GUProjects // URBAN FORCES: Venezuela’s display at the 15th Venice Biennale //

Under the title “Urban Forces”, Venezuela’s exhibition for the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale will gather a selection of 15 projects constructed in “8 Venezuelan cities, which are associated to public services, cultural and recreational activities, and socio-productive spaces” (AVN)


Multideportivo la Canchita // Catia, Venezuela // PICO Colectivo, AGA Estudio // Image: PICO Estudio 

In the midst of constraints and adversity, Venezuelan architectural practices, constituted mainly by young professionals, together with the cooperation of local collectives, have developed projects of outstanding participatory character, which were developed in communities of strong local bounds that were suffering from scarcity of spaces for the recreation, socialization and interaction between inhabitants.

For this matter, these social infrastructures were developed with relevant input from these communities and were designed to transform the realities in which they were being inserted. Above all, these projects aim to improve the living conditions for the existing built environments, while fomenting the use of low cost materials for the construction of durable, sustainable architecture.

PA Petare_6_Plataforma_Lúdico_Deportiva

La Y 5 de Julio // Petare, Venezuela // PICO estudio, PGRC, Todo por la Praxis // Image: PICO estudio 

During a conference held at the National Museum of Architecture (MUSARQ) in Caracas, the Venezuelan architects Alejandro Haiek, Marcos Coronel, Miguel Braceli, José Naza Rodríguez and Gabriel Visconti explained how “Urban Forces” is a display that gathers projects of “public space, installations and facilities that were developed in emerging contexts, slums and communities; which are located in different parts of the country. These projects emerged from self-management and the fight for the territory; and in that way they were designed and built upon active participatory processes and collective decision-making, where architecture is used as an instrument to strengthen social organization.” (via noticias24)


Multiprogram Ship // Carbonell, Caracas, Venezuela // LAB.PRO.FAB // Image: LAB.PRO.FAB via urbannext

In GUP, we consider “Urban Forces” as a “good urban practices” example, as the projects that constitute the exhibition are exemplary cases where architecture emerges as a response for the ongoing crisis that emerging territories and impoverished settlements are suffering. Through the improvement of public space and its association with the urban functions that are scarce in these territories (cultural, recreational, socio-productive, etc), these projects become exemplary practices for the planning professionals and governors of those territories that are searching for tools to improve the conditions of their built environment.

We also believe that architecture is a social and political tool, capable of shifting realities in powerful ways, therefore the role of the architect is that of reinventing the profession, so processes present a more cohesive relationship between all parts involved (communities, institutions and architects) and results are presented as multidimensional solutions, willing to tackle problems of different kind simultaneously. The commitment of the architects in delivering a more socially-inclusive architecture that encourages social and spatial justice will be a key factor in getting powerful infrastructures of societal change. In that sense, the appropriation of these new public spaces and social infrastructures by the people will be key for generating a positive impact for the communities and for nurturing the social cohesion in these areas.


La Nube // El Valle, Caracas, Venezuela // by Proyecto Colectivo // Image: PICO Estudio 

/// LAB.PRO.FAB, PICO, AGA estudio creativo, MAAN, Proyecto Colectivo, PGRC, Oficina Lúdica, Taller Independiente, Abono, CoDA, SER, Asymetric, Colectivo Animal, InSitu and 439 estudio are the Venezuelan practices whose work will be part of the “Urban Forces” exhibition. The display will be constituted by two settings; an interactive space with “take away” postcards of the 15 projects and a space with multimedia content, where it will be possible to have direct contact with the communities of the exposed projects via streaming.


Urban Forces // Commissioner: Nelsón Rodriguez // Curators: Marcos Coronel, Rolando Carmona, Alejandro Haiek, Gabriel Visconti, Maximilian Nowotka, Camilo González // Exhibitors: PICO, LAB.PRO.FAB, AGA, PGRC, Proyecto Colectivo, MAAN, Asymetric, Oficina Lúdica, 439 estudio arquiurbano, Insitu, Taller independiente, Colectivo animal, CoDA, Abono, SER //

/// About the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale

This year’s curator, Arch. Alejandro Aravena explains how “REPORTING FROM THE FRONT”, the topic for this year’s Biennale, intents to give the visitor new points of view, from the hands of those who are seeking responses to the current challenges architecture is facing in the world.


This year’s Biennale makes a significant effort in showcasing the ways in which architecture can help to improve life quality for citizens through the display of examples and case studies, having different degrees of impact, from basic matters of the human life to finding solutions to complex realities.

In “REPORTING FROM THE FRONT”, architecture is conceived as a social, economic, environmental and political matter; and the acknowledgment of these roles, especially in conflictive contextual conditions is necessary for the successful development of a society.

““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. And simultaneously will be about presenting examples where different dimensions are synthesized, integrating the pragmatic with the existential, pertinence and boldness, creativity and common sense.” Alejandro Aravena

In that way, the display intents to show the “good urban practices” that practitioners have developed in different contexts around the world, in order to showcase the fact that even with difficulties and fighting against injustices, scarcity and constraints, architecture can have a relevant role in shaping the future of today’s society.

/// Open to the public from Saturday May 28th to Sunday November 27th 2016 at the Giardini and the Arsenale, the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, titled REPORTING FROM THE FRONT, will be directed and curated by Alejandro Aravena and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. The preview will take place on May 26th and 27th, the awards ceremony and inauguration will be held on Saturday May 28th 2016 ( //

Sources //  // //

Heading Image: Plaza las 3 Marías // Pinto Salinas, Venezuela // Oficina Lúdica, PKMN // Image: PICO Estudio


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