The theme of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia, “How will we live together?” has assumed a new significance as the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the globe. As health concerns led to shutdowns in Italy, the Biennale’s opening was postponed until August 29. When it does begin, it will be with a strong showing from Weitzman faculty.
Richard Weller, professor and chair of landscape architecture, Meyerson Chair of Urbanism, and co-executive director of The McHarg Center, was selected by the Biennale’s curator, Hashim Sarkis, Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, to present work as part of the One Planet exhibition in the Central Pavilion. Weller is presenting three projects which reflect ongoing landscape architecture research at Weitzman.
The Department of Architecture has three faculty members participating in the Biennale’s collateral events: Winka Dubbeldam, Miller Professor and chair of architecture and director of the Advanced Research & Innovation Lab; architecture faculty member Ezio Blasetti; and associate professor of practice in architecture Ferda Kolatan. Blasetti and students in his seminar will exhibit a carbon fiber pavilion that is sponsored by Lemond, the maker of carbon-fiber bicycles, and Dropbox, the online document-sharing service. Kolatan’s in-depth studies of the urban fabric of Istanbul will inform an exhibition of his students’ most recent work. Their presentation is sponsored by the GAD Foundation, a spinoff of the Istanbul-based firm Global Architecture led by Gokhan Avcioglu.
In 2018, the Weitzman School was represented in multiple Biennale venues with projects organized by Dubbeldam, Kolatan, and Eduardo Rega Calvo, lecturer in the Department of Architecture. WEISS/MANFREDI, the firm led by Graham Professor of Practice Marion Weiss, was featured in FREESPACE, the exhibition curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara which occupied venues from the Central Pavilion to the Arsenale.
The individuals who are helping fabricate Richard Weller’s presentation include Weitzman alums Chieh Huang and Nanxi Dong, and students Tone Chu, Emily Bunker, Rob Levinthal, Shannon Rafferty, Lucy Whitacre, Lujian Zhang, Allison Nkwocha, and Oliver Atwood.