18th International Architecture Exhibition
Today, Sunday 26 November 2022, the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia closed with a total of 285,000 tickets sold, in addition to the 14,150 visitors who attended the preview.
This makes it the second most highly attended Biennale Architettura in its history, conceived by the Curator Lesley Lokko to be the first Architecture Exhibition to focus the spotlight on Africa and its diaspora, on the culture that the Curator defined as the “fluid and enmeshed culture of people of African descent that now straddles the globe”, on the themes of decolonisation and decarbonisation.
Young people and students accounted for 38% of total visitors.
Visitors organized in groups who came to see the Exhibition represented 23% of the overall public and approximately 76% were groups from schools and/or universities. This figure denotes an Exhibition compellingly centred on the circulation of ideas and the transmission of knowledge, which amplified the phenomenon of collective visits by students from schools and universities, with a record attendance that tripled the number of visiting groups compared with the previous edition.
There were 2,500 accredited journalists in the days of the preview alone, representing the Italian and international press, from news agencies, televisions, radio, newspapers, periodicals, online news sites, plus other journalists who registered as press during the opening of the Exhibition.
The 18th International Architecture Exhibition curated by Lesley Lokko, which closes today with excellent attendance figures, focused the world’s attention on the many criticalities arising from our most recent history. The themes of decolonisation and decarbonisation have extended into many aspects of civil society, even in countries that seemed to be “protected” or less exposed. Lesley took on the challenge of a College that brought 49 young people and 15 tutors to Venice from every continent, to participate in a shared reflection which is already influencing architectural education. I wish to thank Lesley and her team, the participants in the International Exhibition, all the Countries, the Ministry of Culture and all the institutions in Venice and beyond, all those who have contributed to building the exhibition, the staff and the management of La Biennale who once again have made the most important International Architecture Exhibition possible.
The test of this Exhibition – of any exhibition – isn’t only in the number of tickets sold, column inches, reviews, or social media commentary. It’s in the small, sometimes unnoticed threads that get picked up, amplified, stitched together and presented months, years, even decades down the line. I like to think – and only time will tell if it’s a reasonable assumption – that this exhibition was rich in threads, if not always in tapestries, and that its legacy is the impulse to continue making, stitching, sewing, saying, formulating new ideas about our profession, its place and importance in the world of thoughts and things, enriching discourses where it can, replacing where it should, repairing where it’s required and upholding and defending what’s valuable. It’s a legacy I’m unbelievably proud of. I come away from this experience acknowledging that, on the one hand, I had probably one of the smallest teams of any curator thus far, and yet, on the other, the largest. Everyone whose hands, hearts and minds touched any aspect of this exhibition is part of that team, and always will be.
The Exhibition in figures
53 Participants at the International Exhibition
11 Curator’s Special Projects - Food, Agriculture & Climate Change, Gender & Geography, Mnemonic (out of competition)
22 Curator’s Special Projects - Guests from the Future (out of competition)
3 Special Participations (out of competition)
1 Special Project: Pavilion of Applied Arts in collaboration with Victoria and Albert Museum, London with the exhibition Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Power in West Africa
12 Carnival – Expanded Programme
64 National Participations
- 27 National Participations in the historical Pavilions of Giardini
- 23 National Participations in the Arsenale, including Italy
- 14 National Participations around the city of Venice
- National Participation for the first time: Republic of Niger
- The Republic of Panama participates for the first time with its own Pavilion
9 Collateral Events
Leoni e premi
Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, upon recommendation by the Artistic Director, to Demas Nwoko, Nigerian born artist, designer and architect.
The International Jury composed by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (president, Italy); Nora Akawi (Palestine); Thelma Golden (USA); Tau Tavengwa (Zimbabwe); Izabela Wieczorek (Poland), has decided to present the following awards:
- Golden Lion for Best National Participation to Brasil
- 1 special mention to Great Britain
- Golden Lion for the Best Participant to DAAR (Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal)
- Silver Lion for a Promising Young Participant to Olalekan Jeyifous
- 3 special mentions to the participants Twenty Nine Studio / Sammy Baloji, Wolff Architects and Thandi Loewenson
Biennale College Architettura
For the first time ever, La Biennale has organized the Biennale College Architettura, which took place from June to July 2023. 15 renowned international tutors have worked with 49 students, early career practitioners and academics from around the world, selected by Lesley Lokko through an international Open Call (986 applications had been received) process over the four weeks of the teaching programme.
