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By Eugenia Bertelè

Open to the public from Saturday May 26th to Sunday November 25th 2018, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, Freespace, the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Titled FREESPACE, will be curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Directors of the Irish firm Grafton Architects, winners of numerous international awards and recognized for a relevant academic activity. La Biennale di Venezia President, Paolo Baratta, explained that this edition focuses on the question of space, the quality of space, open and free space. The fundamental parameter of reference is indicated with great clarity. «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.»
Arsenale, photo Andrea Avezzù, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Arsenale, photo Andrea Avezzù, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

This year the exhibition includes 71 participants between Giardini and Arsenale with 63 countries represented; they will be joined by others gathered in two special sections: Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects (16 participants) where will be presented well- known buildings of the past to install a new reflection; and The practice of teaching (12 participants) that collects projects developed as part of teaching experiences. Curators explained they discovered «invention and creativity at the micro and macro scales historic buildings liberated by the intelligence of the architects; forgotten buildings re-visited and brought to life; transformative typologies of habitation; infrastructural needs translated into public and civic facilities.» Furthermore, «a key component in attending to the continuity of tradition in architecture is the practice of teaching».
Álvaro Siza, Evasão, 2018, photo Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Álvaro Siza, Evasão, 2018, photo Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Curators have used the Manifesto FREESPACE, issued in June 2017, as a reference point for putting the exhibition together. This text contains a vision of architecture as the translation of a need in a significant space. They believe that everybody has the right to benefit from architecture emphasizing its role in the choreography of life. They see earth as a client. This brings with it long-lasting responsibilities. Architecture is the play of light, sun, shade, moon, air, wind, gravity in ways that reveal the mysteries of the world. All of these resources are free.
Allison Brooks Architects, ReCasting, 2018, photo Andrea Avezzù, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Allison Brooks Architects, ReCasting, 2018, photo Andrea Avezzù, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

The exhibition promise is to have a spatial, physical presence of a scale and quality to communicate architecture’s complex spatial nature.
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Some of the most well known architecture firms of the world are represented at the Architecture La Biennale exhibition, as Álvaro Siza (Portugal); Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner (Haldenstein, Switzerland); Benedetta Tagliabue – Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona, Spain; Shangai, China); David Chipperfield Architects London, UK; Berlin, Germany; Milan, Italy; Shanghai, China); Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, USA); Elemental (Santiago, Chile); Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA (Tokyo, Japan); Paulo Mendes da Rocha (São Paulo, Brazil); Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects (Tokyo, Japan). The Awards Ceremony will take place on Saturday May 26th, 2018 during the opening of the 16th Exhibition. The international jury will announce the winners of the internationals awards: -Golden Lion for best National Participation -Golden Lion for best participant in the International Exhibition FREESPACE -Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the International Exhibition FREESPACE The Jury may also award a maximum of one special mention to National Participations; a maximum of two special mentions to the participants in the International exhibition FREESPACE
Kenneth Frampton, Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - Freespace: the 16th International Architecture Exhibition

Kenneth Frampton, Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

During the time of the event La Biennale will also host the 12th International Festival of Contemporary Dance (June 22nd- July 1st 2018); the 46th International Theatre Festival (July 20th- August 5th 2018); the 75th Venice International Film Festival (August 29th- September 9th, 2018) and the 62nd International Festival of Contemporary Music (Sevptember 28th- October 7th, 2018). For more information: www.labiennale.org