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la Biennale di Venezia 2012

Tuesday 08 May 2012

Finding a Common Ground

Copyright Francesco Galli 
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Organisers of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 unveil this year's theme 

The 13th International Architecture Exhibition entitled Common Ground, directed by David Chipperfield and organised by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, gathered in London last Friday to unveil what the three month event will include this summer.

The exhibition includes 55 participating countries, demonstrating their work in the pavilions in the Giardini at the Arsenale and in the city of Venice. Five new nations will also be participating for the first time, including: Angola, Republic of Kosovo, Kuwait, Peru and Turkey.

The theme, Common Ground, will consist of a single exhibition through the Central Pavilion at the Giardini and the Arsenale. David Chipperfield, the curator, plans to present an exhibition with 58 projects by architects, photographers, artists, critics and scholars. A variety of emerging and established firms have been asked to take part. There will be a total of 103 participants.

Paolo Baratta, President of la Biennale di Venezia, expressed how they devised the concept of Common Ground, explaining: "We felt it was important to look at architecture with a focus deep inside the discipline itself, to highlight the rich pattern of connection and associations, the intense dialogue between the architects of present and past generations and their points of reference. This moment will be useful to reflect upon and represent architecture by concentrating our attention on it, in response to other vision that consider it almost as a bunch of other disciplines."

Baratta continued to describe that they believe architecture is the art of organising the space we share and Common Ground is the concept of how architectural ideas come alive. Chipperfield expressed that they want to present ‘Architecture' and the ‘Architecture Culture' rather that ‘The Architect'.

The emphasis of the exhibition is on how ideas are created and to present them visually. The theme will not be developed through a conference or a seminar but a visual experience which will open up an opportunity to share work and create debate over the variety of techniques used in architecture today. The curators hope that there will ‘a common difference' between the various participating firms.

The curators want the visitor to walk through the Central Pavilion and to be impressed by the process in which architects create their work and bring their ideas to live. The focus will remain on the innovation and research of architecture rather on the final product.

La Biennale di Venezia will run from 29 August to 25 November 2012. The preview will be 27 and 28 August 2012.

Elena Collins

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