2018 Venice Biennale Reveals Further Details About This Year’s Theme, “Freespace”


© Andrea Avezzu. Image Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

© Andrea Avezzu. Image Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

At a press conference earlier today, curators of the 2018 Venice Biennale Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects revealed more information about this year’s upcoming event, to be hosted from May 26th to November 25th. Building on the thematic concept the duo presented last June—“Freespace”—the event will feature a main exhibition in the Central Pavilion of the Giardini and the Arsenale featuring work by 71 participants, while two Special Sections will feature a total of 29 further participants. Elsewhere, 65 national pavilions will present contributions from around the world, including 7 first-time participants: Antigua & Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Mongolia, Pakistan and the Holy See.

Biennale President Paolo Baratta commented on the theme:

The desire to create FREESPACE can become the specific individual characteristic of each individual project. But space, free space, public space can also reveal the presence or absence of architecture, if we understand architecture to be ‘thinking applied to the space where we live, that we inhabit.’ And the International Architecture Exhibition will offer us examples, teachings, and topics of discussion. Therefore, we are thankful to Farrell and McNamara for having accepted our invitation and for the choice, which adds an important link to the chain of Exhibitions held over the years.

The Special Sections will be titled “Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects,” presenting works that were inspired by a reflection on famous historical buildings, and “The Practice of Teaching,” presenting projects developed as part of a variety of teaching experiences. The two sections will feature 16 and 13 participants, respectively.

Further, two special projects will be presented:

  • The Forte Marghera Special Project in Mestre, an installation by Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson will be built to host a series of events scheduled in Forte Marghera.
  • The Special Project at the Applied Arts Pavilion in the Sale d’Armi in the Arsenale, which will present a fragment of the Robin Hood Gardens social housing estate, which was acquired by the Victoria & Albert museum in late 2017. In a continuation of the Venice Biennale’s collaboration with the V&A museum, the fragment of the building will form part of an exhibition curated by Christopher Turner and Olivia Horsfall Turner.

Finally, related events will be held throughout the Biennale period, including “Meetings on Architecture,” in which participants will get the opportunity to discuss different interpretations of the “Freespace” manifesto.

Excerpt from the “Freespace” manifesto released in June 2017

FREESPACE describes a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture’s agenda, focusing on the quality of space itself.

FREESPACE focuses on architecture’s ability to provide free and additional spatial gifts to those who use it and on its ability to address the unspoken wishes of strangers.

FREESPACE celebrates architecture’s capacity to find additional and unexpected generosity in each project – even within the most private, defensive, exclusive or commercially restricted conditions.

FREESPACE provides the opportunity to emphasize nature’s free gifts of light – sunlight and moonlight, air, gravity, materials – natural and man-made resources.

FREESPACE encourages reviewing ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world, of inventing solutions where architecture provides for the well being and dignity of each citizen of this fragile planet.

FREESPACE can be a space for opportunity, a democratic space, un-programmed and free for uses not yet conceived. There is an exchange between people and buildings that happens, even if not intended or designed, so buildings themselves find ways of sharing and engaging with people over time, long after the architect has left the scene. Architecture has an active as well as a passive life.

FREESPACE encompasses freedom to imagine, the free space of time and memory, binding past, present and future together, building on inherited cultural layers, weaving the archaic with the contemporary.

To read the manifesto in full, see our previous article here.

Participants in the “Freespace” Exhibition

1. 6a architects (London, UK)
Tom Emerson; Stephanie Macdonald; John Ross; Owen Watson

2. Alison Brooks Architects (London, UK)
Alison Brooks

3. Álvaro Siza 2 – Arquitecto, SA (Porto, Portugal)
Álvaro Siza Vieira

4. Amateur Architecture Studio (Hangzhou, China)
Wang Shu; Lu Wenyu

5. andramatin (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Andra Matin

6. Angela Deuber Architect (Chur, Switzerland)
Angela Deuber

7. architecten de vylder vinck taillieu (Ghent, Belgium)
Jan de Vylder; Inge Vinck; Jo Taillieu

8. Arrea architecture (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Maruša Zorec

9. Assemble (London, UK)
Jane Issler Hall; Mathew Leung; Alice Edgerley; Adam Willis; Fran Edgerley; Amica Dall; Giles Smith; James Binning; Paloma Strelitz; Lewis Jones; Joseph Halligan; Louis Schulz; Maria Lisogorskaya; Karim Khelil; Anthony Engi Meacock

10. Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner (Haldenstein, Switzerland)
Peter Zumthor

11. Aurelio Galfetti (Lugano and Bellinzona, Switzerland)

12. Barclay & Crousse (Lima, Peru)
Sandra Barclay; Jean-Pierre Crousse

13. BC architects & studies (Brussels, Belgium)
Ken De Cooman; Nicolas Coeckelberghs; Wes Degreef; Laurens Bekemans

14. Benedetta Tagliabue – Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona, Spain; Shangai, China)
Benedetta Tagliabue; Elena Nedelcu; Joan Callís

15. BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (New York, USA; Copenhagen, Denmark; London, UK)
Bjarke Ingels; Sheela Maini Søgaard; Finn Nørkjær; Thomas Christoffersen; Kai-Uwe Bergmann; Andreas Klok Pedersen; David Zahle; Jakob Lange; Beat Schenk; Daniel Sundlin; Brian Yang; Jakob Sand

16. Burkhalter Sumi Architekten (Zürich, Switzerland)
Marianne Burkhalter; Christian Sumi with Marco Pogacnik (Venice, Italy)

