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17.07, Architecture

‘How Will We Live Together? ’ Theme of Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 unveiled

Author: Lynsey Free

The theme of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition was jointly announced on Tuesday by the president of La Biennale di Venezia and the appointed curator of the upcoming event, Lebanese architect Hashim Sarkis.

As architects look towards the future, they see human beings with starkly different views who still yearn to connect with one another. This, according to curator Hashim Sarkis, is what inspired the 2020 Biennale theme “How Will We Live Together?”

“We need a new spatial contract. In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together…” said Sarkis, founder of Hashim Sarkis Studios and dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Paolo Baratta and Hashim Sarkis. Image courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

The Biennale will call on architects to imagine spaces in which people can live together not only as human beings, but as “new households looking for more diverse and dignified spaces for inhabitation” and as “emerging communities that demand equity, inclusion, and spatial identities,” said Sarkis, noting that “together” also means facing planetary crises that require global action.

Sarkis, who announced the theme alongside La Biennale di Venezia president Paolo Baratta, also said that architects are encouraged to engage other professionals such as artists, builders, politicians, journalists, social scientists, and everyday citizens.

Acknowledging that 2020 is often referred to as a milestone year on the path to a better future, Sarkis said: “The year is upon us. We look to the collective architectural imagination to meet this momentous occasion with creativity and courage.”

The Biennale will run from May 23 to November 29, 2020. A pre-opening will take place on May 21-22. Participants of the Biennale will present their exhibitions in the pavilions at the Giardini and the Arsenale, and around the city of Venice.

“How Will We Live Together?” follows the 2018 Biennale theme of “Freespace,” which focused on the “question of space, the quality of space, open and free space.” The 2018 event was curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of the Dublin-based Grafton Architects.