Ireland’s national pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 will highlight the generosity, humanity and possibility in the common spaces of Ireland’s market towns. The exhibition, entitled ‘Free Market’, is being curated by a team of six architects and designers. As part of the research for the project, the team are focusing on towns with a population between 1500 and 5000 people, which demonstrate regional variation, typical challenges facing towns today, but also the unique identity that characterise rural market towns.
The towns include:
Athenry, County Galway
Ballinrobe, County Mayo
Ballyshannon, County Donegal
Bunclody, County Wexford
Castleblayney, County Monaghan
Kilmallock, County Limerick
Kilrush, County Clare
Macroom, County Cork
Mountmellick, County Laois
Templemore, County Tipperary
Once the economic and social hubs of rural Ireland, small town market places have undergone fundamental change in recent times. Many have seen their function as places of exchange and congregation diminished, this project proposes to reimagine these as places of interaction and community. It is the first time an Irish Pavilion has studied rural towns, it will also be the first time the Irish Pavilion returns to rural towns as part of its national tour culminating in an interdisciplinary symposium in 2019.
The Venice Architecture Biennale is the foremost global forum for Architectural exhibition and debate. It runs every second year and attracts over 260,000 visitors during the six month long event, as well as widespread international media coverage. The exhibition will take place from 26 May to 25 November.
Free Market’ team are Miriam Delaney, Jo Anne Butler, Laurence Lord, Tara Kennedy, Orla Murphy and Jeffrey Bolhuis.
The national exhibition ‘Free Market’ is a direct response to the overarching theme of ‘Freespace’, selected by curators, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. It will highlight the generosity, humanity and possibility in the common spaces of Ireland’s market towns. Once the economic and social hubs of rural Ireland, small town marketplaces have undergone fundamental change in recent times. Indeed, many have seen their function as places of exchange and congregation diminished. The project proposes to reclaim these places of interaction and community. It will also build on the research of the team and others, and on the lived experience of these spaces, to re-imagine the shared urban territory of the small town marketplace.
The Venice Architecture Biennale, which will be held from 26 May to 25 November 2018, remains the most important global platform for the exhibition of architecture involving the public, members of civil society, individuals and institutions.
Ireland’s exhibition at Venice is an initiative of the Culture Ireland division of Minister Humphreys’s Department, in partnership with the Arts Council. Since 2005, Culture Ireland and the Arts Council have partnered on supporting Ireland’s representation at Venice given the ongoing platform it offers artists to reach an international audience.
Ireland’s exhibition in 2018, ‘Free Market’, will tour towns in Ireland in 2019 following its presentation in Venice.