Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Meet the AJ's Venice Biennale bloggers

British pavilion, Venice Biennale
  • Comment

Meet the architects and industry figures who will be blogging from the opening week of the 2016 Venice Biennale exclusively for the AJ

Simon Allford

Simon Allford

Simon Allford, founder, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Simon Allford is co-founder of Stirling Prize-winning practice Allford Hall Monaghan Morris. Allford leads AHMM’s projects in the USA and Amsterdam. He is also chairman of the Architecture Foundation; a trustee of the Architecture Association Foundation; and a visiting professor at The Bartlett, UCL and GSD Harvard.

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
To escape and discover something surprising, enjoyable and intelligently provocative, (I hope I find it!)

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
A Negroni and old friends

Sam Jacob

Sam Jacob

Sam Jacob, founder, Sam Jacob Studio

Sam Jacob is principal of Sam Jacob Studio. He is professor of architecture at UIC, Chicago, visiting professor at Yale School of Architecture, and director of Night School at the Architectural Association. Previously he was a founding director of FAT Architecture.

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale? 
First, to present our own installation that’s part of the V&A’s ‘World of Fragile Parts’, curated by Brendan Cormier (Sale d’Armi A, Arsenale). Second, to help San Rocco launch their new five year plan (Friday, May 27, at 6:30 pm at the Spiazzi Venezia - clarion call ‘We won’). But mainly because its really the forum of international architectural culture. Of course a chance to drink a few spritz in a Venetian circumstance, makes it more than bearable … 

What are you most looking forward to seeing? 
Very much looking forward to seeing Home Economics at the British Pavilion. Will be fascinating to see how it follows on from A Clockwork Jerusalem, how it takes up the challenge to answer the question: The People Where Will They Go? 

Overall, interested to see what ‘Reporting From The Front’ has produced. Which fronts? Who is reporting? And what are they telling us? Is this really a shift of generations and the centre of gravity of global architectural culture? Wouldn’t be a bad thing if that were true …

Tracy Mellor

Tracy Mellor

Tracy Meller, partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Tracy Meller is a partner at the award-winning architecture practice, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. Currently she is project architect for the new Centre Buildings Redevelopment which includes an enhanced public space as well as an academic building at The London School of Economics (LSE) on the Holborn campus.

Emre Arolat

Emre Arolat

Emre Arolat, founder, Emre Arolat Architecture

Emre Arolat runs the Istanbul and London based practice EAA-Emre Arolat Architecture. The practice was founded alongside Gonca Paşolar in 2004.

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?

I am going to the Venice Biennale because my partner and my collegues at EAA – Emre Arolat Architecture are dragging me. Though be told I am not too fond of preview events and opening receptions, but this year our new exhibition the “arch strata antioch – experiments on a landscape of depth” will be presented as part of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, in the collateral event Time Space Existence in Palazzo Bembo, and this is a good enough reason for me to be in Venice at this time of the year. 

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
The theme Alejandro Aravena has put forth, ‘reporting from the front’, is interesting. I am looking forward to the potential of seeing some things that might emerge from the tension of this year’s theme and the manner in which architecture is performed today; and also the possibility of running into some things that might highlight this dilemma in terms of notions and products of 21st century architecture… So let’s see… 

Peter Murray

Peter Murray

Peter Murray, chairman, NLA

Peter Murray is a commentator on architecture and the built environment. He is currently chair of New London Architecture (NLA) and the London Society. 

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
Why wouldn’t you? Great city. Great weather (most of the time). Great discussions. Great parties. Great people. Great architecture. Great networking. 

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
Not so much seeing as debating – I think the role of the architect and his/her relationship with society and politics will be the talk of the salons, parties and pavilions. I particularly look forward to debating the politics of architecture with Patrik Schumacher at the Dark Side Club on Thursday night – especially as Zaha was always so rude about the Polyark bus which was featured in the last Biennale.

Kim Nielsen

Kim Nielsen

Kim Nielsen, founder, 3XN Architects

Kim H Nielsen is founder and senior principal of 3XN Architects. Since founding the firm in 1986, he has been involved in all of the practice’s major projects, including the Royal Arena, The Blue Planet, UN City and Ørestad College in Copenhagen, as well as Museum of Liverpool, Muziekgebouw Concert Hall in Amsterdam and International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne.

