The architect’s ability to contribute to people’s life revitalization in a wide range of situations: on a planet about to face environmental collapse; in life after natural disasters in large cities and small villages; in domestic and cultural border areas; in contexts characterized by informality. These themes, which will shape some of the debates at the World Congress of Architects to be held in Rio in July 2020, are also in the agenda of the 2018 Venice Biennale, which takes place until November 25th.
The Brazilian Institute of Architects national chairperson and one the 2020 World Congress of Architects curators, Andrade returned to the Italian city a few days ago and highlights for the UIA 2020 Rio website some of the projects that most represent the bridge between the debates at the 2020 congress and the current 2018 Venice Biennale.
- Several countries in their pavilions - in addition to many projects selected by the curators Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell - approach themes that are closely related to our proposals - says Andrade who, in the last 20 years, has visited almost all Biennale editions and has a sharp eye for everything presented at the event.
Next, Andrade’s highlights:
1. One of UIA2020RIO four themes is “Transitorities and Flows”, and one of the issues we intend to debate is borders and migrations. This is a core issue of Germany’s Pavilion, which exhibits many former border spaces between East and West Germany, telling the story of how these spaces were sown together after the reunification.
Also among the highlights is the United States’ Pavilion, which brings the Mexus project (a blend of Mexico and United State) - a partnership between Teddy Cruz and the political scientist Fonna Forman. The duo does not see the controversial border between the two countries as a dividing line, but as a single region that shares culture, economy and environment. In the project, they erase the narrow political border and create a new bordering region of about 154,000 miles: Mexus!
2. Another 2020 World Congress theme is “Changes and Emergencies”, and among those changes the ones that cause most impact on the world today are, unquestionably, climate changes. This theme is present at both the United States’ and China’s Pavilions. In very different ways, though. The United States exhibit several projects that deal with this issue and debate, how we, architects, can act on a planet at the verge of an environmental collapse. Nevertheless, China presents different post-earthquake reconstruction projects, which bring buildings that refer back to traditional architecture but now built with metal structures - which are more resistant and faster to assemble. It is an example of how architects can solve problems caused by natural disasters.
3. Still within the theme of “Changes and Emergencies”, another subtheme to be discussed in Rio is the social transformations that have promoted new ways of producing architecture. The France Pavilion brings very interesting works that show the revitalization of abandoned buildings all over the country. The projects were developed by collective of architects and with active participation of other social actors, including future users of such spaces, which will provide a new dimension of the professional work. We look forward to debating about them at the Congress.
4. Another one of the four UIA2020RIO themes is “Diversity and Mixture” and one of the issues we intend to discuss is the cultural diversity typical of modern cities which reflect on the architectural production. The Israel Pavilion analyses many projects from the last 40 years for the Israeli regions that are sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians and how these projects have tried to deal with the cultural diversity and their different meanings to each of those groups.
5. Another theme is “Fragilities and Inequalities”, which intends to debate the architect’s role in the improvement in the quality of life of people in context of precariousness and informality. The Egypt Pavilion talks about informality as an alternative urban order and shows Cairo streets as an example that such informality is something inherent to the city and should be understood as part of the solution to the urban space problem, and not as a problem.