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Aravena: 'Venice Biennale will tackle architecture on the margins'

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Next year’s Venice Biennale will celebrate architectural projects which overcome a lack of resources to improve lives, according to curator Alejandro Aravena.

A statement released by Aravena said that the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in 2016 would be organised around the theme Reporting from the Front.

Aravena said also wants to demonstrate how building could be used to help increase equality within societies around the world.

He said: ‘Reporting from the Front will be about bringing to a broader audience what is it like to improve the quality of life while working on the margins, under tough circumstances, facing pressing challenges. Or what does it take to be on the cutting edge trying to conquer new fields.

‘We would like to learn from architectures that despite the scarcity of means intensify what is available instead of complaining about what is missing.’

Architects, he said, are currently struggling to gain acceptance of innovative design in the face of inertia from decision-makers.

He said: ‘We will present cases and practices where creativity was used to take the risk to go even for a tiny victory because when the problem is big, just a one-millimeter improvement is relevant; what may be required is to adjust our notion of success, because achievements on the frontlines are relative, not absolute,’ he said.

In addition, the exhibition will attempt to give an insight into what design tools can help prioritise collective benefit over individual gain.

‘We are interested in how architecture can introduce a broader notion of gain: design as added value instead of an extra cost or architecture as a shortcut towards equality,’ he said.

The Biennale is also looking to present cases where ‘organized communities and empowered citizens, sometimes without any formal training in design, have been able to improve their own built environment’.

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