British Council Architecture Design Fashion

Menu Show search

Call for Participation: Venice Architecture Biennale 2016

British Pavilion   John Riddy

John Riddy

British Pavilion
Alejandro Aravena: La Biennale Artistic Director 2016 Cristobal Palma

Cristobal Palma

Alejandro Aravena: La Biennale Artistic Director 2016

6 August 2015

The British Council has launched an open call for exhibition proposals for the British Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. The Biennale will take place from 26 May to 27 November 2016. 

The Artistic Director for 2016, Alejandro Aravena, has stated that the international exhibition will be about “focusing and learning from architectures that through intelligence, intuition, or both of them at the same time, are able to escape the status quo.”  The full statement from La Biennale can be found here.

The British Council is seeking expressions of interest in the form of short concept proposals for the theme and visual language of the exhibition.  The proposals should contribute an acute observation of contemporary British architecture. You might critically analyse architectural practice or exemplary work where architecture makes a difference.  We are also interested in the means by which these observations will be expressed and communicated to a wide audience, and the discussion that they will generate between professionals and the public. 

Commissioner of the British Pavilion, Vicky Richardson, said: “We see the 2016 British Pavilion as an opportunity to take a good look at British architecture in all its forms, whether built work or critical ideas.  There are many ways to approach this and we welcome bold and imaginative ideas for the format as well as the content of the exhibition.”

We are looking for an exhibition team which will include an architect and/or designer, and might also include researchers, artists, critics or other interested parties. The team will undertake multiple roles including conducting research and developing an original vision and coherent curatorial narrative, producing or sourcing all exhibition material, producing detailed designs for the exhibition and working with a production team to build it.   

Selection Process

Selection will be via a two stage process: -

Stage 1:  Initial expressions of interest will take the form of a short, illustrated concept statement. Proposals must be received by 12pm on 11 September 2015.

Stage 2: Three teams will be invited to work up a fully developed exhibition concept, which will be presented to the Selection panel.  Final detailed proposals to be received by 5pm, 9 October 2015

The Selection panel will select one team to work collaboratively with the British Council, which will be responsible for project managing the exhibition production and catalogue, and developing the associated programme of events. 

Full details of the open call including who should apply and the selection criteria can be found here

Download the application form here

Download plans and elevations of the British Pavilion here

For more information follow @british_design  #BritishPavilion2016  #Venice2016

For more information about the British Council contact:

Mary Doherty, Press Officer: // 0207 389 3144

The British Pavilion curatorial team will be chosen by the following panel:

A Selection panel chaired by the Vicky Richardson will select the exhibition team through the open call.  The British Council and Selection panel are unable to give feedback on non-shortlisted proposals. The panel are:

Chair: Vicky Richardson, Director of Architecture Design Fashion, British Council

Rob Gregory, Programme manager at Bristol Architecture Centre, History and Theory Course leader at University of Bath

Eddie Heathcote, Architecture and Design Critic for the Financial Times

Joanna Hogg, filmmaker and curator

Charlie Hussey, Director of Sutherland Hussey Harris

Marie Bak Mortensen, Head of Exhibitions, RIBA

Teresa Stoppani, Professor of Architecture and Head of The Leeds School of Architecture at Leeds Beckett University

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations. We build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people worldwide. 
The British Council’s global arts team works with the best of British creative talent to develop innovative, high-quality events and collaborations that link thousands of artists and cultural institutions around the world, drawing them into a closer relationship with the UK.
The Architecture, Design, Fashion department develops exhibitions, seminars, workshops, collaborative projects, educational initiatives and specialists’ visits to the UK in conjunction with our colleagues and partners in over 100 countries. We also provide information on British architecture, design and fashion across the globe.

About the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale
Since 1938 the British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion in Venice, showing the highest calibre of British artists including Henry Moore, Lucian Freud, Anish Kapoor, Mike Nelson and Jeremy Deller. The British Pavilion is one of the oldest buildings in the Giardini Pubblici, where the main hub of the Biennale is held, alongside 32 other national pavilions.

Since 1991 the British Council has also commissioned the British entry to the Architecture Biennale which takes places in alternate years. Since its inception, the Biennale has given a vital international platform to architectural practice and the key issues of society and space that are implicit.  In 2014, the British Pavilion hosted A Clockwork Jerusalem by FAT Architecture and Crimson Architectural Historians. In 2012 Venice Takeaway presented the research of 10 architectural teams examining work from around the world, while in 2010 under the direction of MUF, the Pavilion presented an exhibition Villa Frankenstein.

We aspire to tour the exhibition internationally and to bring it to the UK. In 2015, the Architectural Association in London hosted A Clockwork Jerusalem and 2013 The British Pavilion exhibition, Venice Takeaway, travelled to London in partnership with RIBA.