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All Eyes on Ireland - FREESPACE, La Biennale di Venezia, Opens to the Public on 26 May

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018


Open to the public from Saturday 26 May to Sunday 25 November 2018, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, titled FREESPACE, is curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. Speaking in Venice on 24 May at a Press Conference attended by international media, Shelley and Yvonne described their concept FREESPACE as "the space in architecture where a generosity of spirit can be found".  They described architecture as a "hugely optimistically profession" saying that as "an architect you get to imagine the future for each project".  They also stated that "architecture is not linear" and that the architecture of the past has a place in the Biennale. In their special section 'Close Encounter' - located in a prominent position in the Central Pavilion - 16 Irish architectural practices respond to an existing building or urban space.

President of la Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, said "each Biennale is the result of the generosity of its curators and the more couragous a curator is, the clearer is their choice". He praised Shelley and Yvonne for a series of bold moves in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition. The Curators revealed the Biennale space in the Arsenale in its original condition and introduced natural light as well as a strong focus on the craft of making. Paolo Baratta concluded by  saying that "architecture is most political of the arts - it can provide the space for us and the quality of the space in which we live".  The Biennale continues until 25 November. The RIAI are supporters of FREESPACE and of the Irish Pavilion Free Market and will undertake a special Members' Study Trip from 26-29 October.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara have used the Manifesto FREESPACE, issued in June 2017, as a reference point for putting this Exhibition together. "We have found it to be a robust tool" they stated. "It has acted as a measure and a guide to finding cohesion within the diversity of an Exhibition of this enormous scale"

The Exhibition FREESPACE extends from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale, and includes 71 participants, who are joined by others gathered in two Special Sections: the first numbering, 16 participants, is titled Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects and will present works that originate in a reflection on well-known buildings of the past; the second which counts, 13 participants, and is titled The Practice of Teaching, will collect projects developed as part of teaching experiences.

Among the 71 participants are Irish architects: de Blacam and Meagher; Níall McLaughlin Architects; O’Donnell + Tuomey Architects and Belfast practice Hall McKnight. With regard to these sections, the Curators explained they have discovered “invention and creativity at the micro and macro scales historic buildings liberated by the intelligence of the architects; forgotten buildings re-visited and brought to life; transformative typologies of habitation; infrastructural needs translated into public and civic facilities." Furthermore, "a key component in attending to the continuity of tradition in architecture is the practice of teaching. Many of the invited practitioners are actively engaged in teaching. The world of making and building merges with the imaginative world that is highlighted within the Exhibition.”

“We are hugely appreciative of the enormous dedication and passion invested by the participants” the Curators stated. And finally, in relation to the meaning of the word FREESPACE, the Curators said they are “delighted with the global engagement of participants and participating counties in the process of its translation. When we were writing the Manifesto, we wanted primarily to include the word space. We also wanted a new use of everyday words, which could somehow cause us all to re-frame the additional component that we as a profession can contribute to humanity. We see architecture as the translation of need in its widest sense into meaningful space. In the effort to translate FREESPACE into the many wonderful languages of the world, we hope that it prises open the ‘gift’ which architectural invention has the potential to contribute with each project. Translation allows us all to map and rename intellectual as well as actual territory. It is our hope that the word FREESPACE allows us to burrow into the aspirations, ambitions and generosity of architecture.

16 Irish Practices to Feature in Close Encounter
The Biennale will also feature a special section – Close Encounter – where Irish architects respond to works of architecture.

Participants and Projects include:
A2 Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza, Museo-Fundación Oteiza, Alzuza, Spain
BOYD CODY Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Eileen Gray, E-1027, Roquebrune, and Tempe a païa, Castellar, Alpes Maritimes , France
Noreile Breen (Dublin, Ireland)
Luis Barragán, Casa Luis Barragán, Ciudad de México, Mexico
Bucholz McEvoy Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Frederick Law Olmstead, Delaware Park, Buffalo, USA
Carr Cotter & Naessens Architects (Cork, Ireland)
Auguste Perret, Salle Cortot, Paris, France
Clancy Moore Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Kay Otto Fisker, Hornbækhus, Københavns, Denmark
De Paor (Wicklow, Ireland)
Giovanni Michelucci, Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista “dell’Autostrada”, Campi Bisenzio, Firenze, Italy
Donaghy + Dimond Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Anhembi Tennis Club, São Paulo, Brazil
Kevin Donovan (Dublin, Ireland), Ryan W. Kennihan Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Jean Prouvé, Eugène Beaudouin, Marcel Lods, Vladimir Bodiansky, Maison du Peuple – Clichy,France
GKMP Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
José Antonio Coderch de Sentmenat, Edificio de viviendas Girasol, Madrid, Spain
Hassett Ducatez Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Angelo Mangiarotti, Bruno Morassutti, Edificio per abitazioni in via Quadronno 24, Milano, Italy
heneghan peng Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Gordon Bunshaft ‘Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’ (SOM), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, USA
Mary Laheen Architects (Dublin, Ireland), Aoibheann Ní Mhearáin (Dublin, Ireland)
Jean Rénaudie, Centre Jeanne Hachette, Ivry sur Seine, Paris, France
Steve Larkin Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Heikki and Kaija Siren, Otaniemi Chapel, Espoo, Finland
Dominic Stevens, JFOC Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Alejandro de la Sota, Maravillas Gymnasium, Madrid, Spain
TAKA Architects (Dublin, Ireland)
Rogelio Salmona, Centro Comunal y Recreativo Nueva Santa Fe, Bogotá, Colombia

Categories: Architecture | Event & Conferences | RIAI Press Release

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