17. Carla Juaçaba (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

18. Caruso St John Architects (London, UK)
Adam Caruso; Peter St John

19. Case Design (Mumbai, India)
Anne Geenen; Samuel Barclay

20. Cino Zucchi Architetti (Milan, Italy)
Cino Zucchi

21. Crimson Architectural Historians (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Ewout Dorman; Michelle Provoost; Cassandra Wilkins; Wouter Vanstiphout; Simone Rots; Annuska Pronkhorst

22. David Chipperfield Architects (London, UK; Berlin, Germany; Milan, Italy; Shanghai, China)
David Chipperfield; Alexander Schwarz; Martin Reichert; Christoph Felger; Eva Schad; Harald Müller

23. de Blacam and Meagher Architects (Dublin, Ireland; Ibiza, Spain)
Shane de Blacam; John Meagher 

24. Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, USA)
Elizabeth Diller; Charles Renfro; Ricardo Scofidio; Benjamin Gilmartin 

25. DnA_Design and Architecture (Beijing, China)
Xu Tiantian

26. Dorte Mandrup A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Dorte Mandrup; Frants Nielsen

27. Elemental (Santiago, Chile)
Alejandro Aravena; Gonzalo Arteaga; Juan Cerda; Diego Torres; Victor Oddo

28. Elizabeth Hatz Architects (Stockholm, Sweden)
Elizabeth Hatz

29. Estudio Carme Pinós (Barcelona, Spain)
Carme Pinós

30. Flores & Prats (Barcelona, Spain)
Eva Prats; Ricardo Flores

31. Francesca Torzo Architetto (Genova, Italy)
Francesca Torzo

32. Gion A. Caminada (Vrin-Cons, Switzerland)

33. GrupoSP (São Paulo, Brazil)
Alvaro Puntoni; Joao Sodre 

34. Gumuchdjian Architects (London, UK)
Philip Gumuchdjian

35. Hall McKnight (Belfast and London, UK)
Alastair Hall; Ian McKnight

36. Inês Lobo, Arquitectos (Lisbon, Portugal)
Inês Lobo; João Rosário

37. Jensen og Skodvin Arkitekter AS (Oslo, Norway)
Jan Olav Jensen; Børre Skodvin; Torunn Golberg; Torstein Koch

38. John Wardle Architects (Melbourne, Australia)
John Wardle, Stefan Mee, Meaghan Dwyer, Bill Krotiris, Jane Williams

39. Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA (Tokyo, Japan)
Kazuyo Sejima; Ryue Nishizawa

40. Kieran Long (Stockholm, Sweden) with Johan Örn; James Taylor-Foster (Stockholm, Sweden)

41. Lacaton & Vassal Architects (Paris, France)
Anne Lacaton; Jean Philippe Vassal

42. Laura Peretti Architects (Rome, Italy)
Laura Peretti

43. Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo (Vittoria – Ragusa, Italy)

44. Marie-José Van Hee architecten (Ghent, Belgium)
Marie-José Van Hee

45. Marina Tabassum Architects (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Marina Tabassum

46. Matharoo Associates (Ahmedabad, India)
Gurjit Singh Matharoo

47. Michael Maltzan Architecture (Los Angeles, USA)
Michael Maltzan

48. Niall McLaughlin Architects (London, UK)
Niall McLaughlin

49. O’Donnell + Tuomey (Dublin, Ireland)
John Tuomey; Sheila O’Donnell

50. Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos (Madrid, Spain)
Angela Garcia de Paredes; Ignacio G. Pedrosa

51. Paulo Mendes da Rocha (São Paulo, Brazil)

52. Peter Rich Architects (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Peter Rich

53. Rafael Moneo, Arquitecto (Madrid, Spain)
Rafael Moneo

54. Rintala Eggertsson Architects (Oslo and Bodø, Norway)
Dagur Eggertsson; Vibeke Jensen; Sami Rintala

55. RMA Architects (Mumbai, India; Boston, USA)
Rahul Mehrotra; Nondita Correa Mehrotra; Robert Stephens; Payal Patel

56. Robert McCarter, Professor of Architecture (St. Louis, Missouri, USA)
Robert McCarter

57. Room11 Architects (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia)
Thomas Bailey; Nathan Crump; Megan Baynes

58. Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura (Mexico City, Mexico)
Rozana Montiel

59. Salter Collingridge Design (London and Ludlow, UK)
Peter Salter; Fenella Collingridge

60. Sauerbruch Hutton (Berlin, Germany)
Matthias Sauerbruch; Louisa Hutton; Juan Lucas Young

61. Skälsö Arkitekter (Visby and Stockholm, Sweden)
Joel Phersson; Erik Gardell; Lisa Ekström; Mats Håkansson; Axel Wolgers

62. Souto Moura – Arquitectos, S.A. (Porto, Portugal)
Eduardo Souto de Moura

63. Studio Anna Heringer (Laufen, Germany)
Anna Heringer

64. Studio Gang (Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, USA)
Jeanne Gang

65. Studio Odile DECQ (Paris, France)
Odile Decq

66. Talli Architecture and Design (Helsinki, Finland)
Pia Ilonen; Minna Lukander; Martti Lukander

67. Tezuka Architects (Tokyo, Japan)
Takaharu Tezuka; Yui Tezuka

68. Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects (Tokyo, Japan)
Toyo Ito

69. Vector Architects (Beijing, China)
Gong Dong

70. VTN Architects (Hochiminh City, Vietnam)
Vo Trong Nghia

71. Weiss/Manfredi (New York, USA)
Marion Weiss; Micheal Manfredi

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