Monday 17 Mar 2014

Rem Koolhaas goes back to basics with the 14th International Architecture Exhibition

This summer, OMA Founder Rem Koolhaas will direct the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, organised by la Biennale di Venezia, with a trio of interlocking exhibitions at the Central Pavilion, the National Pavilions and the Arsenale in Venice. With 65 nationalities hosting their own pavilions curated by home-grown talent - 11 of which will be participating in the International Architecture Exhibition for the first time, including the United Arab Emirates and the Dominican Republic - this promises to be one of the most engaging Biennales to date.

‘Architecture, not architects’ is the underlying pledge of Koolhaas’ event, moving on from years of celebrating contemporary design and the bolstering of practice profiles to a deep-seated analysis of how architecture has arrived at its current state. Rather than dissecting examples of modern design, Koolhaas will examine the evolution of the architecture profession through three exhibitions - Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Elements of Architecture and Monditalia - curated under the theme: Fundamentals.

Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014

Each of the National Pavilions is to explore the development of a global architectural style, demonstrating ‘the process of the erasure of national characteristics in favour of the almost universal adoption of a single modern language and a single repertoire of typologies’. All 65 nationalities have been asked the same question: Has national identity been sacrificed to modernity? with the goal of resurrecting and exposing the encounters between cultures and technological advances that have altered architecture’s sense of place over the last 100 years.

Elements of Architecture

The Central Pavilion will play host to an examination of the fundamental components of any building project, from walls to windows and fireplaces to balconies. By analysing these individual ‘apparently mundane’ elements, Koolhaas looks to reveal how these traditional components used by all architects have evolved in line with technological developments but remained fundamental to the creation of the built form. Within the commonplace elements, forgotten symbolism, climatic considerations, fluctuating thresholds of comfort, mythical desires and the ideas of the architect will be revealed.


The third and final exhibition at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition will be Monditalia in the Arsenale. Monditalia will not only engage with architectural themes but will mobilise the other festivals of la Biennale di Venezia such as dance, film and music to paint an accurate and comprehensive picture of Italy as a 'fundamental' country. The exhibition will therefore include theatrical productions and events to engage architecture, politics, economics, religion, technology and industry, considering the physical traces that interactions between these forces may leave.

14th International Architecture Exhibition will be held in Venice from 7 June until 23 November 2014. More information can be found via the official la Biennale di Venezia website.

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