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Carlo Ratti announces theme and title for Venice Architecture Biennale 2025

Italy Architecture News - May 08, 2024 - 10:54   1947 views

Carlo Ratti announces theme and title for Venice Architecture Biennale 2025

Carlo Ratti, the curator of the 19th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice Architecture Biennale, together with the President of La Biennale di Venezia, Pietrangelo Buttafuoco, have announced the title and theme for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2025. 

Titled Intelligens. Natural. Artificial. Collective, the title, which has ambient meanings in English and Italian, addresses modern term "intelligence", and expands into a broader context that includes "art, engineering, biology, data science, social and political sciences."

"A new, fictional root emerges"

The 19th International Architecture Exhibition will take place from 10 May to 23 November 2025 at the Giardini, the Arsenale and various venues in Venice, Italy

"The title of the International Architecture Exhibition is usually announced both in English and in Italian. In 2025 it will be condensed into a single word for both languages via the common Latin precedent: intelligens," said Carlo Ratti, the curator of the 19th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice Architecture Biennale

"The title Intelligens is linked to the modern term “intelligence,” but it also evokes a wider set of associated meanings. In fact, the final syllable, “gens” is Latin for “people”."

"A new, fictional root emerges, suggesting a future of intelligence that is inclusive, multiple, and imaginative beyond today’s limiting focus on AI," Ratti added in a press statement.

Carlo Ratti announces theme and title for Venice Architecture Biennale 2025

View from a press conference. Image © Andrea Avezzu, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Drawing attention to multiple and creative intelligence in his statement, Ratti emphasized that architecture is a profession that connects many disciplines such as art, engineering, biology, data science, social and political sciences. In this context, he said that the theme of the exhibition will include all these and reflect perspectives that are "important and non-cosmetic, effective and quick".

"The 19th International Architecture Exhibition will be about the built environment and the many disciplines that shape it. Architecture is at the center, but not alone," the curator explained. 

"It is part of an extended sphere that integrates art, engineering, biology, data science, social and political sciences, planetary systems sciences, and other disciplines - linking each and all of them to the materiality of urban space."

"The built environment is one of the largest contributors to atmospheric emissions, placing architecture among the main culprits in the degradation of our planet," he added. 

"As the climate crisis accelerates, must we resign ourselves to this role, or are we still able to offer solutions, substantial and non-cosmetic, effective and quick to achieve?," Ratti explained.

Carlo Ratti announces theme and title for Venice Architecture Biennale 2025

Image © Andrea Avezzu, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

"The exhibition will search for a path forward"

The curator said that the exhibition will offer smart solutions to urgent problems and develop forward-looking perspectives in different forms. 

Ratti added that "The exhibition will search for a path forward, proposing that intelligent solutions to pressing problems can take many forms." 

Ratti underlined how the exhibition will address how to use intelligence with limited resources and knowledge and solutions that demonstrate the ability to adapt to the environment.

"It will present a collection of design proposals and many other experiments, exploring a definition of "intelligence" as an ability to adapt to the environment with limited resources, knowledge, or power," said Ratti. 

"Objects, buildings, and urban plans will be arranged along the axis of a multiple and widespread intelligence - organized as natural, artificial, collective, and combinations of the three. While some ideas are destined to fail, others may point us toward redemption," he added.

"The exhibition will cast architects in the role of “mutagens” stimulating natural evolutionary processes and sending them off in new directions. Learning from many sciences, this exhibition hopes to accelerate the transformation of the present through fearless trial and error, and to find a better future in the process," he continued.

Carlo Ratti announces theme and title for Venice Architecture Biennale 2025

Giardini venue. Image © Andrea Avezzu, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

The exhibition is emphasized under four methodological pillars

The exhibition will be emphasized under four methodological pillars: Transdisciplinarity, Living Lab, Space For Ideas, and Circularity Protocol.

Transdisciplinary pillar will feature architectural projects in collaboration with multiple professionals, with the objective of advancing scientific knowledge whenever possible. 

