Review

Venice Biennale 2021: What to Know and 5 Interesting Pavilions

Marta Wiktoria Bryll 24 May 2021 min Read

After being postponed due to the global pandemic, the International Architecture Exhibition is back at the Venice Biennale. The participants will try to answer the theme question: How will we live together? Can architecture find answers to modern living? Here’s what you can’t miss during the the 2021 edition.

Venice Biennale 2021 – All You Should Know

The 2021 Venice Biennale curator is Hashim Sarkis, a Lebanese architect, and scholar. This year, the International Architecture Exhibition includes members from 46 countries, with Uzbekistan, Granada, and Iraq attending for the first time.

“We can no longer wait for politicians to propose a path towards a better future. As politics continue to divide and isolate, we can offer alternative ways of living together through architecture. The Biennale Architettura 2021 is motivated by new kinds of problems that the world is putting in front of architecture, but it is also inspired by the emerging activism of young architects and the radical revisions being proposed by the profession of architecture to take on these challenges.”

Hashim Sarkis, Venice Biennale 2021 curatorial statement.

Apart from the national pavilions, the annual presentation presents an exhibition dedicated to children’s play: How will we play together? As well as some out-of-competition participations.

These participants are research Stations and Co-Habitats with scholars from universities globally; the special participation by an Israeli artist Michal Rovner, an exhibition by Studio Other Spaces (Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann), and outdoor installation How will we play sport together?

For the fifth year, the Venice Biennale partners with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, presenting a remarkable project in collaboration with architect Shahed Saleem titled Three British Mosques.

Venice Biennale 2021 – 5 Most Interesting Pavilions

Uzbekistan: The Mahallas

The Uzbekistan representatives, attending for the first time in history, present a story of mahallas. These are residential quarters, typically forming a self-governing community unit. Deriving from the Biennale’s theme question, architects look critically at the self-sustainable potential of the mahalla and its unique spatial and social model.

Venice Biennale 2021: Uzbekistan, Mahalla urban-rural living, curated by Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein.
Venice Biennale 2021 Best Pavilions: Uzbekistan, Mahalla urban-rural living, curated by Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein. International Architecture Exhibition.

Albania: The Neighborliness

The Albanian Pavilion celebrates the concept of neighborliness and its evolution from a social community to isolated indifference. The exhibition shows three neighboring apartments, which secretly share a space, only coming to life if the neighbors are willing to explore it.

Venice Biennale 2021: Albania, curatorial photo edit with scenes from Në shtëpinë tonë (dir.Dhimiter Anagnosti, 1979), curated by Fiona Mali, Irola Andoni, Malvina Ferra, Rudina Breçani.
Venice Biennale 2021 Best Pavilions: Albania, In our home, curated by Fiona Mali, Irola Andoni, Malvina Ferra, Rudina Breçani. International Architecture Exhibition.

Canada: The Impostor Cities

Did you know that Canadian locations often double for other places in movies? The Impostor Cities looks at urban architecture through the history of movie scenes, looking at Canadian cities simulating Tokyo, Paris, London, or Moscow.

Venice Biennale 2021: Canada, Impostor Cities, curated by David Theodore, T B A / Thomas Balaban Architect.
Venice Biennale 2021 Best Pavilions: Canada, Impostor Cities, curated by David Theodore, T B A / Thomas Balaban Architect. International Architecture Exhibition.

Thailand: The Elephant

Can humans and animals live together? The Thai pavilion at the Venice Biennale explores the story of Kuy, a north-eastern Thai ethnic group, which for centuries have lived closely with elephants. The exhibition presents a village house built in consideration for both humans and elephants.

Venice Biennale 2021: Thailand, Elephant, curated by Apiradee Kasemsook.
Venice Biennale 2021 Best Pavilions: Thailand, Elephant, curated by Apiradee Kasemsook. International Architecture Exhibition.

Peru: The Playground

The Peru pavilion conceptualizes a city where gates and fences are removed, transforming public spaces into playground-like artifacts inviting exploration and interaction. The security elements of gates are turned into benches, soccer goals, swings, giving new life into the materials.

Venice Biennale 2021: Peru, Playground: Artefacts for interaction, curated by Felipe Ferrer.
Venice Biennale 2021 Best Pavilions: Peru, Playground: Artefacts for interaction, curated by Felipe Ferrer. International Architecture Exhibition.