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
I have attended the architecture biennale for many years out of professional interest and more recently also in my role as chair of the architecture committee of the Danish Arts Foundation, which supports our nation’s pavilion.

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I am most looking forward to the exhibition The Art of the Many at the Danish Pavilion. The curators have assembled work by over 70 firms and created a wondrous exploration of the role of humanism in the Danish architectural tradition. I am also curious to see Alejandro Aravena’s international exhibition.

Dominika jpg

Dominika jpg

Dominika Janicka, curator, Polish Pavilion

Dominika Janicka is curator of the Polish Pavilion. She studied Architecture at the Gdańsk Institute of Technology and the Institut Supérieur d’Architecture La Cambre in Brussels. She has worked with architecture firms based in Poland, Belgium, Germany and China and is a member of the design collective AD12.

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
I`m curator of the exhibition at the Polish Pavilion.

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
The whole concept of Architecture Biennale as an event where people from all over the world can share their thoughts about architecture is exciting for me. You can learn about new directions, see architecture from various perspectives, go beyond its material aspect. This year I`am also really curious about the choice of Aravena as a lead curator - an architect with socially engage and non commercial approach. Personally I really admire his work.

Owen Hopkins

Owen Hopkins

Owen Hopkins, architecture programme curator, Royal Academy

Owen Hopkins is a writer, historian and curator of architecture. He is architecture programme curator at the Royal Academy of Arts where he mounts a regular series of events, lectures, discussions and exhibitions on architecture and related subjects. 

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
Because it’s one of the few occasions where the architecture world comes together and new agendas are thrashed out and debated. 

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
Niall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou’s Irish Pavilion on improving the spatial experiences of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Tim Abrahams

Tim Abrahams

Tim Abrahams, architecture critic

Tim Abrahams is founder of Machine Books and digital editor for Drawing Matter. He also writes about architecture. 

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
I’m going to the Venice Biennale because it’s where the big ideas of the age, good and bad come together.

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I am most looking forward to seeing what the curator Brendan Cormier has done in the new pavilion of the Applied Arts for the V&A, but I’m also looking forward to seeing how the director Alejandro Aravena’s ideas stand up.

Laura Iloniemi

Laura Iloniemi

Laura Iloniemi, PR

Laura Iloniemi has worked in architectural communications for nearly 20 years. She is author of Is It All About Image? and has spoken on the importance of bringing a cultural approach to PR in the UK, Finland and Italy. Iloniemi will be teaching a course on the presentation of studios to architecture students and practitioners at IUAV in Venice.

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
I am fan of the Nordic Pavilion and interested to see how David Basulto and James Taylor-Foster tackle the ways in which architecture frames Scandinavian society and particularly the distinct identities of these countries.

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
Seeing Palladio, Sansovino and even a bit of Scarpa next to new directions is fun. It reminds me of all that sparked my interest in architecture and the standards we should aim for in terms of beauty for the future.

Gabor Gallov

Gabor Gallov

Gabor Gallov, founder, Gabor Gallov Architects

Gabor Gallov set up his own studio in 2010 and has since worked largely in central London on private houses, restaurants and showrooms. Gallov is interested in the role of hand drawing in the design process. This interest has informed his teaching at Nottingham Trent and Kingston universities. Gallov studied architecture at the University of Toronto in Canada and qualified from the Bartlett UCL. He has worked at David Chipperfield Architects and Allies and Morrison.

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
I am looking forward to seeing all the shipped models from New Zealand. I think there are over a 100, representing islands. The synergy with Venice’s archipelago is compelling and a good way for a national pavilion to respond to a brief.

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
It’s a great opportunity to see how architects present their work from around the world and spot trends as well as differences. And of course thinking about all this removed from day-to-day practice is always a good thing.

Lee Ivett

Lee Ivett

Lee Ivett, founder, Baxendale

Lee Ivett is a practising architect, designer, artist and educator. Ivett is also a studio tutor and lecturer at the Mackintosh School of Architecture and the Glasgow School of Art. In addition to teaching within the studio environment he lectures on community participation, working across creative disciplines and the role of ethics in art and design.

