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La Biennale Di Venezia


Saudi Arabia will be participating for the first time at the International Architecture exhibition at the Venice Biennale. The Exhibition will also include sixty-three National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. Other than Saudi Arabia, six countries will be participating for the very first time including Pakistan and Lebanon. 71 architects from all over the world “make responses to the Manifesto by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, in order to reveal the ‘Freespace’ ingredient embedded in their work”.  Peter Rich Architects from Johannesburg will be exhibiting. Unfortunately, South Africa will not have a country pavilion this year.


Rub' al Khali or Empty Quarter is the largest sand desert on earth. 12 December 2008. Photographer: Nepenthes. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.Rub’ al Khali or Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia is the largest sand desert on earth. 12 December 2008. Photographer: Nepenthes. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


The Saudi pavilion is being organized by the Misk Art Institute and will focus on a vision for the future of urban development in the Kingdom. The pavilion will exhibit the overall theme of this year’s event which is titled ‘Freespace’. The Saudi pavilion is curated by architectural researcher Jawaher Al-Sudairy and the Dean of Faculty of Design at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dr Sumayah Al-Solaiman.


Saudi Arabia pavilion debuts at La Biennale di Venezia for ArchitectureLa Biennale di Venezia, 2017.

With the aim of promoting the “desire” of architecture, President Baratta explained that “this edition curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara focuses on the question of space, the quality of space, open and free space. The fundamental parameter of reference is indicated with great clarity”.

The Saudi pavilion thus translates this theme by presenting the idea that “empty spaces create many opportunities as they attract passers-by, visitors and tenants”.

Open to the public from Saturday, May 26th to Sunday, November 25th, 2018, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, titled ‘Freespace’ will be curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. The preview will take place on May 24thand 25th.

Sara Moneer Khan is a writer on ART AFRICA‘s editorial team.

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