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Venice Biennale projects shortlist unveiled

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The AJ can this week reveal the shortlisted schemes for the 8th Venice Biennale of Architecture competition, writes Steven Palmer.

The victorious practice will bring its design to life using the whole of the British Pavilion during the Biennale (7 September to 24 November). These images are from the five shortlisted practices: Alison Brooks Architects; Adjaye/Associates; de Rijke Marsh Morgan; East; and Foreign Office Architects.

The theme of this year's Biennale is 'Next' - chosen by director of the exhibition, critic Deyan Sudjic. Participants will showcase 'key international projects that will be taking shape in the next five years'.

East's proposal relates to a project for the improvement of street spaces in Southwark.

The practice will create a 'London space' in Venice where 'visitors will be able to buy fruit and vegetables, see hidden spaces, buy souvenirs of the pieces, and smell the flowers'. The de Rijke Marsh Morgan scheme will encapsulate the 19th-century British pavilion in a bubble, creating an inflatable enclosure - turning the building itself into a 'useful exhibit'.

Foreign Office Architects' proposal considers theoretical issues that will define buildings over the next 10 years. It explores ideas around five issues: landscape; borderlessness; non-organic growth; building complexity; and truth and technology. It will use the practice's Yokohama Port Terminal in Japan to illustrate some of the points.

Thematic issues of architecture are also dealt with in the Adjaye/Associates proposal.

London and Accra, Ghana, are compared and contrasted through the pavilion's rooms. The two cities are dealt with through themes of density; zoning and planning;

landscape and manipulation; and light.

Alison Brooks Architects' entry deals with a 'potential architecture' that explores a 'free' area between architecture and furniture, shelter and surface, usefulness and pure speculation.

A British Council jury - Will Alsop, critic Rowan Moore and director of the Design Museum Alice Rawsthorn will select the winner. Visit www. ajplus. co. uk tomorrow to find out which practice is victorious.

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