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Competition: British Pavilion for the 2018 Venice Biennale

British Pavilion, Venice Biennale
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The British Council has launched an open call to design the British Pavilion at next year’s Venice Biennale

The competition seeks ‘bold and imaginative’ proposals for a flagship installation exploring contemporary British architecture and its relationship with the rest of the world.

Overseen by Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara of Dublin-based Grafton Architects, the 16th International Architecture Exhibition will run from 26 May to 25 November and focus on ‘Freespace’ and ‘generosity, thoughtfulness and a desire to engage’.

Sarah Mann, commissioner for the pavilion, said: ‘We are seeking proposals for the British Pavilion that can respond to Grafton’s theme Freespace. Next year’s Biennale theme looks at the fundamental role of architecture, celebrating its capacity for generosity and humanity, exploring its relationship to public and private.

‘We want the British Pavilion exhibition to provide an experience of the uplifting power of architecture. We are asking for proposals that challenge conventional exhibition formats, encourage participation and offer a new experience of contemporary British architecture, drawing on its ability to demonstrate meaningful dialogues between people and place.’

In 2016, the British Council selected writers Shumi Bose and Jack Self and architect Finn Williams to curate the pavilion. Their winning proposal, Home Economics, was a response to the over-arching theme Reporting From The Front, devised by festival curator Alejandro Aravena.

Participating teams should include an architect or designer along with researchers, curators, artists, critics, a team from institutions and organisations, and other collaborators.

According to the brief, proposals will be expected to consider:

  • how British architecture demonstrates ‘generosity and thoughtfulness’ towards its users, citizens and the public;
  • how the exhibition might explore the ‘power and beauty’ of architecture and its ability to be uplifting;
  • the fundamental capacity of architecture to ‘nurture and support meaningful contact’ between people and place; and
  • how the team might explore architecture as an expression of culture, through site, materials and landscape.

Submissions must include a short, illustrated concept statement. Four shortlisted teams will then be invited to draw up a more detailed exhibition concept by 12 September and attend interviews.

The deadline for applications for the latest pavilion is midnight on 7 August.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Industry Professional

    it's a shame that Biennale appears to be used as an opportunity only positive and uplifting ideas. Like an Expo or trade fair. It doesn't seem to be calling for exploration, criticality, experimentation or abstract ideas like the art biennele presents.

    The only people interested in Architecture biennale will be other architects if it is treated as a PR activity for the industry rather than artistic inquiry.

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