hashim sarkis announces title and theme for 2020 venice architecture biennale

hashim sarkis announces title and theme for 2020 venice architecture biennale

hashim sarkis, the curator of the 2020 venice architecture biennale, has titled the event ‘how will we live together?’. the theme was announced at a press conference at ca’ giustinian in venice where the 17th international architecture exhibition was officially launched. ‘we need a new spatial contract,’ says hashim sarkis, who is professor and dean of the school of architecture and planning at the massachusetts institute of technology. ‘in the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together.’

all images courtesy of la biennale



sarkis was speaking alongside the president of la biennale di venezia, paolo baratta, who confirmed that the biennial event will take place from may 23 to november 29, 2020 at the giardini and the arsenale, as well as around other venues in venice. ‘we expect from hashim sarkis’ research and from the individual participating countries a number of examples that besides informing us on the different realities and the current trends and conflicts, can let us imagine a world at work to face those issues, and in particular a world of architecture committed to thinking, imagining and realizing new solutions,’ baratta says.

hashim sarkis and paolo baratta, president of la biennale di venezia



as usual, the 17th international architecture exhibition will also present the national participations with their own exhibitions in the pavilions at the giardini and the arsenale, as well as around the historic city center of venice. this edition will also include selected collateral events, presented by international institutions, which will organize their exhibitions and initiatives in venice concurrently with the 17th exhibition. read hashim sarkis’ statement in full below.




we need a new spatial contract. in the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together: together as human beings who, despite our increasing individuality, yearn to connect with one another and with other species across digital and real space; together as new households looking for more diverse and dignified spaces for inhabitation; together as emerging communities that demand equity, inclusion and spatial identity; together across political borders to imagine new geographies of association; and together as a planet facing crises that require global action for us to continue living at all.


the architects invited to participate in biennale architettura 2020 are encouraged to engage other professions and constituencies — artists, builders, and craftspeople, but also politicians, journalists, social scientists, and everyday citizens. in effect, biennale architettura 2020 asserts the overlooked role of the architect as both cordial convener and custodian of the spatial contract.


in parallel, biennale architettura 2020 also maintains that it is in its material, spatial, and cultural specificity that architecture inspires the ways we live together. in that respect, we ask the participants to highlight those aspects of the main theme that are uniquely architectural.


the curators of the national participations are called upon to address one or more of the sub-themes of the exhibition. the need for more inclusive social housing and equipment or for more connective urban and territorial tissue remains as pressing in emerging economies as in advanced ones.


the year 2020 has often been referred to as a milestone on the path to a better future. many nations and cities have devised a ‘vision 2020.’ the year is upon us. we look to the collective architectural imagination to meet this momentous occasion with creativity and courage.hashim sarkis, curator of the 17th international architecture exhibition.

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