The 14th International Architecture Exhibition, titled Fundamentals, directed by Rem Koolhaas and organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, is open to the public from June 7 through November 23, 2014, in the Giardini and the Arsenale. The preview took place on June 5 and 6 and the award ceremony and inauguration on June 7.
65 National Participations will be exhibiting in the historic pavilions in the Giardini, the Arsenale, and the city of Venice. Among these, 10 countries will be participating in the Exhibition for the first time: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, New Zealand, and Turkey.
This year the Italian Pavilion isbased in the Arsenale and organized by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities with PaBAAC (general direction for landscape, fine arts, architecture and contemporary art), and it is curated by Cino Zucchi. The title of the exhibition is Innesti/grafting.
22 official Collateral Events, approved by the Director of the International Exhibition and promoted by international institutions,hold their exhibitions and initiatives in various locations in the city.
“A Choral Research on Architecture!”, thus Paolo Baratta presents this year's edition:
“With Rem Koolhaas we have created an exceptional, research-centered Architecture Biennale. Rem has planned an event that involves all of Biennale’s sectors, along with a bevy of researchers.
“Absorbing Modernity 1914–2014 has been proposed for the contribution of all the pavilions, and they too are involved in a substantial part of the overall research project, whose title is Fundamentals.
“The history of the past one hundred years prelude to the Elements of Architecture section hosted in the Central Pavilion, where the curator offers the contemporary world those elements that should represent the reference points for the discipline: for the architects but also for its dialogue with clients and society.
Monditalia section in the Corderie with 41 research projects, reminds us of the complexity of this reality without complacency or prejudice, which is paradigmatic of what happens elsewhere in the world; complexities that must be deliberately experienced as sources of regeneration. Dance, Music, Theatre and Cinema with the programmes of our directors (Virgilio Sieni, Ivan Fedele, Àlex Rigola and Alberto Barbera) will participate in the life of the section, with debates and seminars along the six-month duration of the exhibition.”
Baratta concludes: “While information gains new tools and updating becomes simpler, it is those dangers of conformity and indifference that preoccupy us; indifference and conformity lead to passiveness and even extinguish the desire for art and architecture. A Biennale exhibition has the duty to oppose this; it has to know how to trip up this move towards conformity and revitalize those desires. Rediscovering “points” of reference to better express those desires is one of the ambitions of the present research, which is of course addressed to the professionals but looks to the general public above all.”
Rem Koolhaas describes Fundamentals an exhibition that consists of three main components:
"Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014" / National Pavilions
For the first time, the national pavilions are invited to respond to a single theme…
65 countries – in the Giardini, at the Arsenale and elsewhere in the city – examine key moments from a century of modernization. Together, the presentations start to reveal how diverse material cultures and political environments transformed a generic modernity into a specific one. Participating countries show, each in their own way, a radical splintering of modernities in a century where the homogenizing process of globalization appeared to be the master narrative…
Monditalia / Arsenale
Also for the first time, Venice’s other biennales and festivals – Dance, Music, Theatre, Film – collaborate with architecture…
In a moment of crucial political change, we decided to look at Italy as a “fundamental” country, completely unique but also emblematic of a global situation where many countries are balancing between chaos and a realization of their full potential. The Arsenale presents a scan of Italy, established by 82 films, 41 architectural projects, and a merger of architecture with la biennale’s dance, music, theatre, and film sections. Each project in Monditalia concerns unique and specific conditions but together form a comprehensive portrait of the host country
Elements of Architecture / Central Pavilions
This exhibition is the result of a two-year research studio with the Harvard Graduate School of Design and collaborations with a host of experts from industry and academia…
Elements of Architecture looks under a microscope at the fundamentals of our buildings, used by any architect, anywhere, anytime: the floor, the wall, the ceiling, the roof, the door, the window, the façade, the balcony, the corridor, the fireplace, the toilet, the stair, the escalator, the elevator, the ramp. The exhibition is a selection of the most revealing, surprising, and unknown moments from a new book, Elements of Architecture, that reconstructs the global history of each element. It brings together ancient, past, current, and future versions of the elements in rooms that are each dedicated to a single element. To create diverse experiences, we have recreated a number of very different environments – archive, museum, factory, laboratory, mock-up, simulation…”
• “Biennale Sessions” program for universities
The “Biennale Sessions” project istaking place for the fifth consecutive year. After the extraordinary success of the previous editions, la Biennale offers for the 14th edition the “Biennale Sessions” program directed at universities, fine arts academies, and research and educational institutions in the fields of architecture, visual arts and other associations. The goal of the “Biennale Sessions” is to encourage visits to the exhibition by groups of at least 50 students and teachers who will be assisted in the organization of their journey and stay. They will be able to organize seminars in a space made available to them free of charge by la Biennale. As of today, 80 international universities have already signed up for the “Biennale Sessions”.
