27.07.2022 Valentina Grossmann

Laboratory of the Future

© Festus Jackson-Davis, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

The 18th international Architecture Exhibition opening its doors in Venice as of mid-May 2023 will present itself as a laboratory of the future and place its focus on Africa. As the curator Lesley Lokko explains: “There is one place on this planet where all these questions of equity, race, hope and fear converge and coalesce. Africa. At an anthropological level, we are all African. And what happens in Africa happens to us all.”

© Festus Jackson-Davis, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Africa, the world’s youngest continent, is urbanising fastest, as evidenced by a growth rate of almost 4 percent each year. This rapid and largely unplanned growth impacts the local environment and ecosystems in general, meaning that Africa is one of the main contributors to climate change on both a regional and planetary level. The globe’s pressing problems are already more tangible on the continent than elsewhere.

Beyond that, the Ghanaian-Scottish architect sees the Biennale di Venezia itself as a kind of laboratory of the future, with the architectural exhibition providing time and space for speculations about architecture’s relevance to the current and future world. For the past 30 years Lesley Lokko has intensely concerned herself with the relationship between race, culture and space, in the process critically questioning cultural and ethnic differences and gender-specific aspects. Now she is looking forward to the upcoming architecture show in the lagoon city: “Architects have a unique opportunity to show the world what we do best: put forward ambitious and creative ideas that help us imagine a more equitable and optimistic future in common.”

© Jacopo Salvi, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

The German pavilion team

It has been known since 11 July that the German pavilion for the 2023 event will be designed by the team made up of the Berlin journal Arch+ and the joint venture Summacumfemmer Büro Juliane Greb, a nine-member committee chaired by Peter Cachola Schmal, Director of the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt on Main having decided in favour of their entry “Open for Maintenance – Wegen Umbau geöffnet” in the open design competition.
Using concrete examples, their concept will demonstrate the opportunities and potential of future tasks concerned with advancing sustainable, social and inclusive architecture and urban design. Topics such as repair, maintenance and care as well as new alliances and forms of solidarity in architectural practice will be the central to their contribution.

© Arch+ Summacumfemmer Juliane Greb

National pavilions

Further participants have also been decided on. The Swiss contribution, titled “Neighbourhood“, examines spatial proximity and relationships, with the artist Karin Sander and art historian Philip Ursprung investigating the relationship – both in political and architectural terms – between the Swiss pavilion designed by architect Bruno Giacometti and the Venezuelan pavilion created in its immediate vicinity by Carlo Scarpa. The curatorial team for the United Kingdom, made up Jayden Ali, Sumitra Upham, Meneesha Kaur Kellay and Joseph Henry, will explore non-exploitive diasporic material cultures and craft techniques, while Hungary will be represented by Mária Kondor-Szilágyi and Denmark by Josephine Michau.

Exhibition: Biennale Architettura 2023 – The Laboratory of the Future
Exhibition venue: Venice (IT)

Exhibition dates: 20. Mai bis 26. November 2023
Pre-opening: 18. und 19. Mai 2023

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