Open to the public on Saturday 22 May, through Sunday 21 November 2021, the 17th International Architecture Exhibition by La Biennale di Venezia is curated by Hashim Sarkis.

Open to the public from Saturday 22 May through Sunday 21 November 2021, the 17th International Architecture Exhibition titled How will we live together? is curated by Hashim Sarkis and organized by La Biennale di Venezia at the Giardini, the Arsenale, and Forte Marghera, where 5 international participating architects have designed a project open to the public dedicated to children’s play (How will we play together?).

As New Households_Atelier Rita

Rafael Moneo will receive the Golden Lion at the opening of the Venice Biennale on 22 May 2021. An award that celebrates the Spanish architect for all his work.

Mérida, nave L. Casals by Rafael Moneo

63 national participations will bring to life the historic Pavilions in the Giardini, at the Arsenale, and in the historic city center of Venice, with 4 countries taking part in the Biennale Architettura for the first time: Grenada, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan Republic. The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, sponsored and promoted by the Ministry of Culture, General Direction for Contemporary Creativity, is curated by Alessandro Melis.

SOM_As Emerging Communities

The International Exhibition includes 112 participants in competition from 46 countries, with a growing delegation from Africa, Latin America, and Asia and with a comparable representation of men and women. The Exhibition is organized into five scales, three are exhibited in the Arsenale and two in the Central Pavilion: Among Diverse Beings, As New Households, As Emerging Communities, Across Borders, As One Planet.

Olalekan Jeyifous_Across Borders

The current global pandemic – affirms Hashim Sarkis – has no doubt made the question that this Biennale Architettura is asking all the more relevant and timely, even if somehow ironic, given the imposed isolation. It may indeed be a coincidence that the theme was proposed a few months before the pandemic. However, many of the reasons that initially led us to ask this question – the intensifying climate crisis, massive population displacements, political instabilities around the world, and growing racial, social, and economic inequalities, among others – have led us to this pandemic and have become all the more relevant. We can no longer wait for politicians to propose a path towards a better future. As politics continue to divide and isolate, we can offer alternative ways of living together through architecture. The Biennale Architettura 2021 is motivated by new kinds of problems that the world is putting in front of architecture, but it is also inspired by the emerging activism of young architects and the radical revisions being proposed by the profession of architecture to take on these challenges.”

The 2021 edition presents 17 Collateral Events, promoted by national and international non-profit entities and institutions, organized in various venues in the city, and includes a series of participations out of competition: Stations + Co-Habitats, research into the five scales with relative case studies developed by researchers from universities around the world (Architectural Association, American University of Beirut, The Bartlett, Columbia University, Cooper Union, ETH Zurich, Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development EiABC, ETSAM – Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, Harvard University, Hong Kong University, Iuav University of Venice, KIT Karlsruhe, KU Leuven, Rice University, and the Venice Lab, a consortium of research groups at MIT); the special participation by the Israeli artist Michal Rovner in the Central Pavilion; the special project by Studio Other Spaces (represented by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann) which presents UN Assembly for the Future, featuring contributions by all the participants; the theme of sports is the subject of an outdoor installation at the Giardini titled How will we play sport together?; a   special event by the Vuslat Foundation presents an installation by Giuseppe Penone at the Arsenale.

Across Borders_Maltzan_160108_6th Street Viaduct_Boyle_No Arch Stairs

For the fifth consecutive year, La Biennale di Venezia and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London present the Special Project at the Pavilion of Applied Arts (Arsenale, Sale d’Armi A) titled Three British Mosques. In collaboration with architect Shahed Saleem, the exhibition looks at the often undocumented do-it-yourself world of mosques adapted for this use. Created by La Biennale di Venezia.

If there is one architect who embodies most fittingly the theme of the Biennale Architettura 2021, it is Lina Bo Bardi, who is the recipient of the Special Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in memoriam of this year edition. The acknowledgment was recommended by Hashim Sarkis and approved by the Board of Directors of La Biennale di Venezia. “Her career as a designer, editor, curator, and activist reminds us of the role of the architect as convener and importantly, as the builder of collective visions – stated Sarkis. Lina Bo Bardi also exemplifies the perseverance of the architect in difficult times whether wars, political strife, or immigration, and her ability to remain creative, generous, and optimistic throughout.”

Lina Bo Bardi_Casa de Vidro_1952, © photo: Francisco Albuquerque
Courtesy of Instituto Bardi


This year the 17th International Architecture Exhibition will intersect with the 15th International Festival of Contemporary Dance from 23 July to 1 August, hosting at the Arsenale, in the section of the Exhibition titled Among Diverse Beings, the installations and dancers-choreographers of the Biennale College. Under the mentorship of the artistic director of Biennale Danza Wayne McGregor, they will create short choreographic fragments, “snapshots” or “sketches” inspired by the signs, materials, and themes of the Architecture Exhibition.


The program of the 17th Exhibition is complemented by the Meetings on Architecture, encounters with architects, scholars, and professionals from around the world. The protagonists will attempt to answer the question How will we live together? in a series of dialogues focusing on the new challenges that climate change brings to architecture, on the role of public space in the recent urban uprisings, on the new techniques of reconstruction and the changing forms of a collective building; on the architecture of education and the education of the architect, on the relationship between curating and architecture.

Leong Leong_As Emerging Communities


La Biennale again this year dedicates the Biennale Sessions project to Universities, Academies, and Institutes of Higher Education. The goal is to facilitate three-day self-organized visits for groups of at least 50 students and teachers, who will be assisted in organizing their journey and their stay and will be offered the possibility of organizing seminars to be held free of charge in the venues of the exhibition.

Over the past decade, La Biennale has given increasing importance to its educational aims, maturing a strong commitment with its “Educational” activities towards the audiences of the Exhibitions, the universities, young people, and children in schools of all levels. The Biennale Architettura 2018 and the Biennale Arte 2019 involved a total of 114,672 people, including 68,205 young participants in the Educational activities. For the year 2021, there will be a generous program offered to individuals and groups of students, children, adults, families, professionals, companies and universities. All the initiatives pursue the active involvement of the participants and are conducted by personnel selected and trained by La Biennale. They are divided between Guided Tours and Workshop Activities.

Tumo_As Emerging Communities


Sponsored by Artemide, Edison, Vela – Venezia Unica, and Paola Lenti, Biennale Architettura 2021 has been made possible by the support of Rolex, Partner, and Official Watch of the event.

Lina Ghotme Architecture_As New Households, © photo: Takuji Shimmura