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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - British Pavilion Open Call, Venice Architecture Biennale 2014

10 June 2013
by Alastair Donald


The British Council has launched an open call for proposals for the British Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia.  The title of the 2014 Biennale is “Fundamentals” and overall Director Rem Koolhaas has called on national pavilions to respond to the theme “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014”.


Full details of the open call including the brief and application form can be found here.


A number of questions have arisen in response to the brief and below we publish the answers.


Do you have a budget figure we should work to?

  • The outline budget will not form part of the judging criteria and proposals will not be assessed on the lowest cost. At this stage our main aspiration is to secure original research proposals along with a vision and coherent curatorial narrative for the exhibition.
  • On selection of the winner, we will fix the budget in consultation with the appointed team. The request for an indicative budget is intended to give a general idea of potential costs. It will help assure the advisory committee that if selected then the scale and ambition of the exhibition proposal has been properly thought through and will, broadly speaking, be realisable within the outline budget.
  • That said, as an initial guide, the British Council is committed to providing an overall production budget of approximately £110,000 which is in line with the each of the last two architecture biennales.
  • Please note that this budget will cover work beyond the immediate scope of this proposal.  So in addition to content, materials and fabrication which should be included, the production budget will also cover additional works such as the exhibition design and graphics, design and production of the exhibition guide, and maintenance costs.   We are keen to hold an ambitious programme of public events and depending on sponsorship (see below) this programme may also be required to draw on this budget.
  • Finally, another reason for not viewing the budget as fixed is that we are actively searching for sponsorship to realise additional funds. We are open to working with a variety of partners – including, should they wish, the appointed team – to enlarge the budget for the exhibition and associated programme of events.

Would the British Council look favourably on proposals that can provide some funding themselves or will funding be organised solely by the British Council?

  • The ability to provide additional funding is not part of the selection criteria. However, we are certainly not averse to exploring whether the exhibition could be supported by additional resources.

Considering the display of archive material such as historic drawings, should it be assumed that ‘climate control’ within the Pavilion will be provided by the British Council?

  • The British Council will provide dehumidifying equipment that is used as standard in the British Pavilion for the Art Biennale. Should you anticipate requiring specialist equipment or vitrines then this will need to be included within your outline budget proposal.  Please note that due to its size, it is inadvisable to use the central gallery space for pieces with high climatic sensitivities. Should archival material be likely to incur specialised freighting arrangements, then this too should be considered within the indicative budget.

Are we allowed to include visuals (photographs, sketches etc) as part of the 1,000 word description of our project?

  • Yes, including visuals as part of the outline proposal is acceptable.  But do please ensure that the email submission inclusive of proposal, outline budget breakdown and key biographies of the project team does not exceed 5MB.

We have a number of exhibition ideas. Are we permitted to submit more than one proposal?

  • Yes, multiple proposals are acceptable.  However, each proposal should be treated as an independent submission and sent (along with the relevant outline budget and project team biographies) via a dedicated email.

Do you have any additional drawings and images of the exhibition space within the British Pavilion?

  • Additional layout details of the British Pavilion can be download here. Included are detailed floor plans (with floor to ceiling heights and all door sizes), and a selection of internal images of the pavilion.