For our upcoming PARIS, LA issue on ALTERNATIVE HABITATION, we have visited the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, titled Fundamentals and directed by Rem Koolhaas. In complement of a portfolio of images published in our issue, this week we will post on this blog images and videos from the Biennale.

The exhibition runs until November 23, 2014 in the Giardini, the Arsenale, and the city of Venice.


Paolo Baratta — chairman of la Biennale di Venezia
Presentation of this year’s edition

“With Rem Koolhaas we have created an exceptional, research-centered Architecture Biennale. Rem has planned an event that involves all of Biennale’s sectors, along with a bevy of researchers. Absorbing Modernity 1914–2014 has been proposed for the contribution of all the pavilions, and they too are involved in a substantial part of the overall research project, whose title is Fundamentals. The history of the past one hundred years prelude to the Elements of Architecture section hosted in the Central Pavilion, where the curator offers the contemporary world those elements that should represent the reference points for the discipline: for the architects but also for its dialogue with clients and society. Monditalia section with 41 research projects, reminds us of the complexity of this reality without complacency or prejudice, which is paradigmatic of what happens elsewhere in the world; complexities that must be deliberately experienced as sources of regeneration. While information gains new tools and updating becomes simpler, it is those dangers of conformity and indifference that preoccupy us; indifference and conformity lead to passiveness and even extinguish the desire for art and architecture. A Biennale exhibition has the duty to oppose this; it has to know how to trip up this move towards conformity and revitalize those desires. Rediscovering “points” of reference to better express those desires is one of the ambitions of the present research, which is of course addressed to the professionals but looks to the general public above all.”


Rem Koolhaas — director of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition
Fundamentals an exhibition of three main components

Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014 / National Pavilions
For the first time, the national pavilions are invited to respond to a single theme: 65 countries examine key moments from a century of modernization. Together, the presentations start to reveal how diverse material cultures and political environments transformed a generic modernity into a specific one. Participating countries show, each in their own way, a radical splintering of modernities in a century where the homogenizing process of globalization appeared to be the master narrative.

Monditalia / Arsenale
Also for the first time, Venice’s other biennales and festivals (Dance, Music, Theatre, Film) collaborate with architecture…
In a moment of crucial political change, we decided to look at Italy as a “fundamental” country, completely unique but also emblematic of a global situation where many countries are balancing between chaos and a realization of their full potential. The Arsenale presents a scan of Italy, established by 82 films, 41 architectural projects, and a merger of architecture with la biennale’s dance, music, theatre, and film sections. Each project in Monditalia concerns unique and specific conditions but together form a comprehensive portrait of the host country.

Elements of Architecture / Central Pavilions

This exhibition is the result of a two-year research studio with the Harvard Graduate School of Design and collaborations with a host of experts from industry and academia. Elements of Architecture looks under a microscope at the fundamentals of our buildings, used by any architect, anywhere, anytime: the floor, the wall, the ceiling, the roof, the door, the window, the façade, the balcony, the corridor, the fireplace, the toilet, the stair, the escalator, the elevator, the ramp. The exhibition is a selection of the most revealing, surprising, and unknown moments from a new book, Elements of Architecture, that reconstructs the global history of each element. It brings together ancient, past, current, and future versions of the elements in rooms that are each dedicated to a single element. To create diverse experiences, we have recreated a number of very different environments – archive, museum, factory, laboratory, mock-up, simulation…

Taken from La Biennale’s website: labiennale.org

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