Venice Architecture Biennale 2014: Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas has released more details of the Venice Architecture Biennale he is curating this year and revealed his aim to disconnect the exhibition from the current state of architecture, which he says "is not in good health".
Speaking today at the Italian Cultural Institute in London, the OMA principal said his intention as director of the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale is for the exhibition, to "sever all connections with contemporary architecture which, in spite of many impressive manifestations, is not in good health" and to focus instead on the progression of global architecture over the last 100 years.
The research-driven exhibition, entitled Fundamentals, will examine the essential elements of architecture and chart the emergence of a global architectural style. As well as encompassing the Arsenale and the Central Giardini Pavilion, this theme will extend to the 65 participating national pavilions for the first time in the biennale's history.
"After several architecture biennales dedicated to the celebration of the contemporary, Fundamentals will look at histories, try to reconstruct how architecture finds itself in its current situation, and speculate on the future," said Koolhaas.
The architect says this year's exhibition will move away from "presenting objects and presenting architects", and will instead show the original research carried out over the last year. He also claims it will express the life and humour of architecture.
"What we hope to do with this biennale is to lift the pressure of constant seriousness of the profession of architecture," he said. "I think architecture is written about as if it is a dead serious discipline, but I think there is life in architecture."
The theme assigned to the national pavilions is Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014. For this, each pavilion will present its country's unique architectural styles and typologies over the last century.
The exhibition in the Central Pavilion will be named Elements of Architecture and will comprise a series of rooms each dedicated to the history of a different architectural element, including the balcony, the wall, the door and the window.
The Arsenale exhibition, named Monditalia, will collectively represent Italy's architecture and history. A huge historic map will extend through the centre of the space, while architectural installations will be interspersed with film, dance, music and theatre.
Biennale president Paolo Baratta commented: "With Rem Koolhaas, our aim is to create an exceptional, research-centred architecture biennale. It will be significantly innovative as Rem has conceived a project that involves the entire biennale, which fully exploits its potential."
"With great courage and ambition, after having traced the history of modernity over the past 100 years to the present, he identifies and presents the elements that should act as references for a regenerated relationship between us and architecture," added Baratta.
The Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 will open to the public on 7 June and will run until 23 November.