the public on 05.28.16 with 66 national participants and hundreds of individual installations. More properly titled the “15th Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia,” it is held in alternating years from the Art Biennale. However, unlike the Art Biennale, where an artist’s final output is up for scrutiny, the Architecture Biennale has become more about the underlying motivations behind our architecture. Continue reading “More than a Building: The 15th Venice Architecture Biennale”

FUNDAMENTALS: The 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia

“So you’re off to the circus,” Lars Lerup, professor of architecture at the Rice School of Architecture, admonished me the evening before I left for Venice. From the privileged tranquility of the American Academy in Rome, the Venice Biennale, by comparison, has always been a mosh pit of disparate agendas. This architectural spectacle, otherwise known as Venice’s International Architecture Exhibition, has often had little clarity as a curated exhibition. With vague titles and ambiguous agendas, past Biennale directors often filled the exhibitions with the work of their peers while allowing the contents of each National Pavilion to go un-reined.

But funnily enough Lerup and I suspected that this year’s circus just might be a circus unlike all previous circuses – thanks to this year’s ringmaster.

Indeed this year’s director has always been one to forge his own path. None other than the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas, Hon. FAIA, set the agenda almost two years ago by changing the dates, mandating a cohesive theme, and titling this Biennale, “Fundamentals.” In his words: “a Biennale about architecture, not architects.” By sheer power of will and reputation he made it so. Continue reading “FUNDAMENTALS: The 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia”