Open to the public from Saturday May 26th to Sunday November 25th 2018, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, titled FREESPACE, is curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. The preview took place on May 24th and 25th, the awards ceremony and inauguration on Saturday May 26th 2018.
«With the aim of promoting the “desire” of architecture», President Baratta explained that this edition curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara 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”.
And the International Architecture Exhibition will offer us examples, teachings, and topics of discussion. Therefore, we are thankful to Farrell and McNamara for having accepted our invitation and for the choice, which adds an important link to the chain of Exhibitions held over the years.»
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have used the Manifesto FREESPACE, issued in June 2017, as a reference point for putting this Exhibition together. «We have found it to be a robust tool» they stated. «It has acted as a measure and a guide to finding cohesion within the diversity of an Exhibition of this enormous scale.»
The Exhibition FREESPACE will develop from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale, and will include 71 participants.
The 71 participants will be joined by others gathered in two Special Sections: the first, numbering 16 participants, is titled Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects and will present works that originate in a reflection on well-known buildings of the past; the second, which counts 13 participants and is titled The Practice of Teaching, will collect projects developed as part of teaching experiences.
With regard to these sections, the Curators explained they have 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. Many of the invited practitioners are actively engaged in teaching. The world of making and building merges with the imaginative world that is highlighted within the Exhibition.»
«We are hugely appreciative of the enormous dedication and passion invested by the participants» the Curators stated. And finally, in relation to the meaning of the word FREESPACE, the Curators said they are «delighted with the global engagement of participants and participating counties in the process of its translation. When we were writing the Manifesto, we wanted primarily to include the word space. We also wanted a new use of everyday words, which could somehow cause us all to re-frame the additional component that we as a profession can contribute to humanity. We see architecture as the translation of need in its widest sense into meaningful space. In the effort to translate FREESPACE into the many wonderful languages of the world, we hope that it prises open the ‘gift’ which architectural invention has the potential to contribute with each project. Translation allows us all to map and rename intellectual as well as actual territory. It is our hope that the word FREESPACE allows us to burrow into the aspirations, ambitions and generosity of architecture.»