Tuesday, June 3, 2014


The 14th International Architecture Exhibition, entitled Fundamentals, directed by Rem Koolhaas and organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, will be open to the public from June 7 through November 23, 2014, in the Giardini and the Arsenale. The preview will be held on June 5 and 6 and the award ceremony and inauguration will take place on June 7.


 66 National Participations will be exhibiting in the historic pavilions of the Giardini, the Arsenale, and the city of Venice. Among these, 10 countries will be participating in the Exhibition for the first time: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, New Zealand, and Turkey.

This year the Italian Pavilion is based in the Arsenale and organized by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities with PaBAAC (General Direction for landscape, fine arts, architecture and contemporary art). It is curated by Cino Zucchi.

The official Collateral Events of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition will be presented by international institutions that will hold their exhibitions and initiatives in various locations in the city.

“With Rem Koolhaas, our aim is to create an exceptional, research-centred Architecture Biennale, Paolo Baratta states. It will be significantly innovative as Rem has conceived a project that involves the entire Biennale, which fully exploits its potential.

"Let’s start with the pavilions, which are independently managed by the participating countries and whose presence is a unique prerogative of la Biennale di Venezia. In this edition, commissioners and curators were not simply informed of the theme assigned by our Director to “his own” Exhibition. Instead, a specific topic (Absorbing Modernity 1914–2014) has been offered to all of them.

Baratta continues: “la Biennale embraces various disciplines beyond Art and Architecture (Dance, Music, Theatre, and Cinema), and here too Koolhaas didn’t miss the opportunity. In the Monditalia section of the Exhibition, Dance, Music, Theatre and Cinema will be incorporated to epitomise the articulated and living contexts in which architecture may be conceived or imagined.

“This time the role taken on by our director differs greatly from arranging a stage for the works and ideas of the invited architects. The Exhibition is the result of research carried out under the guidance of the director and exhibited in alignment with his project.

“And here Koolhaas goes straight to the point. With great courage and ambition, after having traced the history of modernity over the past 100 years to the present, he identifies and presents the elements that should act as references for a generated relationship between us and architecture (Elements of Architecture).
“The specific goal for the Monditalia section of the Exhibition, at the Corderie, is to gather and illustrate significant dimensions of Italy by means of ad-hoc studies. The result aims to remind us of the complex Italian reality, which is paradigm of not just local but global complexities that must not be denied or concealed. By revealing these realities we are able to access references that are also able to inspire new architecture.

Rem Koolhaas states:

“Fundamentals consists of three interlocking exhibitions – Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Elements of Architecture and Monditalia – that together illuminate the past, present and future of our discipline. After several architecture Biennales dedicated to the celebration of the contemporary, Fundamentals will look at histories, attempt to reconstruct how architecture finds itself in its current situation, and speculate on its future.

“Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 is an invitation to the national pavilions to show, each in their own way, the process of the erasure of national characteristics in architecture in favor of the almost universal adoption of a single modern language and a single repertoire of typologies – a more complex process than we typically recognize, involving significant encounters between cultures, technical inventions, and hidden ways of remaining “national”.

“Elements of Architecture, in the Central Pavilion, will pay close attention to 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…

“Monditalia dedicates the Arsenale to a single theme – Italy – with exhibitions, events, and theatrical productions engaging architecture, politics, economics, religion, technology, industry. The other festivals of la Biennale di Venezia – film, dance, theatre, and music – will be mobilized to contribute to a comprehensive portrait of the host country.

• “Biennale Sessions” program for universities
The “Biennale Sessions” project istaking place for the fifth consecutive year. After the extraordinary success of the previous editions, la Biennale offers for the 14th edition the “Biennale Sessions” program directed at universities, fine arts academies, and research and educational institutions in the fields of architecture, visual arts and other associations. The goal of the “Biennale Sessions” is to encourage visits to the exhibition by groups of at least 50 students and teachers who will be assisted in the organization of their journey and stay. They will be able to organize seminars in a space made available to them free of charge by la Biennale. As of today, 47 international universities have already signed up for the “Biennale Sessions”.

• “Meetings on Architecture”
This year the “Meetings on Architecture”, organized by la Biennale, will be enriched by the Weekend Specials program, conceived as an essential part of the section Monditalia: conferences, workshops, performances and debates will run during the six months of the Exhibition. The 3rd International Conference “Archives and Exhibitions” will take place in October.

Educational activities are addressed to individuals and groups of students from schools of all grades, universities and architecture schools, professionals, companies, experts, fans and families. The activities, conducted by selected staff trained by la Biennale di Venezia, are aimed at actively involving participants in both guided itineraries and workshop activities.

• Catalogue, short guide, Elements of Architecture volume
The official catalogue of the 14th Exhibition (350 pages) is made up of the three sections of the 14th Exhibition: Absorbing modernity 1914- 2014, Elements of Architecture, Monditalia, and the Collateral Events. The catalogue is published in Italian and English. The short guide, in Italian and English, is an essential tool for visiting the Exhibition: it contains the short texts of the catalogue with useful information and maps. Catalogue and Guide are published by Marsilio Editori. Besides the catalogue there will be a volume of research: Elements of Architecture, dedicated to the fundamental elements of architecture and done in collaboration with a research team under Koolhaas’s direction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The three volumes and the graphic identity of Fundamentals are designed by Irma Boom.

The inauguration and awards ceremony of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition will be held on Saturday, June 7, at the Giardini, with the conferral of the official awards assigned by the international Jury.

The 14th International Architecture Exhibition is carried out also thanks to Rolex,Partner of the event, Japan Tobacco International, Foscarini, and Vela-Hello Venezia. Thanks also to Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

Our thanks to the Ministry of Culture, which at a challenging time for public finances is maintaining its decisive support, the local institutions that support la Biennale, the City of Venice and the Regione del Veneto. We extend our thanks to the authorities that are concerned with the buildings in which the Exhibition is held, and the Venice Soprintendenze.

Thanks to Rem Koolhaas's team and the Biennale's staff for making the Exhibition possible.
Thanks to the Directors of the Biennale Danza, Musica, Teatro and Cinema: Virgilio Sieni, Ivan Fedele, Àlex Rigola, and Alberto Barbera.
We would also like to thank our many donors, who have been essential in the realization of the 14th Exhibition.

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