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
To participate in a series of micro-lectures and panel discussion organised by the Architecture Foundation. This one hour event will include contributions from myself, Assemble, Orkidstudio and Sam Causer. Our focus will be discussing alternative modes of practice and the shifting cultural, social and economic conditions in which we are required to work. The event will also promote the recently published book, New Architects 3 which documents some of the best practives to have emerged in the UK over the past 10 years. Having shared an office with James Mitchell from Orkidstudio at Glasgow School of Art and lent Assemble a hand on their Baltic Street Adventure Playground project in Glasgow it will be a good chance to catch up with folk who I know, love and respect and hopefully make some new chums too.

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I’m generally excited by the event as a whole given this year’s theme ‘Reporting from the Front’. Over the last eight years I have delivered much of my work in exceptionally marginalised communities that are dealing with the after effects of de-industrialisation and the physical decay of post war social housing. Quite often the humanitarian impact of these changes is ignored when viewed from a developed world perspective so I look forward to seeing how other western European nations articulate their own idea of ‘Reporting From the Front’. When I first saw the list of contributors and exhibitions I was extremely dismissive of the Australian proposition focusing on the Pool. The more I have read about this particular piece of work the more my own misconceptions have eroded and I am now really excited by the possibilities afforded by their exhibition. I am also really excited by seeing some familiar faces that I have worked with over the last few years. I was a participant in BIO 50 [Ljubljana Design Biennial] and last years Hello Wood in Hungary; many of the folk involved in these projects will have a presence in Venice and I’m looking forward to catching up with them and their work.

Lorraine Landels

Lorraine Landels

Lorraine Landels, director of strategic relationships, BuroHappold Engineers

Lorraine Landels trained as a designer and has spent a lifetime in the industry and has done most of the jobs of the built environmental professional, from designing buildings to brand identities. 

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
I am keen to better understand the drivers behind the shift towards public awareness and the changing role of architecture. It is a great opportunity to network and have the time to spend reviewing exhibitions and engaging in conversations with old friends and to meet new people.

What are you most looking forward to seeing?
I am keen to see the response to the call for a re-emerging social conscience in architecture. 

Tamsyn Curley

Tamsyn Curley

Tamsyn Curley is the Founder of Place Careers

Tamsyn Curley is the Founder of Place Careers leading recruiters for the London and International design community.

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
I’m excited to be heading to the world’s biggest architectural exhibition in stunningly beautiful Venice. Alejandro Aravena’s Reporting from the Front already feels like it’s going to be an exciting Biennale, focusing heavily on global, social and environmental issues.

What are you most looking forward to doing?
I’ve a jam-packed diary and will be found soaking up architecture at talks and exhibitions throughout the week.

alison brooks

alison brooks

Alison Brooks, founder, Alison Brooks Architects

Alison Brooks founded Alison Brooks Architects in 1996. It is the only UK practice to have won the RIBA’s three most prestigious awards for architecture: the Stirling Prize, Manser Medal and Stephen Lawrence Prize. 

Why are you going to the Venice Biennale?
Alison Brooks Architects will be participating at the Time-Space -Existence exhibition at the Palazzo Mora, along with over 100 international architects. 

What are you doing in Venice:

Alison Brooks Architects will be participating at the Time-Space -Existence exhibition at the Palazzo Mora, along with over 100 international architects.

In their exhibition ‘City(e)State’, ABA documents the evolution of state-sponsored housing architecture as a reflection of the social, economic and political values of the day. The exhibition uncovers qualities found in Britain’s monumental urban housing estates, and how these have become synonymous with economic and social segregation. These are examined in relation to four specific urban paradigms found in a north London neighbourhood: 1890s suburb; 1960s modernist estate; contemporary masterplan; and intensified, ‘ideal’ future.

As catalysts for social diversity and inclusiveness, housing architecture can be reconceived as civic buildings of the everyday, says Alison Brooks, principal and creative director of ABA. ‘A strategy of proactive council involvement as commissioners and stewards of urban design offers an alternative model for development to purely market-led regeneration.’

The Venice installation will include ABA’s ongoing work with the London Borough of Brent on the regeneration of South Kilburn Estate, one of north London’s largest modernist housing estates. Here, the Council is leading a 15 year masterplan to reintegrate the community, its architecture and public spaces into the fabric of the city.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.