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Architectural Design as Social Change: Reports from the Front Lines – The Nonprofit Quarterly (blog)


May 26, 2016; Next City

The 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, which opened last week and runs through late November, was curated by renowned Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, best known for drawing inspiration from and developing creative solutions for those living in the slums of Latin America. Aravena received the 2016 Pritzker Prize, considered architecture’s equivalent of a Nobel award.

The theme of the Venice exhibition is “Reporting From the Front,” and 37 countries have pavilions that offer architectural solutions to 21st-century urban social and infrastructure issues. In his curator’s statement, Aravena explains the thinking behind the exhibition:

“Reporting From the Front” will be about sharing with a broader audience, the work of people that are scrutinizing the horizon looking for new fields of action, facing issues like segregation, inequalities, peripheries, access to sanitation, natural disasters, housing shortage, migration, informality, crime, traffic, waste, pollution and participation of communities.

As described in the Next City article, some of the highlights of the exhibition include:

  • The U.S. pavilion, which “has taken its inspiration from Detroit…the subject of seemingly endless thought experiments in urbanism.”
  • The Brazilian pavilion, titled “Juntos” (“Together”), which “argues that rudimentary planning tools like street signage and bike lanes deserve lofty recognition because of the way they empower everyday…



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