the venice architecture biennale, originally scheduled for 2020, has now been postponed until 2021 — opening on may 22 and closing on november 21. the decision was made after the event’s organizers said it was impossible to successfully present such a complex exhibition in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been particularly destructive in northern italy. ‘the current situation, up to now, has definitely prejudiced the realization of the exhibition in its entirety, jeopardizing the realization, transport and presence of the works and consequently the quality of the exhibition itself,’ says la biennale.


as part of designboom’s coverage of the 2020 venice architecture biennale, we had prepared a series of preview videos. the videos, the first of which can be seen at the top of this page, will now be updated with more information to follow soon.


for the theme, sarkis has chosen a question: how will we live together? intended to offer possibilities for a new spatial contract in the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequality, the theme takes on even greater significance during this uncertain time.

venice architecture biennale
curator hashim sarkis | image by jacopo salvi, courtesy la biennale di venezia
(main image) image by francesco galli, courtesy of la biennale di venezia



the biennale also listened to curator hashim sarkis who conveyed the logistical difficulties of the architects, countries, and institutions involved. ‘I am deeply moved by the perseverance of all the participants during the last three months,’ says sarkis. ‘I hope that the new opening date will allow them first to catch their breath, and then to complete their work with the time and vigor it truly deserves. we did not plan it this way. neither the question I asked ‘how will we live together?’ nor the wealth of ways in response to it, were meant to address the crisis they are living, but here we are.’

venice architecture biennale
image by giulio squillacciotti, courtesy la biennale di venezia



hashim sarkis adds that the rescheduled event will now take into account the ‘immediate and longer-term implications’ of the pandemic. ‘we are in some ways fortunate because we are well equipped to absorb the immediate and longer-term implications of the crisis into the biennale architettura 2021. the theme does also provide us with the possibility to respond to the pandemic in its immediacy. this is why we will return to venice in the coming months for a series of activities devoted to the architecture.’

venice architecture biennale
overview of the arsenale
image by andrea avezzù, courtesy la biennale di venezia



‘the last few days have clarified the real state of the situation we are all facing,’ adds president of la biennale roberto cicutto. ‘with the utmost respect for the work done by all of us, the investments made by the participants, and considering the difficulties that all countries, institutions, universities, architectural studios have met together with the uncertainty of the shipments, personal travel restraints and COVID-19 protective measures that are being and were be adopted, we have decided to listen to those, the majority, who requested that the biennale architettura be postponed. I have received many messages asking for a postponement to 2021.’


the 59th international art exhibition, curated by cecilia alemani, which was supposed to take place in 2021, has been postponed until 2022.