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Architecture + Urbanism recommends "Common Ground: 13th Venice Architecture Biennale"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

29 August - 25 November 2012 Venice

          “The emphasis of the 2012 Biennale – explains Director David Chipperfield – is on what we have in common. Above all, the ambition of Common Ground is to reassert the existence of an architectural culture, made up not just of singular talents but a rich continuity of diverse ideas united in a common history, common ambitions, common predicaments and ideals. We began with a desire to emphasise shared ideas over individual authorship, and realized that this required us to initiate dialogues rather simply make a selection of individuals. We began by asking a limited group of architects to develop ideas that might lead to further invitations: everyone was asked to propose a project along with a dialogue that reacted to the theme and showed architecture in its context of influence and affinity, history and language, city and culture.
The final list of contributors demonstrates a rich culture of difference rather than a selection of edited and promoted positions. We want to emphasise the common ground that the profession shares, notwithstanding the apparent diversity of today’s architectural production. The sharing of differences is critical to the idea of an architectural culture.”
          “The role of the architect – clarifies Chipperfield - is at best one of critical compliance. Architects can only operate through the mechanisms that commission them and which regulate their efforts. Our ideas are dependent on and validated by the reaction of society. This relationship is not only practical but concerns the very meaning of our work. In the increasingly complex confrontation between the commercial motivations of development and our persistent desire for a humane environment there seems to be little dialogue. If architecture is to be more than the privileged, exceptional moments of our built world, we must find a more engaged collaboration of talents and resources. Common Ground invites us to consider how these shared perceptions, concerns and expectations may be better directed.”

A short film of the 2008 Biennale is available here, and a brief comment on the 2010 Biennale is available here.

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