How Will We Live Together? The Final Month of Venice Architecture Biennale 2021

In a world that seems to be growing increasingly apart, the Biennale looks at how architecture can bring us closer

Belgium Pavillion | Photo Credit: Filip Dujardin
Belgium Pavillion | Photo Credit: Filip Dujardin

By Amulya Hiremath on 10.29.21

At the heart of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale is one key question: How will we live together? Emerging from the dark of the COVID-19, it resonates now more than ever. On one hand, we grow increasingly individualistic and, on the other, we need the comfort of community to get back to normal or something of the like. 

Singapore Pavilion | Photo Credit: Tomohisa-Miyauchi
Singapore Pavilion | Photo Credit: Tomohisa-Miyauchi
Spanish Pavilion | Photo Credit: Subliminal
Spanish Pavilion | Photo Credit: Subliminal

Founded in 1895, La Biennale di Venezia, has stretched the boundaries of what architecture means and how it contributes to the future of mankind for over 125 years, making it among the most prestigious cultural organisations in the world. The 17th edition recognises that architecture, just like other artistic expressions, finds its raison d’être in the ties it shares with life and society. Curated by Lebanese architect Hashim Sarkis, the biennale works around five themes — “Among Diverse Beings”, “As New Households”, “As Emerging Communities”, “Across Borders” and “As One Planet”, with a host of exhibitions under each, exploring the emergence of a new way of adapting and adopting while still staying true to our core values that make us human.

Singapore Pavilion | Photo Credit: gerdastudio
Singapore Pavilion | Photo Credit: gerdastudio
Great Britain Pavilion | Photo Credit: Cristiano Corte/British-Council
Great Britain Pavilion | Photo Credit: Cristiano Corte/British-Council

112 contributors from over 90 countries are participating in this megafest that first opened its doors in May and will curtain on November 21. Architecture’s spatial and material science forms the very basis of how culture organises itself in a society, its influence pervading into everything we do. Understanding this impact, the international exhibition is also an active collaboration with other professions and constituencies — artists, builders, engineers, and craftspeople, but also politicians, journalists, social scientists, and everyday citizens. In effect, the Biennale aims to assert the vital role of the architect as both cordial convener and custodian of the spatial contract.

Philippines Pavilion | Photo Credit: Andrea D Altoe
Philippines Pavilion | Photo Credit: Andrea D Altoe
Mahalla Uzbekistan Pavilion | Photo Credit: Giorgio De Vecchi/Giulia Di Lenarda/gerdastudio
Mahalla Uzbekistan Pavilion | Photo Credit: Giorgio De Vecchi/Giulia Di Lenarda/gerdastudio

Caravane Earth, a foundation striving to facilitate intercultural dialogue and sustainable participation of arts, agriculture and education, also finds itself at the Venice Architecture Biennale with a unique exhibit — the majlis. A meeting place, majlis are bamboo structures with a woven woollen roof, with a heritage in pre-Islamic Arabia. These culturally multilayered nomadic statement pieces at the Biennale were brought to life by architects Simón Vélez and Stefana Simic, in collaboration with world traveller, crafts, textile and gathering expert Prerna Saraff.

Photo Credit: Caravane Foundation
Photo Credit: Caravane Foundation
Photo Credit: Caravane Foundation
Photo Credit: Caravane Foundation

In a world that is constantly changing, while also being in conflict with its various selves — pandemic, immigration, political crisis, inclusivity — accommodating space and being across geographies, genres and generations has never been more important. Addressing immediate needs, especially those sprung by the coronavirus, while also being conscious of a future where humans converge and diverge at the same time and in irregular patterns, is a challenge the Venice Biennale tackles. The future at any given point is just an inch away from now and it’s never too early to begin the conversation. So, “How will we live together?” Despite it all.

Mexico Pavillion | Photo Credit: Dima Stouhi
Mexico Pavillion | Photo Credit: Dima Stouhi
Austrian Pavilion | Photo Credit: Ugo Carmeni
Austrian Pavilion | Photo Credit: Ugo Carmeni

The Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 can be visited until November 21 and tickets can be booked here

Chile Pavilion | Photo Credit: gerdastudio
Chile Pavilion | Photo Credit: gerdastudio
Dutch Pavilion | Photo Credit: Cristiano Corte
Dutch Pavilion | Photo Credit: Cristiano Corte
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