• Tuesday , 19 November 2019

Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell Announce Participants in FREESPACE, Venice Architecture Biennale

Habitation, circulation space. Gallaratese Housing, Milan, 1974. Carlo Aymonino & Aldo Rossi

Habitation, circulation space. Gallaratese Housing, Milan, 1974. Carlo Aymonino & Aldo Rossi

Open to the public from Saturday 26 May to Sunday 25 November 2018, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, titled FREESPACE, will be curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. The preview will take place on 24 and 25 May, the awards ceremony and inauguration will be held on Saturday 26 May 2018.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have used the Manifesto FREESPACE, issued in June 2017, as a reference point for putting this Exhibition together. «We have found it to be a robust tool» they stated. «It has acted as a measure and a guide to finding cohesion within the diversity of an Exhibition of this enormous scale.»

Freespace undercroft. Universitta Luigi Bocconi, Milan, 2008. Grafton Architects

Freespace undercroft. Universitta Luigi Bocconi, Milan, 2008. Grafton Architects

The Exhibition FREESPACE will develop from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale, and will include 71 participants.The 71 participants will be joined by others gathered in two Special Sections: the first numbering, 16 participants, is titled Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects and will present works that originate in a reflection on well-known buildings of the past; the second which counts, 13 participants, and is titled The Practice of Teaching, will collect projects developed as part of teaching experiences.

Among the 71 participants are Irish architects: de Blacam and Meagher; Níall McLaughlin Architects; O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects and Belfast practice Hall McKnight. With regard to these sections, the Curators explained they have discovered “invention and creativity at the micro and macro scales historic buildings liberated by the intelligence of the architects; forgotten buildings re-visited and brought to life; transformative typologies of habitation; infrastructural needs translated into public and civic facilities.» Furthermore, «a key component in attending to the continuity of tradition in architecture is the practice of teaching. Many of the invited practitioners are actively engaged in teaching. The world of making and building merges with the imaginative world that is highlighted within the Exhibition.”

“We are hugely appreciative of the enormous dedication and passion invested by the participants” the Curators stated. And finally, in relation to the meaning of the word FREESPACE, the Curators said they are “delighted with the global engagement of participants and participating counties in the process of its translation. When we were writing the Manifesto, we wanted primarily to include the word space. We also wanted a new use of everyday words, which could somehow cause us all to re-frame the additional component that we as a profession can contribute to humanity. We see architecture as the translation of need in its widest sense into meaningful space. In the effort to translate FREESPACE into the many wonderful languages of the world, we hope that it prises open the ‘gift’ which architectural invention has the potential to contribute with each project. Translation allows us all to map and rename intellectual as well as actual territory. It is our hope that the word FREESPACE allows us to burrow into the aspirations, ambitions and generosity of architecture.»

Exterior of Doge's palace. Pallazo Ducale, Venice.

Exterior of Doge’s palace. Pallazo Ducale, Venice.

President of the La Biennale, Paolo Baratta said: “With the aim of promoting the “desire” of architecture, this edition curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara focuses on the question of space, the quality of space, open and free space. The fundamental parameter of reference is indicated with great clarity. The desire to create FREESPACE can become the specific individual characteristic of each individual project.”

“But space, free space, public space can also reveal the presence or absence of architecture, if we understand architecture to be “thinking applied to the space where we live, that we inhabit”.

And the International Architecture Exhibition will offer us examples, teachings, and topics of discussion. Therefore, we are thankful to Farrell and McNamara for having accepted our invitation and for the choice, which adds an important link to the chain of Exhibitions held over the years.”

16 Irish Practices to Feature in Close Encounter

The Biennale will also feature a special section – Close Encounter – where Irish architects respond to works of architecture.

Participants and Projects include:

A2 Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza, Museo-Fundación Oteiza, Alzuza, Spain

BOYD CODY Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Eileen Gray, E-1027, Roquebrune, and Tempe a païa, Castellar, Alpes Maritimes , France

Noreile Breen (Dublin, Ireland)

Luis Barragán, Casa Luis Barragán, Ciudad de México, Mexico


Bucholz McEvoy Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Frederick Law Olmstead, Delaware Park, Buffalo, USA

Carr Cotter & Naessens Architects (Cork, Ireland)

Auguste Perret, Salle Cortot, Paris, France

Clancy Moore Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Kay Otto Fisker, Hornbækhus, Københavns, Denmark

De Paor (Wicklow, Ireland)

Giovanni Michelucci, Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista “dell’Autostrada”, Campi Bisenzio, Firenze, Italy

Donaghy + Dimond Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Anhembi Tennis Club, São Paulo, Brazil

Kevin Donovan (Dublin, Ireland), Ryan W. Kennihan Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Jean Prouvé, Eugène Beaudouin, Marcel Lods, Vladimir Bodiansky, Maison du Peuple – Clichy,France

GKMP Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

José Antonio Coderch de Sentmenat, Edificio de viviendas Girasol, Madrid, Spain

Hassett Ducatez Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Angelo Mangiarotti, Bruno Morassutti, Edificio per abitazioni in via Quadronno 24, Milano, Italy

heneghan peng Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Gordon Bunshaft ‘Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’ (SOM), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library,

Yale University, New Haven, USA

Mary Laheen Architects (Dublin, Ireland), Aoibheann Ní Mhearáin (Dublin, Ireland)

Jean Rénaudie, Centre Jeanne Hachette, Ivry sur Seine, Paris, France

Steve Larkin Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Heikki and Kaija Siren, Otaniemi Chapel, Espoo, Finland

Dominic Stevens, JFOC Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Alejandro de la Sota, Maravillas Gymnasium, Madrid, Spain

TAKA Architects (Dublin, Ireland)

Rogelio Salmona, Centro Comunal y Recreativo Nueva Santa Fe, Bogotá, Colombia


Windows. Housing at Santa Maria della Porta, Milan, 1961. Caccia Dominoni

Windows. Housing at Santa Maria della Porta, Milan, 1961. Caccia Dominoni


The Exhibition will also include 65 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. 7 countries will be participating in the Biennale Architettura for the first time: Antigua & Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Mongolia, Pakistan and the Holy See (with its own pavilion located on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore).

The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, sponsored and promoted by the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane, will be curated by Mario Cucinella and will be titled Arcipelago Italia.

This edition will once again feature, selected Collateral Events. Promoted by non-profit national and international institutions, they will present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice during the 16th International Architecture Exhibition. 

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