BREAKING: Davidson and Ponce de Leon to Curate the U.S. Pavilion Exhibition in the 15th International Architecture Biennale in Venice

2014 US Pavilion at Venice Biennale. (Image via yellowtrace.com.au)

2014 US Pavilion at Venice Biennale. (Image via yellowtrace.com.au)

Call it the Floating City meets Motor City. The U.S. Department of State selected the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan to organize the exhibition of the United States Pavilion in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon take Detroit as their starting point. Out of the ashes of Motown and Ford comes an urban archetype that provokes the exhibition title: “The Architectural Imagination.”
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Eavesdrop> Stiffed! The Lisbon Architecture Triennale tells its curators they won’t be paid

"Marshmallow Laser Feast" was part of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. (Delfino Legnani)

“Marshmallow Laser Feast” was part of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. (Delfino Legnani)

The life of an independent architecture curator is always tenuous at best. They develop a concept for an exhibit then pitch it to multiple venues in academia and museums and spend three to four years realizing the project. The financial rewards for such projects are minimal, but usually cover the curator’s costs and allow them a modicum of profit.

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Here are the 60 designers exhibiting at the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial

Chicago, photographed by Iwan Baan for the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Chicago, photographed by Iwan Baan for the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial.

More than 60 design firms across four continents will contribute to a new festival of design that aims to become the largest international survey of contemporary architecture in North America, co-artistic directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda announced Tuesday.

Continue reading after the jump.

Daniel Libeskind, Bookie> Here’s what is on the starchitects reading list

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(Courtesy Studio Daniel Libeskind)

In a recent Q&A with the Boston Globe, Daniel Libeskind made it clear that when it comes to books, he doesn’t just look at the pictures. Titles on the architect’s current reading list reflect a predilection for essays and short stories—Borges, Melville, and Walter Benjamin, among others. He told the Globe that he keeps a set of Edgar Allan Poe stories on his bedside table.

Continue reading after the jump.

Inaugural Chicago architecture biennial has a name, and a show by Iwan Baan

Chicago, photographed by Iwan Baan.

Chicago, photographed by Iwan Baan.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s announcement that Chicago would launch an international festival of art and architecture—its own take on the famous Venice biennale—drew jeers and cheers from the design community both near and far from The Second City. AN called for the show aspiring to be North America’s largest architectural exhibition to go beyond tourism bromides.

Now the upstart expo has a name, as well as its first show. Read More

Rem Koolhaas’ Biennale: Or how the Tempest Swept Venice

Architecture, International, Review
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
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[Editor’s Note: The Venice Architecture Biennale is still on through November 23 and it’s still proving to be controversial. Professor Peter Lang shares his thoughts on Rem Koolhaas’ event here.]

A Tale about the Magician Koolhaas who plays Prospero, lives on an island in the Venetian Laguna, and brings a Tempest to the Venice Biennale.

Miranda:
O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.
—William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206[5]
(Aldous Huxley quoted this line from the Tempest for the title of his dystopian novel Brave New World published in 1931)

In choosing to take a different perspective on the 14th edition of the Architecture Biennale in Venice directed by Rem Koolhaas, I decided to skip the standard blow-by-blow critique, and instead confront what I believe is the greatest enigma behind this controversial event. Up till now, the majority of critics taking a look at this year’s exhibition find fault with Koolhaas’ method, not so much with his madness. But the key to the exhibition is not in its studied aloofness, but in its insubordination—Koolhaas is determined to shake up the Biennale institution by any means possible.

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Chicago announces inaugural architecture biennial to begin in 2015

Decay of the Dome exhibit at the 2010 Venice Biennale. (Lu Wenyu)

Decay of the Dome exhibit at the 2010 Venice Biennale. (Lu Wenyu)

Chicago, in a bid to boost its tourism industry and cultural cachet,  will host an international design exhibition next year modeled after the Venice Biennale, which every two years draws contributions from architects and artists from around the world. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the Chicago Architecture Biennial Tuesday.

Continue reading after the jump.

Superscript Gives a Voice to the Young Architecture Generation at the Venice Biennale

International
Friday, June 13, 2014
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(Courtesy Superscript)

(Courtesy Superscript)

The spectacular Venetian Arsenale at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale is devoted to the history of post-World War II architecture and urbanism. Italy, perhaps more than any country in the world, revels in its architecture and cityscape. It is still a place where architecture means more than simply building—it’s a knowledge for describing and thinking about the world. This, it turns out, is true even for its youngest designers who assembled in the arsenal on Sunday, June 8 for a discussion, “Towards a New Avant Garde.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Protest in Venice: Megaphones in hand, The Architect’s Lobby explores “Getting By”

International
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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While most of the attendees at the recently opened Venice Biennale were thinking about the basic Elements of Architecture a younger generation of architects were concerned about something even more basic: how to earn a living. In a series of Arsenale round table talks called Stay Radical created by New York–based Superscript, young Italian architects talked about the difficulties of earning even the most basic living wage in their country devastated by recession and a historic system of wage depression. Meanwhile the New York group, The Architect’s Lobby took matters into their own hand and with megaphones held a protest just outside entrance to the Venetian Giardini (above).

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Absorbing Modernity: Domesticity at the Venice Biennale

(Alan Brake / AN)

Jiminez Lai’s Biennale pavilion installation. (Alan Brake / AN)

At the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Rem Koolhaas set the theme “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014″ for the national pavilions, and many countries took it up through the lens of domesticity. The Taiwanese American architect Jimenez Lai examined the spaces and rituals of Taiwanese life with his exhibition Township of Domestic Parts. Lai created “superfurniture,” overscaled, Memphis-inflected installations that interpreted ideas such as museum-like living rooms—part shrine, part show place, reserved only for guests. The result is a fantasy hangout space, which conjures up memories of childhood.

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La Moglie di Lot in Venice Remembers Superstudio’s Radical Ideas

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The Florentine architecture group Superstudio enjoyed the penultimate moment on the world architecture stage at the 1972 MoMA exhibition, The New Domestic Landscape. However, by the end of that decade with worldwide radical politics on the wane and postmodernism on the rise, the Florentines found their radicale arguments and practice marginalized and they began to move away from architecture towards other sorts of design initiatives. But before the group left the international stage, they created one last potent architectural statement: La Moglie di Lot and displayed it at the 1978 Venice Biennale of Art.

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Walking through the “Elements of Architecture” exhibit at the 2014 Venice Biennale

International
Thursday, June 5, 2014
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Ceiling Entry Into Elements. (William Menking / AN)

Ceiling Entry Into Elements. (William Menking / AN)

The 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale is a bit like walking into a giant research project. If the exhibition The Elements of Architecture is not necessary thrilling to the spirit it is at least full of ideas on the basics of construction. It is possible to walk through a dozen times and come away with new information and concepts. Here is a quick look at several of the ideas in this intellectual project masquerading as an exhibition.

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