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June 23, 2016
by jknoops
2016 Biennale director Alejandro Aravena.Courtesy of La Biennale
15th Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di VeneziaCourtesy of La Biennale

With curious anticipation, the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale opened to the public on 05.28.16 with 66 national participants and hundreds of individual installations. More properly titled the “15th Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia,” it is held in alternating years from the Art Biennale. However, unlike the Art Biennale, where an artist’s final output is up for scrutiny, the Architecture Biennale has become more about the underlying motivations behind our architecture.

Chilean architect and 2016 Pritzker Prize Laureat Alejandro Aravena directed this year’s edition. His voice has taken on global significance. Serious, idealistic, and utterly focused, his is an architecture driven by ethics.

Aravena’s theme, “Reporting from the Front,” investigates the role of architects in the battle to improve living conditions worldwide. According to Aravena, “We believe that the advancement of architecture is not a goal in itself, but a way to improve people’s quality of life. Given that life ranges from very basic physical needs to the most intangible dimensions of the human condition, improving the quality of the built environment is an endeavor that has to tackle many fronts: from guaranteeing very concrete, down-to-earth living standards to interpreting and fulfilling human desires, from respecting the single individual to taking care of the common good, and from efficiently hosting daily activities to expanding the frontiers of civilization.”

“Reporting from the Front” begins in the Central Pavilion of the Biennale Giardini and extends to fill the Arsenale. National pavilions inhabit the Giardini, as well as numerous locations throughout Venice. Many are situated in particularly distinctive settings – Taiwan’s installation is in a portion of the Ducal prisons.

To introduce “Reporting from the Front”, Aravena lists these “Battle Words”:

Quality of life
Inequalities
Segregation
Insecurity
Peripheries
Migration
Informality
Sanitation
Waste
Natural Disasters
Sustainability
Traffic
Communities
Housing
Mediocrity
Banality

The many voices and riffs on the theme amount to an inspiring opportunity, an ideal field trip for anyone interested in the architecture of our times. More than a building, here architecture is a course of action.

For further admission details to this noteworthy event, please visit: http://www.labiennale.org/en/art/information/

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