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Canada Pavilion explores tangible forms of housing crisis at Venice Architecture Biennale
Italy Architecture News - Sep 26, 2023 - 16:43 1114 views
The exhibition, titled Not for Sale!, is situated within the Canada Pavilion and curated by the collective Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA).
The show documents an on-going research with writings, events, documentations, films and visualizations to shed on light on today's housing crisis being experienced by many communities across Canada.
Not for Sale! can be visited in the Canada Pavilion in the Giardini until Sunday, 26 November, 2023 in Italy.
Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the AAHA moved their global campaign into Venice to describe and denounce the impact of real estate speculation that converts homes into financial assets, aggravating a range of issues including a general lack of affordability, precarious housing, and homelessness.
The AAHA collective is composed of Adrian Blackwell, David Fortin, Matthew Soules, Sara Stevens, Patrick Stewart, Tijana Vujosevic, and 10 teams. More information about the collective's members can be found on this page.
The goal of the exhibition is to "showcase, and expand the potential of their architectural movement on the international stage."
"Urban environments are suffered from the impacts of systemic racism, sexism, and classism"
The AAHA collective and their growing network of collaborators have begun sharing Not for Sale! campaign online at Architects Against Housing Alienation website.
According to the AAHA collective, urban environments are suffered from the impacts of systemic racism, sexism, and classism in an economy dominated by real estate industry.
In response to Lesley Lokko's theme, The Laboratory of the Future, the Not for Sale! exhibition is "a rallying call for the architectural community."
The exhibition also becomes an invitation to work collaboratively within community environments to find creative, viable, ecological, and sustainable solutions.
"We are fighting for a system of housing that is fairer"
"We believe that the roots of the housing crisis lie in the capitalist and colonialist dispossession of people from their land and homes. In Canada, this started with the appropriation of land from Indigenous peoples and the transformation of homes into commodities, objects of real estate speculation rather than places defined by deep community and cultural ties," said Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA) collective.
"We are witnessing the consequences of dispossession today," the collective continued.
"We are fighting for a system of housing that is fairer; we are showcasing not only the fundamental aspects of the housing crisis but also proposals for positive change--ways of legislating, financing, and designing that empower communities."
"We hope that the projects we show in Venice and our campaign at large will educate and inspire not only Canadians but people all over the globe impacted by the housing crisis," the AAHA collective added.
The exhibition proposes that the housing crisis is a severing of three forms of essential connection: "to the land, to social ties, and to the ability to creatively shape our environment."
Throughout the biennale, the AAHA collective will work with 10 interdisciplinary and geographically dispersed teams. These teams are comprised of community organizations, supporters of non-alienated housing, and architects.
As part of the exhibition, architectural design studios, will be held onsite in Venice, for students from the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
The exhibition presents bold visions through extensive research, writings, events, visualizations, mapping, films, while the university students will further develop the demands to address housing alienation, and present bold visions to make efforts on equitable and truly affordable housing in Canada.
"Visitors to the Pavilion will be able to engage with those working on the ground to learn how to contribute to the development of sustainable solutions to housing affordability," reads a press release by the Canada Council.
Social media and online resources are used for the campaign to mobilize efforts and Canadians to join in the call for safer, healthier, and more equitable housing.
"The presentation of the AAHA collective’s Not For Sale! exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia highlights crucial issues related to affordable housing access in Canada," said Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts.
"It reminds us that architecture is an art and practice that can choose to engage in concrete dialogue with social movements and by doing so contribute to the advent of a better world."
"The analyses, ideas and proposals that will be presented and developed in Venice by AAHA are part of an international drive for just and sustainable human development as an alternative to the greed, plunder, and exclusion that globalization promotes."
"Art and architecture are once again called to the bedside of a society that is suffering from destructive drifts and I am convinced that this is a source of hope and comfort that we all need," Brault added.
The online programming also includes the Not for Sale! campaign manifesto, as well as the set of demands made by the collaborators to end housing alienation and foster the rebuilding of fundamental connections.
Not for Sale! project by AAHA was selected through a juried competition, in which the selection committee was comprised of: Brigitte Shim (Architect/Principal at Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, and Professor at John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto); Neeraj Bhatia (Architect and Urban Designer/Principal with The Open Workshop, and Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco), and Annie Lebel (LEED Green Associate, Architect/Principal, in situ atelier d’architecture of Montreal, and Lead of Practical Training, Faculty of Environmental Design, Université de Montréal) and Alison Brooks (Architect/Principal and Creative Director of Alison Brooks Architects in London, UK, and Visiting Professor, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid and Loughborough University School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering in the UK).
Through the exhibition and campaign, the collective intends to "inspire architects, activists, and advocates to join a growing movement that will make housing more equitable and accessible for everyone."
Exhibition plan. Image courtesy of Canada Council for the Arts
The Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 is taking place from Saturday 20 May to Sunday 26 November, 2023 at the Arsenale and Giardini venues in Italy.
Read more about WAC's coverage about the biennale pavilions on Venice Architecture Biennale 2023. To see more pavilions from this year's biennale, you can also visit WAC's Instagram/Reels for exclusive videos.
All images © Matteo de Mayda, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia, unless otherwise stated.
> via Canada Council