The Biennale Sessions project – dedicated to Universities, Fine Arts Academies, research and educational institutions in the fields of architecture, the visual arts and connected fields – for the thirteenth year in a row favoured the visit to the Exhibition of groups of students and teachers, for a total of 91 universities involved, of which 34 Italian and 57 foreign, from four continents.
With 13 universities involved, Germany ranks second in terms of participation, followed by the United Kingdom (6), Spain (6), Austria (4) and Switzerland (4). A total of 4,205 students were involved in the project.
Educational activites and guided tours
32,281 young people and students participated in the educational activities
4,874 teachers involved in educational activities carried out in the Exhibition venues
2,051 teachers involved during the dedicated preview
652 participating schools
63% of young participants in the educational activities were from the Veneto region.
An important contribution was given by the 30 Active Catalogues: the young graduates, standing in the Exhibition, according to an editorial project provided information to the visitors, who met the initiative with great favor.
Communication, Web and Social Media
Official website (labiennale.org)
May 20th > November 21st 2023
981,352 individual visitors
5,1 million page views
Mobile 661,922 users (67,3%)
Desktop 308,017 users (31,3%)
Tablet 13,067 users (1,3%)
Smart tv 63 (0,006%)
May 20th > November 21st 2023
473,169 total page followers
+ 5,591 since the opening of Biennale Architettura 2023
(Biennale Architettura 2021: 392,773 total followers on November 18th, 2021)
707,826 total page followers
+ 1,824 since the opening of Biennale Architettura 2023
(Biennale Architettura 2021: 702,908 total followers on November 18th, 2021)
758,644 total page followers
+ 32,274 since the opening of Biennale Architettura 2023
(Biennale Architettura 2021: 604,288 total followers on November 18th, 2021)
55,722 total subscribers to the channel
+ 2.600 subscribers since the beginning of the Biennale Architettura 2023
(Biennale Architettura 2021: 41,833 total followers on November 18th, 2021)
La Biennale di Venezia's commitment to climate change
La Biennale di Venezia has been engaged again in 2023 in a communication campaign to raise the awareness of the participating public, starting with the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, which will be the first major exhibition in this discipline to test in the field the process to achieve carbon neutrality, while furthermore reflecting upon the themes of decolonisation and decarbonisation.
La Biennale is working concretely towards the crucial goal of fighting climate change, by promoting a more sustainable model for the design, installation and operation of all its events. In 2022 La Biennale obtained this certification for all the events it held that year. This was made possible by carefully collecting the data on the causes of CO2 emissions generated by the events themselves, and on the adoption of consequent measures. For all the events, the most important component of the overall carbon footprint involves the mobility of the visitors. The entire process for achieving carbon neutrality, conducted in compliance with the international standard PAS2060, was certified by RINA.
We would like to thank the Ministero della Cultura, the regional Institutions that each in their own way support La Biennale di Venezia, the City of Venice, the Regione Veneto, the Soprintendenza Archeologia, belle arti e paesaggio per il Comune di Venezia e Laguna, and the Italian Navy.
Our thanks go to the Donors, the International Councils and Organizations, which are essential to the creation of the 18th Exhibition.
The Biennale Architettura 2023 has been made possible by the support of Rolex, Partner and Official Timepiece of the event.
We would like to thank the Sponsors of Biennale Architettura 2023:
Bloomberg Philanthropies with Bloomberg Connects, Vela-Venezia Unica and Zafferano.
We would also like to thank Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.
Rai is Media Partner of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition and followed the event with a dedicated offer on TV, radio and on the web.
We especially wish to thank Lesley Lokko and her entire team.
And finally we would like to thank the highly professional staff of La Biennale di Venezia, who work with such great dedication on the organisation and management of the Exhibition throughout its duration.