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David Chipperfield officially appointed as Venice Biennale director

David Chipperfield has finally been named as the 13th director of the Venice Biennale of Architecture

The RIBA Gold Medal-winning British architect will oversee the high profile international which is this year planned to focus on the ‘the relations that link together major architects and younger generations who refer to them.’

The appointment was finalised last week following a Venice Biennale board meeting which voted to give Chipperfield the job. Alberto Barbera was also appointed to director the festival’s cinema exhibition.

Chipperfield was rumoured to have won the role back in November, however at the time he insisted no formal appointment had been made due to doubts about the proposed Biennale chair.

In the previous month, the Italian government had controversially unveiled businessman Giulio Malgara as the surprise replacement for Paolo Baratta, the Biennale’s ‘much-respected’ original president who had been at the helm for the last four years. The appointment of Malgara, described as a ‘consort’ of then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was heavily criticsed. But with the departure of Berlusconi and his Minister of Culture Giancarlo Galan on 12 November, Malgara also dropped out of the running to take over the 2012 Biennale. Baratta was subsequently reappointed.

Explaining Chipperfield’s appointment, Baratta said: ‘[It] appeared useful to turn to an architect who demonstrates great interest in architecture as a discipline and raises questions about the elements of which it is composed, about the objectives it pursues, about the constraints that affect it, about the tools that it uses to shape places, spaces, buildings.

He added: ‘The next Architecture Exhibition will be characterized by the emphasis on a series of relationships that connect great architects and younger generations that refer to them. This Exhibition will represent a major opportunity to bring both the general public and the world of architecture up to date.’

Explaining his plans for the exhibition, Chipperfield said: ‘Participants will be encouraged through a declaration of affinities to make connections with other authors and other works.

‘These dialogues and collaborations may involve a common proposal or a dialogue between projects even as a dialogue of provocation. In this way we wish to demonstrate the existence of a rich culture of architectural practice and research, stimulated by the work of other disciplines but defined by shared enthusiasms and concerns at a time when the singular works of architects are celebrated but the role of the profession and our place within society is continuously challenged.’

Chipperfield represented Britain at the 2000 biennale and his Neues Museum in Berlin was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2010.

The event runs from 29 August to 25 November.

David Chipperfield

David Chipperfield

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