Venice Architecture Biennale has record year with boom in younger visitors | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 01.12.2016
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Venice Architecture Biennale has record year with boom in younger visitors

The curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale, Alejandro Aravena, has reflected on a record year with 260,000 visitors. He said the event's aim was to identify architectural questions and give practical answers.

Italien Architekturbiennale 2016 Venedig (Getty Images/AFP/V. Pinto)

Curator Alejandro Aravena's work was presented at the opening of the Biennale

The six-month exhibition "Reporting from the Front" attracted a record number of visitors under the age of 26 years, who represented 45 percent of the total attendees. The Biennale also welcomed a number of non-architects, including actress Natalie Portman, film directors John Landis, Sam Mendes and Joshua Oppenheimer and Italian singer-songwriter Jovanotti.

Talking to DW at the closing event on Sunday, curator Alejandro Aravena said the greatest success of the Biennale had been its ability to attract young people and boost visitor numbers overall. "The exhibition was not just a way to share knowledge: we were creating an experience," he said. "Learning happens first of all through emotions, and this is exactly what an Architecture Exhibition can offer: emotions that generate and spread knowledge."

"We wanted to show that the role of architecture is to identify the right questions and give practical answers," the Chilean archictect said. "I hope this Biennale Architettura gave all architects new tools to improve people's quality of life." Of the 88 architects involved in the exhibition, thirty of them were 40-years-old or younger. 

The total number of visitors to the 15th edition of the Venice Architecure Biennale rose by 14 percent to 259,725, with 14,180 coming to the preview events. 

Special projects

There were a series of special projects during the exhibition. This year also saw the addition of the Applied Arts Pavilion, in collaboration with London's Victoria and Albert Museum, London and with Google to make the Biennale fully available on Google Arts and Culture.

Venedig Biennale Abschlussveranstaltung 2016 (DW/J. McIntosh)

Venice Biennale curator Alejandro Aravena (center) with Biobridge's Antoine Turzi and Caroline Murat

Private exhibitions forming part of the Biennale for the first time included the Biobridge Foundation's "Therapy for Living," which tracked two thousand years of history between Venice and China, through the Silk Road trade route. A collection of jade objects, imperial seals and pictorial scrolls was used to represent the architecture of nature.

President of the Architecture Biennale, Paolo Baratta, said, "Biennale Architettura has become the most significant point of reference for the world of architecture. Aravena's Exhibition will be remembered: it offered many inspiring moments to reflect upon the possibility for the civil society to better organise the spaces where people live, whether in the heart ofcities or their margins."

Germany was one of the 65 national participants. Its pavilion at the Biennale focused on simple shelters used to house asylum seekers. The structures, designed and developed to deal with the influx of migrants into Europe from Africa and the Middle East, were a contrast to Germany's 2014 submission - a scale replica of the former German Chancellor's residence.


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