kazuyo sejima appointed director of the venice architecture biennale 2010
kazuyo sejima appointed director of the venice architecture biennale 2010 kazuyo sejima appointed director of the venice architecture biennale 2010
nov 09, 2009

kazuyo sejima appointed director of the venice architecture biennale 2010

kazuyo sejima by annie leibovitz for vogue

the japanese architect kazuyo sejima is the first woman to direct the venice architecture biennale, since its inception. recent directors of the venice biennale’s architecture section include: massimiliano fuksas (2000), deyan sudjic (2002), kurt w. forster (2004), richard burdett (2006), and aaron betsky (2008).

under the theme ‘people meet in architecture’, 54 countries are participating in the 12th international architecture exhibition, from august 29 to november 21, 2010.

traditionally, the architecture biennale opening date has been mid september; an earlier date should allow many more people to attend the event at the giardini and at the arsenale (and in various other venues in venice).

explaining her concept for the event, sejima said : ‘the idea is to help people relate to architecture, help architecture relate to people and help people relate to themselves. there will be independent spaces for each architect or each theme, which means that the participants will be their own curators. In this way contributors will design their own space and make presentations that consider the experience of the visitor both physically and conceptually. It will be a series of spaces rather than a series of objects.’

also, there will be greater involvement of the universities and a new feature: ‘the architecture saturdays’. it consist in a series of conversations, performances and weekly discussions with architects, critics and personalities from the world of italian and international architecture throughout the entire period of the exhibition. every saturday there will be a meeting led, in addition to the director kazuyo sejima, by every director of the former editions of the exhibition: vittorio gregotti (1975, 1976, 1978), paolo portoghesi (1980, 1982, 1992), francesco dal co (1988, 1991), hans hollein (1996), massimiliano fuksas (2000), deyan sudjic (2002), kurt w. forster (2004), richard burdett (2006), and aaron betsky (2008).

SANAA duo ryue nishizawa (left) and kazuyo sejima by yoshiaki miur

‘the buildings, the atmosphere they create and the way they are designed may be a central point of departure for the next venice architecture biennale.(…)

now that we are in the twenty-first century, we can take this opportunity to step back and assess the spirit of our current times through this international exhibition of architecture, exploring the essence of contemporary architecture and the importance of new relationships when we enter the future.

a significant point of departure could be the concept of boundaries and the adaptation of space.(…) it could be argued that contemporary architecture is an afterthought and perhaps and easing of borders themselves.’ – KS


    The Biennale must be everything and anything, fundamentally inclusive, in dialogue with both contributors and visitors. Buildings, the atmosphere that they create and the way in which they are conceived, can be the central starting point of the coming Biennale. Very broadly, the process by which we design can be brought to bear on contemporary and future architectural discussion. I.e. we can select and arrange works such that they are understood as they are rather than as representations. This can be manifested with an architecture grounded in its use by people.

    We are now well into the 21st Century. We can take this opportunity to step back and assess the zeitgeist of now through the process of the Biennale. This can clarify contemporary essentials of architecture and the importance of new relationships as we step into the future.

    One potent point of departure could be the boundaries and adaptation of space. This might include the removal of boundaries, as well as their clarification. Any part of architecture’s inherent multiplicity of adjacencies can become a topic. It might be argued that contemporary architecture is a rethinking and perhaps softening of those borders.

    inside and outside
    individual and public
    program and form (form and function)
    physical and virtual
    contemporary and classical
    past and future
    harmony and discord
    structure partition
    art and architecture
    nature and man

    Perhaps the oxymoron can represent a productive new paradigm; can these binaries (intersections of public/private, global/local, artificial/natural, monumental/mundane, complex/simple, symbolic/pragmatic, fake/authentic, active/passive, thickness/thinness) lead to a duality capable of blurring these boundaries? How can the unexpected interdependency of extraordinary spaces create a communal/symbiotic dialogue between adjacencies?

    Equally, there is another thread of interest; people in architecture, human encounters in both public and private scenarios, both as creators and users. This is an issue of individual life in interplay with the community. It may be as simple as ‘people meet in architecture.’

    In its totality the Biennale can both a new and active forum for contemporary ideas as well as a close reading of buildings themselves.

    sam says:

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