• Friday , 6 December 2019

RIAI Members’ Study Trip – FREESPACE, Venice Architecture Biennale

Yvonne_Farrell,_Shelley_McNamara_Photo_by_Andrea_Avezzu_Courtesy_of_La_Biennale_di_Venezia_660The RIAI has published an advance notice of our forthcoming RIAI Members’ Study Trip to the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, which takes place from Friday 26 to Monday 29 October 2018.

Curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects under the theme FREESPACE, this year’s Biennale marks a high point in Irish architecture as does the unprecedented strong presence of 20 exhibited Irish architectural practices.

The Irish Pavilion – Free Market – which explores the challenges and opportunities for Irish towns is also considered a highlight and has been described by international media as a ‘must see’ national pavilion.

What to see at the Venice Architecture Biennale

FREESPACE the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale takes place with 71 invited participants in two exhibition venues: the Central Pavilion in the Giardini and the Arsenale.

Arsenale: Located in the Corderie, the former rope-making factory in the Arsenale, FREESPACE features invited participants including four Irish practices: de Blacam and Meagher, Hall McKnight from Belfast, Niall McLaughlin Architects and O’Donnell + Tuomey. The Irish Pavilion Free Market is also located in the Corderie.

The Central Pavilion: Located in the Giardini, it also features invited participants as well as the centrally located Close Encounter, an exhibit where 16 invited Irish practices respond to an acclaimed work by a 19th or 20th century architect.

In addition to FREESPACE, there are also 63 National Pavilions, located in the Arsenale and Giardini and in venues throughout Venice. The critically acclaimed Pavilion of the Holy See – the Vatican’s first participation – features ten chapels by ten renowned architects in a wooded area of the Isola di San Georgio Maggiore, including by Sir Norman Foster, Teronobu Fujimori and Eduardo Souto de Moura.

Included in the RIAI Members Study Trip 
The programme and cost are currently being finalised but we anticipate that included in the RIAI Members’ Study Trip will be:

  • Special Ticket for a visit to FREESPACE for 2 consecutive days (27 and 28 October) entitling to multiple visits to each exhibition venue (Giardini and Arsenale). A valid ID is required to use the ticket.
  • Guided tours of FREESPACE and Free Market
  • Optional attendance of ‘Communicating Architecture’ – Meetings in Architecture programme, Theatro alle Tese
  • Optional attendance at a discussion in the Irish Pavilion, Free Market
  • Welcome evening reception on Fri 26 October
  • Evening reception on Sat 27 October
  • Closing reception on Sun 28 October

Not included are flights and accommodation, as Members may wish to choose different lengths of stays and types of accommodation. Please see Venice Travel Information compiled by RIAI Member, architect Sharon O’Grady.

Roadstone_CRH_blue_on_yellowThe RIAI Members’ Study Trip is kindly supported by Roadstone as exclusive event sponsors.

Draft Programme
The draft programme  is subject to change – please see riai.ie for updates.  Booking will go live in July 2018.

Friday, 26 October

Self-guided visits to Biennale pavilions, exhibitions and events throughout the city of Venice. RIAI will recommend a number of highlights including the Holy See Pavilion, Isola di San Georgio Maggiore and the exhibition by Rintala Eggertsson Architects on the Forte Marghera.

ca 19.00 Welcome Cocktail Reception in Venice for RIAI Members with special guests. RIAI welcome Meeting Point.



Saturday, 27 October

FREESPACE at the Arsenale – a 20 min walk from St Mark’s Square along the waterfront or can be reached on the Vaporetto (water bus). Entry to the Arsenale is included in the Members’ Trip.

11.00-17.00 Guided highlight tours of FREESPACE at the Arsenale at regular intervals. Also included in the tour will be the Irish Pavilion, Free Market. Tour is included in the Members’ Trip but booking is essential.

12.00 (ca.) Event at the Irish Pavilion, Free Market

14.30 ‘Communicating Architecture’ – Meetings in Architecture programme with Yvonne Farrell at the Theatro alle Tese (booking essential)

18.00 Arsenale closes

20.00 Reception / Dinner

Sunday, 28 October
FREESPACE at the Giardini
Venice’s public gardens, the Giardini, are a 25 min walk from St Mark’s Square along the waterfront or can be reached on the Vaporetto.

11.00 – 17.00 Guided highlight tours of FREESPACE at the Central Pavilion in the Giardini, at regular intervals, including the Special Section ‘Close Encounter’ featuring projects by 16 Irish practices.

17.00 (ca) Farewell Reception

18.00 Giardini close

Monday, 29 October
FREETIME in Venice (Arsenale and Giardini are closed Mondays)
See new Venice Architecture – recommended by RIAI Member, architect Sharon O’Grady.

Depart: Ryanair from Venice Treviso or Aer Lingus from Milan Linate.

Please see Venice Travel Information compiled by RIAI Member, architect Sharon O’Grady.

We advise to book your flights as soon as possible as the trip occurs during the October Bank holiday and midterm for schools. The RIAI website features Venice Travel Options compiled by Sharon O’Grady (MRIAI), including direct flights with Aer Lingus (Venice Marco Polo) and Ryanair (Venice Treviso). Other flight options include via Milan Linate; Bologna and Munich and Frankfurt.

As Members may wish to avail of a range of accommodation options to suit their individual traveller needs, the RIAI will not provide conference accommodation. Venice has a huge variety of accommodation ranging from hostels, Air BnB and guest houses to five star hotels. We recommend to choose accommodation based on a location that suits your needs. For example, San Marco is most central and Castello close to the Biennale.

For further questions, please email Catherine Bolstercbolster@riai.ie

The RIAI Members Study Trip is kindly supported by Roadstone as exclusive event sponsors.

Sharon O’Grady, MRIAI, is working for the Architectural Services Dept of South Dublin County Council. She has visited both Tuscany and the Veneto on a regular basis. In 2008 she brought a group of work colleagues to the Veneto to celebrate Palladio’s 500th anniversary. This year she is organising a study trip for SDCC Architects’ Dept to the Venice Architecture Biennale and is also involved with the RIAI Members Study Visit to the Biennale in October. She is planning to organise further trips to explore the food and architecture of Italy, following her retirement in 2019.

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