fbpx Biennale Architettura 2014 2014 | Introduction by Rem Koolhaas
La Biennale di Venezia

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Introduction by


Curator of the Biennale Architettura 2014

Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 

After several architecture Biennales dedicated to the celebration of the contemporary, Fundamentals looks at histories, tries to reconstruct how architecture finds itself in its current situation, and speculates on its future. Fundamentals consists of three interlocking exhibitions, each one differing from previous biennale models in key ways…

With Absorbing Modernity: 1914–2014, 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…


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

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…


Rem Koolhaas would like to thank the following donors to the 14th International Architecture Exhibition:

Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds
Swarovski Foundation
Akzo Nobel
V-A-C Foundation Moscow
Blavatnik Family Foundation
Alan Faena
Zumtobel Lighting Gmbh
LIXIL – Permasteelisa
Oscar Properties
Drees & Sommer
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Sobinco nv
Getty Images

Biennale Architettura 2014
Biennale Architettura 2014