Dialogue : : Cynthia Davidson, Co-Curator United States Pavilion La Biennale di Venezia

For the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, the United States Pavilion presents ‘The Architectural Imagination’, a curatorial project led by Cynthia Davidson and Mónica Ponce de León featuring speculative architectural proposals for four sites in Detroit, Michigan. ARCHITECTEM met with Cynthia Davidson over gelato at the vernissage to discuss the curatorial vision, selection of Detroit as the focus, and her journey to curating; below is an excerpt from the conversation. 

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Research, Content and Catalogue; Exhibition Report National Pavilion UAE 

This is the third in our series of essays covering the National Pavilion UAE la biennale di Venezia. The first presented an overview of Aravena’s theme for the biennale [Reporting from the Front] and the concept selected by curator Yasser Elshestawy for this year’s UAE exhibit [’Transformations: The Emirati National House’ – the Sha’bīyaa ]. The second took the form of a dialogue with Professor Elshestawy. In this essay, we navigate through the sequential layout of the exhibit paired with visuals of the spaces and look deeper into the Exhibition Catalogue as a document of exhaustive research and a valuable academic resource.

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Dialogue : : Iñaqui Carnicero, Co-Curator Spanish Pavilion La Biennale di Venezia

The Spanish Pavilion was awarded a Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Biennale, featuring a new type of architecture that emerged in the country after the financial crisis.

Under the title “Unfinished”, the exhibition curated by architects Iñaqui Carnicero and Carlos Quintáns consists of nearly 67 proposals and 7 photographic series presenting answers to the problems arising in Spain after the housing boom post-crisis. The inherited situation has led to many architectural studies to reflect on the passage of time in architecture and to respond against the excesses of the past.

Exhibition curator Iñaqui Carnicero is an Architect and has served as a visiting Professor at Cornell University. He has been recognised with numerous international awards such as the Design Vanguard Award, AIANY Housing Award, Emerging Architects Award, FAD and COAM Award.

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Dialogue:  Yasser Elshestawy Curator the National Pavilion UAE Biennale di Venezia 

The 15th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia opened last month and saw the world converge on the floating city. The Biennale continues till November hosting pavilions responding to Alejandro Aravena’s curatorial proposal “Reporting from the front”. Aravena in his brief called for projects that are “looking for new fields of action, facing issues like segregation, inequalities, peripheries, access to sanitation, natural disasters, housing shortage, migration, informality, crime, traffic, waste, pollution and the participation of communities.” While most pavilion’s featured recent or proposed projects in response to this call for architectures that are responsible and responsive, the National Pavilion of UAE chose to look at the past.

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A parallel narrative: The UAE Pavilion and Aravena’s curatorial proposal Venice Biennale 2016


The prevalent urban image of the UAE celebrates it as a forerunner in the race of defying vertical boundaries, testing technological limits and employing luxury as a substitute of the everyday. Prescribed a seemingly categorical and futuristic agenda, the National Pavilion of UAE opts to nuance this perception by showcasing a parallel narrative of progressive leadership and social responsibility as the subject of its exhibition at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia.

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