Open to cross-disciplinary teams of architects, researchers, writers, artists, critics, the open call seeks ‘bold ideas that inspire, challenge and address today’s most relevant issues’ while also exploring contemporary practice.
Proposals for the landmark pavilion at the centre of the Venice Giardini will be expected to ‘offer a new way to express and communicate fresh perspectives to a wide and diverse international audience.’
For the first time, the hunt for the British Pavilion team has been launched prior to the announcement of the lead curator and central theme for the next biennale.
The winning team will have the opportunity to respond to the theme for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2020 after it is announced, although this will not be mandatory.
Sarah Mann, the British Council’s director of architecture design fashion and the commissioner of the British Pavilion, said: ‘The curatorship of the British Pavilion 2020 exhibition is a unique opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the rich diversity of British culture, and to present those ideas at the world’s most prestigious architecture exhibition.
‘At a time of great change for the UK’s role in the world, the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale aims to create debate that both challenges and influences the future of British architecture. The open call is an opportunity for us to hear from the UK architecture sector about contemporary British practice and the issues that matter most.’
This year’s 16th International Architecture Exhibition was overseen by Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara of Dublin-based Grafton Architects. It from 26 May to 25 November and focused on ‘Freespace’ and ‘generosity, thoughtfulness and a desire to engage’.
The UK’s pavilion was designed by Adam Caruso and Peter St John, of Caruso St John Architects, and artist Marcus Taylor. It featured a temporary rooftop platform sitting above the Enrico Trevisana-designed villa which has hosted the British Pavilion since 1938.
Caruso St John and Taylor’s Island concept was based on a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: ‘Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises; Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.’ The interior of the pavilion was kept empty and instead hosted a programme of events.
In 2016, the British Council selected writers Shumi Bose and Jack Self and architect Finn Williams to curate the pavilion. Their winning proposal, Home Economics, was a response to the over-arching theme Reporting From The Front, devised by festival curator Alejandro Aravena.
Up to 12 teams will be shortlisted and invited to attend interviews for the prestigious commission.
The Architecture Selection Committee includes:
Pooja Agrawal, co-founder, Public Practice;
Eva Franch I Gilabert, director, Architectural Association School of Architecture;
Indy Johar, Co-founder, Architecture 00;
Alan Jones, RIBA president elect 2019;
Jim MacDonald, CEO, Architecture & Design Scotland;
Sarah Mann, commissioner, British Pavilion; Director, Architecture Design Fashion;
Farshid Moussavi, founder, Farshid Moussavi Architecture;
Oliver Wainwright, architecture and design critic, The Guardian;
And chair: Gregory Nash, creative director arts, British Council;
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information