The official catalog of the 11th Venice Biennale of Architecture. This year’s exhibition faces the fundamental changes taking place in contemporary architecture. Established in 1980, the architecture section of the Biennale enables the curators to widen their sphere of activity. Architects from all over the world are looking for ways of fusing the landscape together with new materials and new techniques, to satisfy the longing for better spaces. This fascinating concept is the starting point of what is arguably the most important architecture exhibition in the world.
Director: Aaron BETSKY
14th September – 23rd November 2008
Sites: Arsenale and Giardini
Director appointed by President Paolo Baratta
According to Director Aaron Betsky – who had already directed the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) in Rotterdam for six years – the 11th Exhibition, titled Out There: Architecture Beyond Building, “wants to move towards a building-free architecture, in order to face society’s crucial themes; it shows site-specific installations, visions and experiments that help us understand and value our modern world, feeling at ease in it, instead of presenting the graves of architecture, that is the buildings”. In Betsky’s opinion, “architecture is not about making things”. Buildings are just objects, and the action of constructing only generates built-objects; architecture has nothing to do with this. It has more to do with thinking and arguing about buildings. It is the way they are designed that matters. In more concrete terms, architecture is “what makes us feel at home in the world”. “The challenge if the eleventh exhibition -Betsky stated- is to collect and encourage experimentation, not by presenting existing buildings, but through seductive images”.
The Corderie presented Installations, a set up of big scale and site specific installations, which all questioned how we can feel at home in the world. The participants were: Diller Scofidio+Renfro, UNStudio, Massimiliano Fuksas, Nigel Coates, Work Architecture, Droog Design, Philippe Rahm, M-A-D, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Vicente Guallart, Zaha Hadid, An Te Liu, Greg Lynn, MVRDV, Penezic and Rogina, Asymptote, Atelier Bow Wow, Barkow Leibinger Architects. To frame this theme, a “heavenly garden” by Kathryn Gustafson was realized. The Artiglierie dell’Arsenale hosted Uneternal City. Trent’anni da “Roma interrotta”, twelve different project visions on Rome and its suburbs. The Artiglierie hosted the top 10 selected works, and the 40 special mentions for the online student contest EveryVille 2008. Comunità oltre il Luogo. Senso civico oltre l’Architettura. At the Padiglione Italia a retrospective on experimental architecture was set up, titled Experimental Architecture, made up of different monographic exhibitions of those studios that based their research on experimentation: Frank Gehry, Herzog & de Meuron, Morphosis, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Coop Himmelb(l)au.
Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement: Frank O. Gehry
Special Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to a historian of Architecture:
James S. Ackerman.
Golden Lion for Best National Participant: Poland (“Hotel Polonia. The afterlife of buildings”). A project by Nicolas Grospierre and Kobas Laksa.
Golden Lion for the Best Installation Project in the International Exhibition:
Greg Lynn Form (“Recycled Toys Forniture”)
Silver Lion for a Promising Young Architect in the International Exhibition:
Chilean Group Elemental