The Venice Biennale of Architecture, the most prominent architectural exhibition in the world, is held
every two years in Venice. Historically speaking, the Venice Biennale of Architecture emerged as an
offshoot of the Venice Art Biennale, whose history goes back over a century. In 1975, the Venice Art
Biennale held its first architectural exhibit. In 1980, the architectural section of the Biennale finally
seceded from the Art Biennale. The Architecture Biennale only became a regular exhibition in 2000,
alternating from this time with the Art Biennale. Since then, the Biennale curators have been British
architect David Chipperfield (2012, Biennale theme - Common Ground), Japanese architect Kazuyo
Sejima (2010, Biennale theme - People Meet in Architecture), American architectural critic Aaron
Betsky (2008, Biennale theme - Out There: Architecture beyond Building), British design historian
Deyan Sudjic (2002, Biennale theme - Next), Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas (2000, Biennale
theme - Less Aesthetics, More Ethics), and others.
Unlike the Art Biennale, the Venice Biennale of Architecture has been for a long time mostly popular
within the professional community, more so than in the general public, so the architecture exhibition
only lasted three months, from August to November. In 2014, the exhibition will be six months long, the
management of the Biennale and the curator of the exhibition, Rem Koolhaas, want to show that
architecture can be no less attractive than modern art.
The exhibition is the place to show the art world architectural stars. Permanent participants include
Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Daniel Libeskind, Odile Decq, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers,
Thom Mayne, Hani Rashid, Toyo Ito, Pierre de Meuron, Jacques Herzog, Eric Moss, Rem Koolhaas, and
The exhibition is divided into two parts. The first part is the main exhibition hall (the former Italian
Pavilion), for which the curator of the Biennale is responsible. The second part of the exhibition is the
national pavilions. Some of them are located in the Giardini Gardens, and some are scattered throughout
Venice. The national pavilions of Germany, France, England, Hungary (formerly Austria), Russia, and the
United States were built in the first half of the twentieth century. They formed a complex of pavilions in
the Giardini Gardens. In 1998, the Arsenale was also used as a Biennale site, in which there are large
international exhibitions that are part of the main project, as well as national exhibitions. The Italian
Pavilion is also located at the Arsenale.
As at the Venice Film Festival, the Venice Biennale of Architecture confers Golden and Silver Lions in
several categories. In 2012, the Golden Lion of the XIII Venice Biennale of Architecture was awarded to the British-Venezuelan project Torre David / Gran Horizonte, which was created by architecture critic and director of the publishing program of Strelka Institute, Justin McGuirk with Urban-Think Tank, an interdisciplinary design studio.
In 2014, 65 countries will participate in the exhibition, 11 of them for the first time.
The Biennale will start with a preview on the 5th and 6th of June.