Photo courtesy of Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia For more Information Click here
Is Architecture Building? Apr 25, 2009
The 2008 Venice Biennale Architectural Exhibition set out to answer this question . Or at least figure out what it means, exactly.
The Venice Biennale, considered the “world’s fair” of contemporary art, has been held biannually since 1895 – now presenting more than 800 artists from 77 countries. In the past 11 years, the event has also come to encompass the discipline of architecture.
This year’s exhibition turned to “architecture beyond building” to address issues that affect societies on all continents. Instead of buildings, it showed installations made by architects who responded to the challenge set by Aaron Betsky, the Director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute. Betsky states: “Architecture is not building. Architecture must go beyond buildings because buildings are not enough. They are big and wasteful accumulations of natural resources that are difficult to adapt to the continually changing conditions of modern life.”
Yet he believes that architecture – on the other hand – is beautiful. It influences our most precious and luxurious of modern qualities: space and security. Experimentation in architecture can result in ephemeral construction, visions of new environments, or the framework of a better world.
To accomplish these lofty goals, this year’s exhibition created a Request for Proposals in which architects were asked to suggest how they might create an image, coherence, a character and a civic sense for a small town, entitled “Everyville”. Concepts had to be appropriate to its location and to its history, its site and its future. The proposals could be idiosyncratic, even utopian. The best entries evoked a real sense of this future community, and examined how new ways of thinking about communities could succeed where traditional civic planning had failed. Everyville is a product of the imagination, of memory, and of practical problem solving.
The official announcement of the Everyville online competition winners and the official awards ceremony of the 50 selected groups took place at the Teatro Piccolo in the Arsenale, Venice, on 11 September. Winning projects were creatively shown as part of ‘Out There. Architecture Beyond Building’. The 2008 Exhibition also featured theme-based,historical and multidisciplinary guided tours, and creative ateliers.