Due to the renovation of the Central Pavilion in 2025, the Central Pavilion will be replaced Living Lab featuring a number of special projects that will leverage Venice and the outdoor areas of the Biennale Exhibition venues. The exhibition will showcase a series of interacting forms of intelligence.

Space For Ideas will be in the form of a digital public venue. As of May 7 2024, a platform on the website of La Biennale will exhibit ideas "fostering an expansive heterogeneity of voices, visions, and suggestions." 

Circularity Protocol is the exhibition that "aims to set unprecedented goals for circularity. A Circularity Manifesto will be developed to define clear directions and a new standard for the future of cultural events."

Carlo Ratti announces theme and title for Venice Architecture Biennale 2025

Carlo Ratti and Pietrangelo Buttafuoco. Image © Andrea Avezzu, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

"Meaning and sign converge in the title Intelli/Gens. While intelligence is the foundation of the individuals’ process of evolution, in the most noble sense of their being cives (a third declension noun, thus both masculine and feminine), architecture is the space in which it can unfurl, in a constant negotiation with the territory," said Pietrangelo Buttafuoco, the President of La Biennale di Venezia. 

"Enumerating functions, drawing symbologies, fostering relationships, intelligence builds architecture in ethical, aesthetic and above all ecological terms."

"It is a fact that, etymologically, oikos in Greek means home but also environment. And that is why in his own statement of intent, Ratti himself asks: "Will we ever be able to design a building as smart as a tree?," Buttafuoco added. 

"This question is the felicitous heresy of the architect who heads MIT’s Senseable City Lab in Boston, indicative of a pursuit in which circuits and silicon are just a means to return to the origin. Possibly, with greater awareness," he added.

Ratti also encouraged the participating countries to address the common prompt of "One place, one solution", showcasing how local ingenuity works. The phrase is aiming to reintroduce a degree of coordination and coherence with the theme of the main International Exhibition among the National Pavilions.

Ratti said that "it can address our time’s existential challenge that can only be tackled in a cooperative manner, reflecting a multiplicity of approaches. If every country brings one success to the table, together we can assemble a global kit for adapting to the future."

As usual, the National Participations will showcase their own exhibitions in the Pavilions at the Giardini and at the Arsenale, as well as in the historic centre of Venice.

Carlo Ratti announces theme and title for Venice Architecture Biennale 2025

Padiglione Centrale, Giardini. Image © Francesco Galli

Moreover, Carlo Ratti, as the Artistic Director of the Architecture Department of La Biennale di Venezia, invited students, graduate students and emerging practitioners under the age of 30 to submit projects that employee natural, artificial, and collective intelligence to combat the climate crisis.

From this global pool of submissions, up to 16 projects from undergraduate and graduate students, young professionals in architecture, urban design, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, and adjacent professions dealing with the built environment, will be chosen by the Artistic Director to be developed in the Biennale College Architettura programme.

The selected participants will subsequently be invited to join a 10-day workshop in Venice in September 2024 to build up the proposals - including production and budget planning. A final selection of up to 8 projects will be finally chosen by Carlo Ratti. A grant of € 20,000.00 for the production will be allocated to each selected project. The selected works will be presented, out of competition, in the context of the 19th International Architecture Exhibition, IntelliGens.

The international call for Biennale College Architettura can be found on this page. The applications can be made until 21 June 2024, 11:59 pm CEST.

Trained as an architect and engineer, Carlo Ratti is currently holding teaching positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at the Politecnico di Milano. Ratti is the director of the Senseable City Lab at the MIT and a founding partner of the architecture and innovation office CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati based in Torino, New York City, and London.

In 2023, Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic, and novelist Professor Lesley Lokko curated the 18th International Architecture Exhibition under the theme of The Laboratory of the Future. The theme, focusing on the African continent, explored diversity and cultural identity with all its own layers - from organizational structures to individual skills and habits. 

Top image in the article: Cralo Ratti. Image © Andrea Avezzu, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia. 

> via Venice Architecture Biennale 

Carlo Ratti exhibition Venice Architecture Biennale