Venice gon

Day two from Venice Architecture Biennale

The Dezeen team are reporting from the 18th international architecture biennale in Venice, curated by Lesley Lokko. Read on for all the coverage from the second day (Thursday 18 May)

5:30pm A quiz show-style game that focuses on social, political and economic issues surrounding climate change is on show at the Korean Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale, in another exclusive preview from Dezeen.

Korea's exhibition is titled "2086: Together How?" and was curated by artistic directors Soik Jung and Kyong Park. The exhibition questions how people might work together and collaborate to endure current and future environmental crises up until the year 2086.

2086: Together How? at the Korean Pavilion
2086: Together How? at the Korean Pavilion

5:00pm Unveiled exclusively on Dezeen, the "dynamic cohabitation of the wild, domesticated and human" is at the centre of the Croatian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, which focuses on the country's Lonja wetlands.

It comprises a physical installation in the Arsenale as well as a series of workshops, talks and texts that will be produced and held at various locations in Croatia, Slovenia and Italy during the biennale.

Sculpture in Croatia Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale
The Croatia pavilion focuses on the country's Lonja wetlands and features a large sculptural piece made from woven ash wood – a material that is native to the wetlands

4:30pm Paola Antonelli, architect and senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), speaking with Dezeen editor-at-large Amy Frearson, who is also in Venice for the biennale vernissage, said that she loves the central exhibition in the Arsenale curated by Lesley Lokko.

“It really is a laboratory of the future. It’s building, not buildings, and I love that,” Antonelli said.

A view of the exhibition inside the Arsenale
A view of the exhibition inside the Arsenale. Image: Lizzie Crook

3:15pm Following the opening press conference reported here earlier today, Dezeen editor Tom Ravenscroft has written a more in-depth article on what curator Lesley Lokko shared this morning of the journey to Venice.

Visa denials "cannot become the defining story of this exhibition", said Lokko.

This is not a new story

Addressing the decision by Italian authorities to deny visas to three members of her Ghana-based team Lokko said "this is not a new story. It's an old and familiar tale, if not to many in this audience then to the global majority who are not here."

Lesley Lokko Arsenale exhibition
Lesley Lokko gives the curator's tour of the Arsenale exhibition "The Laboratory of the Future". Image: Lizzie Crook

3:00pm The ribbon has just been cut at the British pavilion. The exhibition, called "Dancing Before the Moon", celebrates how global diasporic communities design space.

Opening of the British Pavilion at Venice architecture biennale
British Pavilion curators cut the ribbon on their exhibition. Image: Rupert Bickersteth

The British Pavilion has been curated by founding director of architecture studio JA Projects Jayden Ali, V&A curator Meneesha Kellay, Sound Advice co-founder Joseph Henry and Crafts Council head of public programmes Sumitra Upham (pictured above, on the steps of the pavilion).

2:00pm The Canadian pavilion is notable for not hosting an exhibition this year, but a headquarters for Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA)'s "Not For Sale!" campaign.

Commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts, AAHA is a curatorial collective of architects, activists and indigenous leaders who have transformed the Canadian Pavilion into their live campaign hub.

The think tank will run for six months working to present solutions for equitable housing in Canada that reject the concept of property and the financialized form of architecture that it implies.

Inside the Canadian pavilion
Inside the Canadian pavilion. Image: Rupert Bickersteth

The AAHA have issued a list of 10 demands, gathered from across the dozens of organisations they are working with, that they feel will help create a future where housing is equitable for all.

Speaking to Dezeen digital editor Rupert Bickersteth at the pavilion, Canada Council for the Arts director and CEO Simon Brault said "the architect is perceived as the one who will provide the technical solution when the political will is there, but here architects and activists are working together ahead of political decision-making".

He continued "one of the most important roles of architects is to deconstruct received ideas and reframe the conversation on the human experience".

Architects bring an expertise in systems-thinking

AAHA member and architectural historian, Tijana Vujosevic, who also spoke to Dezeen, when questioned about architects being best equipped, or self-appointed, to tackle housing crises said "we're not saving the world, bringing enlightenment and justice to everybody. That's not what architects do."

"We're working with housing advocates and activists to help visualise, curate and present what they might have otherwise conceived of as exclusively financial, legal and political problems," they continued.

The Canadian pavilion in the Giardini
The Canadian pavilion in the Giardini. Image: Rupert Bickersteth

Speaking to Dezeen inside the Canadian pavilion, AAHA member and architect David Fortin said "architects bring an expertise in systems-thinking, regarding the process that results in a house, and the question is how do you re-wire the system in a way that allows for more people to get access to it?"

