Strathclyde's involvement in the Venice Biennale

Every two years the Department of Architecture has made a significant contribution to a Scottish presence at the Venice Biennale

The SCOTLAND + VENICE EXHIBITION at the Lighthouse underlined this.  It featured an essay written by our Professor Gordon Murray and with contributions on show from our alumni and the current students and staff involved. ‘Rethinking Architecture - Scotland’s five diverse projects as shown in Venice during the International Architecture Biennale since 2004’ was written by Professor Gordon Murray. It's a short catalogue produced to illustrate Scottish architects’ participation in the prestigious international architecture event. A+DS catalogue by Professor Gordon Murray. There was also an exhibition aligned seminar; 'Re-casting Modernism'. Humza Yousaf, MSP, Minister for Europe and International Development commented at the opening event:

“It is easy to see from these exhibitions that Scotland is punching way above its’ weight.”

The ‘Scotland + Venice Project’ is supported by a partnership between the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and the British Council, and follows on from the successful collaborations in 2010 and 2012. Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS) is Scotland's champion for architecture and the built environment.

Strathclyde University and the Venice Biennale

The Biennale is where, “..all the architects of the world come together to talk - it is always stimulating and you come away inspired”, Karen Anderson, Chair of A+DS and member of this Department's RTPI Validating Board.

Teams of architects, as participants and curators install exhibitions and host workshops. These architects have included many of our alumni, often with student assistance.

2014:  ‘Past + Future’ saw a month long residency for four groups who each spent one week working in Venice.

Each comprising a practicing architect, an academic and two students. The researched theme was modernity in Scotland within the post-war period of 1950 – 1970, opening up discussion on what a modern architecture in Scotland was and what it might be.

2012:  ‘Critical Dialogues’ was directed by our Cultural Studies Director Dr Jonathan Charley who wrote the brief for the overall theme, set the strategy and wrote and edited the catalogue. Four Glasgow based practices were involved;

  • DO Architecture - Director Adrian Stewart, is a studio reviewer
  • GRAS - alumni Gunar Groves Raines is a director and is interviewed at A+Ds in the video link. Their staff includes alumni; Stuart Falconer, Kelly Chan, Gordon McGregor (Y4 tutor) and Scott Bennion.  
  • Pidgin Perfect - formed by our alumni; Dele Adeyemo, Marc Cairns and Rebecca Thomas.
  • Stone Opera - Hanneke Scott van Wel is a visiting tutor and Kathy Li a former Lecturer.

The four practices created a Scottish ‘studio’ in Venice to engage with the local communities and explore the social role of the architect and the creative boundaries of architecture.

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