Biennale Architettura 2023: The Laboratory Of The Future

Once again it is my privilege to visit one of the most prestigious and important architectural events in the world, the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Titled “The Laboratory of the Future” the latest exhibition is reimagined to be both more inclusive and sustainable, promoting both as core values. A direction that I am certain we will see consistently in the future.

The curator, Lesley Lokko defines the exhibition as an agent of change, a global conversation that promotes ideas for the future. As Lokko explains, to create a better future we must first imagine it. 

As per usual I’d love to share some of my favourite pavilions and exhibitions.

Belgium – “In Vivo”

Curators Vinciane and Bento Despret seek to explore alternative building materials with a focus on organic matter like fungi, and raw earth. The pavilion features a large space clad with tiles made from mycelium and raw earth together with an experimental facility that produces an organic building skin out of mycelium.

Photos curtesy of Riccardo Bianchini/Inexhibit.

Germany – “Open for maintenance”

The pavilion has been transformed into a  recycling/upcycling workshop exploring the reusability of building materials, all of which were sourced from other pavilions.

Photos curtesy of Riccardo Bianchini/Inexhibit.

Brazil – “Earth”

The pavilion’s curators Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Tavares turn to the past in order to design a possible future.

Created in collaboration with its indigenous population the Pavilion of Brazil is an ode to the earth. Earth is used as a primary building material for the pavilions floor and benches. As a result the entire space is permeated by a distinctive and recognizable “earthy” smell. The pavilion was awarded the Golden Lion award.

Photos curtesy of Riccardo Bianchini/Inexhibit.

Turkey – “Ghost Stories. The Carrier Bag Theory of Architecture”

The exhibition is a call to action on the reuse of abandoned buildings. In Turkey, the construction industry is driven by economic growth, and a large number of new buildings are continuously made despite the presence of many disused ones.

The exhibition, curated by Sevince Bayrak and Oral Göktaş, is a direct invitation to listen to the stories of abandoned buildings, and rethink and reinterpret these disused structures, which may have the potential to revitalise entire urban areas.

Photos curtesy of Fatih Yilmaz/Archdaily.

Kwaeε – The Black Pyramid pavilion by Adjaye Associates

In the twi language (one of the most spoken Ghanaian dialects) Kwaeε means “forest”. 

The wood structure of the pavilion was designed to create patterns of lights and shadows that evoke the sensation of walking in a forest. A triangular prism externally, the pavilion internally is shaped as a rounded cavern, suited for people to meet and relax, as well as to accommodate special events.

Photos curtesy of Riccardo Bianchini/Inexhibit.

Of course one does not simply visit Venice without the many attractions it has to offer whether it’s dining or sightseeing and I’m happy to share some of the highlights from this latest trip.