The British Council has released exhibition plans for the British Pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale
Last October, 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. Home Economics will address the ‘front line of British architecture: the family home.’
The three curators have invited a broad range of participants, working with diverse industry partners, to propose ‘architectural responses – rather than solutions – to the conditions imposed on domestic life by varying periods of occupancy’. The pavilion will contain five rooms, each attributed its own period of occupancy – Hours, Days, Months, Years and Decades – and seeking to explore ‘the changing rhythms and patterns of life’.
British architecture is not responding to the challenges of modern living. Life is changing; we must design for it
Eschewing the display of plans or scale drawings and other traditional architectural disciplines, each room will be realised as a full-scale model ‘allowing visitors to inhabit an idea’. The curators said: ‘Britain is in the grips of a housing crisis. This is not only a failure of supply to meet demand, it is a failure of traditional housing models to accommodate new patterns of domestic life. The way we live is changing radically through time … We believe that British architecture is not responding to the challenges of modern living – life is changing; we must design for it.’
2016 Curatorial Team for British Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale (left to right) Shumi Bose, Jack Self, Finn Williams
Source: James O Jenkins courtesy British Council
Bose, Self and Williams will be responsible for Hours, while London art collective Åyr will present Days, practices Dogma and Black Square will tackle Months, sole practitioner Julia King explores Years, and London/Oslo firm Hesselbrand take on Decades.
Their approach will shift the role architects can play in relation to the housing crisis
Advisers and collaborators range from hoteliers to financial institutions, housebuilders and planners, including Arup, Atelier One, Fergus Henderson, Fjord, Generation Rent, JW Anderson, Naked House Collective Builders, The Collective and PegasusLife.
The three curators believe the range of industry consultants informing each of the proposals means that ‘whilst bold and visionary, they are also grounded in reality’.
Vicky Richardson, outgoing director of architecture design and fashion at the British Council, said: ‘Home Economics is an inspiring attempt to step outside of the confines of the housing debate, and to question the brief … They may not yet have all the solutions, but I’m convinced that their approach will shift the role architects can play in relation to the housing crisis.’
The exhibition design will be executed by the architectural practice Hesselbrand, while London-based design studio OK-RM is responsible for the exhibition navigation and graphic identity. The Biennale runs from 28 May to 27 November.