• “Meetings on Architecture”
This year “Meetings on Architecture”, organized by la Biennale, will be enriched during the six months of Exhibition by a wide calendar of events, which will animate the Arsenale with seven stages.
The “Weekend Specials” programme is conceived as part of the section Monditalia and is developed in several forms: documentary, workshop, conference, debate and performance.
National Participations will match their Pavilions’ presences with a series of live talks, debates and movie projections, all parts of the “Freeports” programme, which will function as counterpart of the Weekend Specials in the Arsenale’s Corderie during the weekdays.
Contributions to this year calendar are also given by directors of Dance, Music, Theatre and Cinema sectors of la Biennale. They will develop part their Festivals and College programmes during the Exhibition, in order to represent essential elements of how architecture can intersect real life and complex spaces. In October the 3rd International Conference “Archives and Exhibitions” will be held.
Educational activities are addressed to individuals and groups of students from schools of all grades, universities and architecture schools, professionals, companies, experts, fans and families. The activities, conducted by selected staff trained by la Biennale di Venezia, are aimed at actively involving participants in both guided itineraries and workshop activities.
This year the selection of publications includes the official Catalogue, a smaller version of the catalogue and 15 booklets dedicated to the Elements of Architecture.
The official catalogue (576 pages) illustrates the four sections of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition: Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014 (National Participations), Elements of Architecture and Monditalia (with the Weekend Specials, the Freeport and the activities of the Dance, Music, Theater and Cinema sectors), the Collateral Events. The small catalogue is a handy and essential tool for visiting the Exhibition: it features the same contents as the official catalogue but in a pocket-sized version. The catalogues are available in both the Italian and the English versions. The 15 booklets, published only in English, are dedicated to the Elements of Architecture (floor, wall, ceiling, door, roof, window, façade, balcony, corridor, fireplace, toilet, stair, escalator, elevator, ramp), and are the result of a study conducted in collaboration with a research team from the Harvard Graduate School of Design under the direction of Rem Koolhaas.
The graphic design of the three publications and the graphic identity of Fundamentals are designed by Irma Boom. Marsilio Editori is the publisher of all the editorial products.
The inauguration and awards ceremony of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition will be held on Saturday, June 7,in the Giardini at 11, with the conferral of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievements to Phyllis Lambert, and official awards assigned by the international Jury.
The preview days and major events held through the 14th Exhibition will be reported with a wide coverage composed by live-streaming, reports and video-interviews that will be available at www.labiennale.org.
The 14th International Architecture Exhibition is carried out also thanks to Rolex, Partner of the event, Japan Tobacco International, Foscarini, Warner Music Group, Vela-Hello Venezia and Venice Excellence DEsign. Thanks also to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Adecco, Aernova, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and Knoll.
Our thanks to the Ministry of Culture, which at a challenging time for public finances is maintaining its decisive support, the local institutions that support la Biennale, the City of Venice and the Regione del Veneto. We extend our thanks to the authorities that are concerned with the buildings in which the Exhibition is held, and the Venice Soprintendenze.
Thanks to Rem Koolhaas's team and the Biennale's staff for making the Exhibition possible.
Thanks to the Directors of the Biennale Danza, Musica, Teatro and Cinema: Virgilio Sieni, Ivan Fedele, Àlex Rigola and Alberto Barbera.
We would also like to thank our many donors, who have been essential in the realization of the 14th Exhibition.