Venice Biennale readies for 17th Int'l Architecture Exhibition curated by Lebanese Hashim Sarkis

Ahram Online , Wednesday 14 Apr 2021

The 17th Biennale Architettura revealed several details of the event that will take place between 22 May and 21 November 2021

Bienale Architettura
Venice (Photo: Reuters)

The 17th International Architecture Exhibition — which will be held from 22 May to 21 November 2021 — also known as Biennale Architettura, reconfirmed that the Lebanese architect and scholar Hashim Sarkis will take the role of the event’s curation.

The Biennale’s 17th edition has been originally scheduled to take place between 29 August and 29 November 2020, but the dates were moved due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The world is putting new challenges in front of architecture. I look forward to working with participating architects from around the world to imagine together how we are going to rise to these challenges,” Sarkis commented in his statement, which was released on the Biennale’s website.

“We need a new spatial contract. In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together,” Sarkis continues.

Setting the theme ‘How will we live together?’ the Biennale is “motivated by new kinds of problems that the world is putting in front of architecture, but it is also inspired by the emerging activism of young architects and the radical revisions being proposed by the profession of architecture to take on these challenges,” Sarkis explains.

Born in 1964 in Beirut, educator and architect Hashim Sarkis holds a Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (1987), a Master’s of Architecture with distinction (1989), and a Doctorate of Philosophy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (1995).

Throughout his career, Sarkis has been working with several architecture firms, and in 1998, he established his own practice, Hashim Sarkis Studios, with offices in Cambridge and Beirut. He has also been a Professor and Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


The 17th International Architecture Exhibition will take place across several venues: The Central Pavilion at the Giardini, the Arsenale, and Forte Marghera.

It will showcase works by 114 architects from 46 countries with an increased representation from Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Four countries are participating for the first time at the Biennale Architettura, which are the Republic of Azerbaijan​, Grenada, Iraq, and Uzbekistan.

62 of the presented projects come from Italian architects.

The events will also showcase a project titled ‘How will we play together?’ by five architects and dedicated to children’s play.

In parallel, a broad educational programme has been scheduled with the aim to address students, children, adults, families, professionals, companies, and universities.

The Biennale Architettura is part of the Venice Biennale, which was founded over 120 years ago with the launch of La Biennale di Venezia (1895), becoming the first International Art Exhibition of this size in the world.

In the 1930s, the Venice Biennale introduced similar events dedicated to music, cinema, and theatre, hence the birth of the Venice Film Festival in 1932.

In 1980, the first International Architecture Exhibition took place, and in 1999, dance made its debut at La Biennale.

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