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The theme of Biennale Architettura turns its gaze to the future

Woman and man in the foreground, urban landscape and church tower in the background.

The 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia will be titled The Laboratory of the Future. Curator Lesley Lokko believes the theme will allow practitioners across the creative disciplines to present their visions of tomorrow to the public.

The President of La Biennale di Venezia, Roberto Cicutto and the curator of the exhibition, Lesley Lokko, have announced the theme of the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale, which will examine Africa in the main role of the future. Lokko, an architect and writer whose work focuses on the relationship between race, culture and space, says her choice is based on a continent where issues of equity, hope and fear meet and merge. “At an anthropological level, we are all African. And what happens in Africa happens to us all." says Lokko. 

Lokko explains that the title operates on several levels. As a young, rapidly urbanising continent with deep historical baggage, Africa serves as a laboratory for the future. On the other hand, Lokko also sees the Venice Architecture Biennale in a similar role: “We envisage our exhibition as a kind of workshop, a laboratory where architects and practitioners across an expanded field of creative disciplines draw out examples from their contemporary practices that chart a path for the audience – participants and visitors alike – to weave through, imagining for themselves what the future can hold.”

The theme and the exhibition aim to give new meanings to the concepts of both the laboratory and the future. “Lesley shows determination and courage in using two words in her title that are time-worn but irreplaceable – “laboratory and future” – to restore the full importance of their meaning.” states Cicutto. The exhibition is based on very practical premises and very specific points of view, and Lokko believes that architects have a key role to play in turning images of the future into reality.

Read more about the title and theme of the biennale through this link.

The 18th Venice Architecture Biennale will open to the public on 20 May 2023 and will remain open until 26 November. In spring 2022, Archinfo launched an open call for the exhibition concept for the Pavilion of Finland. The final selection will be made by the end of June, after which a working group will be appointed and the planning of the exhibition will begin.