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A new approach to architecture at the next Biennale

With less than six months to go until the 15th Biennale of Architecture opens in Venice, signs are already emerging not just of what we can expect to see in the Arsenal and its Gardens, but above all of the direction being taken by that art that Le Corbusier described as “the skilful, accurate and magnificent play of volumes seen in light”.

This year’s director, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, displays an extraordinary ability to interpret different situations thanks to his work in a wide range of geographical and cultural contexts, from Latin America to Texas, from the design of a corporate building in Germany to the Teheran Stock Exchange, as well as his work as a consultant for the Helsinki Design Lab financed by the Finnish government. While involvement in such diverse situations has given him a rich and wide-ranging professional experience, it has also enabled him to develop an approach that transcends specific contexts to take on a more universal dimension.

While at home anywhere in the world, he maintains a distance from the world of starchitects and the tendency to transform the architecture profession into a show, preferring an approach based on “being” and “doing” to one of mere appearances. He prefers finished projects to grandiose plans, a practicality that is even more evident when an architect is called on to deliver precise solutions to specific needs. In this approach to architecture, argues Alejandro Aravena, “it is vital to match the quality of the built environment with the standard of living of the people who live there”. The volume and the inhabitants, the building’s form and structure and the users of the spaces must all be conceived as a single entity, focusing attention on these aspects right from the outset “to bridge the gap between architecture and civil society”.

This approach to architecture is rooted in concrete discussion and sharing rather than in theoretical abstraction. “Instead of resignation and bitterness,” argues Alejandro Aravena, “this approach epitomises the will to act and consequently the vitality of contemporary architecture.” It is made up of exemplary projects that challenge the status quo and become success stories worthy of being told, case histories that fulfil their goals.
These emerging signs of future developments in contemporary architecture and of what we can expect to see at the 15th Biennale next June can also offer useful guidance for the Italian ceramic industry in its daily involvement in architectural projects all over the world.

December 2015

[ Editorial of Cer Magazine NEWS n. 12/2015, e-magazine of Ceramics of Italy ]

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