Skip to content

In 2012, David Chipperfield was appointed to direct the 13th International Architecture Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta. The celebrated exhibition draws together over 60 independent entries as well as the participation of national pavilions across the 10,000 square metre site that stretches from the Central Pavilion at the Giardini to the Arsenale.

David Chipperfield, working in collaboration with Rik Nys, Shumi Bose, Kieran Long and Jaffer Kolb, proposed the theme of ‘Common Ground’ in order to encourage the architects ‘to react against the prevalent professional and cultural tendencies of our time that place such emphasis on individual and isolated actions’, instead calling for entries which would ‘demonstrate the importance of influence and of the continuity of cultural endeavour, to illustrate common and shared ideas that form the basis of an architectural culture’. The theme also encouraged the profession to consider the wider relationships and resonances between architecture, society, ecology and technology.

In total, 69 projects by architects, photographers, artists, critics and scholars were selected for the exhibition. The Golden Lion was awarded to the recreation of a Caracas café by Urban-Think Tank and Justin McGuirk. The installation provided an insight into the ‘Torre de David’, an abandoned unfinished banking skyscraper was transformed into an informal vertical community which demonstrates the ways in which cities develop their own systems. Other entries included photographs by Hélène Binet of the work of Nicholas Hawksmoor; “The Museum of Copying” including a model of Palladio’s Villa Rotonda by FAT; an exhibit by Herzog and de Meuron on the challenges of bringing the Elbphilharmonie to life.

Exhibition graphics designed by John Morgan studio. 

Images by Rik Nys, Marco Zanta and Francesco Galli courtesy of la Biennale di Venezia.