"We have worked on a lot about material flows and ecological systems. Housing is such an important part of an urban ecological system. When you rewire and redesign that system, it does lead to political impacts."

12:30pm The Swiss pavilion has been exclusively unveiled on Dezeen. A wall and several gates facing the adjacent Venezuelan pavilion have been removed for its "Neighbours" project.

Curators Karin Sander and Philipp Ursprung aimed to make the architecture of the buildings the focus of their installation by removing the boundary between the two pavilions.

Swiss pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale
Swiss pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, in dialogue with its Venezuelan pavilion

Unlike any of the other national pavilions in the Giardini, the pavilions of Switzerland and Venezuela share a wall.

12:00pm Dezeen editor Tom Ravenscroft, is reporting from inside the opening press conference of the biennale in the Arsenale, where curator Lesley Lokko has called the past 15 months as an "extraordinary journey".

She went on to describe the exhibitions and pavilions of this, the 18th architecture biennale in Venice, as having "already become our collective outpouring of pride and joy".

The past 15 months have been an extraordinary journey

She thanked the biennale team, sponsors and her team of assistant curators and also touched upon difficulties with visa issues.  More to come on this story, shortly.

In the meantime, read Dezeen architecture editor Lizzie Crook's interview with Lesley Lokko that we published yesterday.

Lesley Lokko opens the 18th architecture biennale in the Arsenale, Venice
Lesley Lokko opens the 18th architecture biennale in the Arsenale, Venice. Image: Tom Ravenscroft

10:30am Last night Qatar Creates opened a documentary exhibition "Building a Creative Nation", which is the first presentation outside the country of Qatar's forthcoming cultural institutions designed by starchitects.

The exhibition at the Palazzo Franchetti will be on view until 26 November 2023. It focuses on five new cultural venues being developed by Qatar Museums in Qatar with architectural practices Elemental, Herzog & de Meuron, OMA, Philippe Starck, and UNStudio.

Palazzo Franchetti exhibition Qatar
Aperitivo at the Palazzo Franchetti for "Building a Creative Nation" and "Kengo Kuma: Onomatopoeia Architecture" exhibitions. Image: Rupert Bickersteth

Also at the Palazzo Franchetti is a special exhibition of the work of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, where a large-scale metal pavilion designed by Kuma occupies a central space in the walled garden of the palazzo (above).

Kengo Kuma at the Palazzo Franchetti during Venice Architecture Biennale
Kengo Kuma: Onomatopoeia Architecture at the Palazzo Franchetti. Image: Rupert Bickersteth

The exhibition "Kengo Kuma: Onomatopoeia Architecture" presents projects, and models, across the full range of Kuma's work in Japan and around the world – including the V&A Dundee.

Model of the V&A Dundee by Kengo Kuma
Model of the V&A Dundee by Kengo Kuma from the exhibition at Palazzo Franchetti. Image: Rupert Bickersteth

10:00am Today is the start of the "vernissage", or pre-opening, of the biennale.

Yesterday Dezeen exclusively revealed national pavilions and, ahead of the opening press conference in the Arsenale at 11:00am, we continue to do so today. Stay tuned for the Swiss and Korean pavilions.

The Brazilian pavilion has been filled with earth for this year's Venice Architecture Biennale.

Curators Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Taveres hope to communicate how Brazil's land has shaped understandings of heritage and identity, choosing to focus on earth and naming the exhibition at the Brazilian pavilion Terra.

Tropical modernism film at Applied Arts Pavilion
Tropical modernism film at the Applied Arts Pavilion

The Applied Arts Pavilion exhibition is a collaboration between the UK's Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) and the Venice Architecture Biennale.

This year's exhibition, called Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Power in West Africa, is curated by Christopher Turner of the V&A and Nana Biamah-Ofosu and Bushra Mohamed of the Architectural Association (AA).

The pavilion explores the origins and development of the tropical modernist style of architecture. A 36-metre-long brise soleil has been covered with screens showing the colonial history of tropical modernism.

Follow the live coverage on Dezeen live: Venice Architecture Biennale. Read all of Dezeen's coverage of Day one from Venice Architecture Biennale.

The Venice Architecture Biennale takes place from 20 May to 26 November 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for all the latest information you need to know to attend the event, as well as a list of other architecture and design events taking place around the world.

All times are Venice time.