The 15th International Architecture Exhibition, under the theme ‘Reporting from the Front‘ is held in various sites in and around Venice. As with past exhibitions, though not explicit, there are strong lessons which can inform modern conservation practice in interspersed throughout provocative and interesting exhibits which explore architecture as a public good. Many of the ideas explored in the exhibit such as quality of life, sustainability, inequalities, traffic, waste, crime, pollution, communities, natural disasters and peripheries are encountered in all forms and periods of architecture, though historic buildings and monuments sometimes show greater strain and necessary works are balanced with the impact of their character and significance, the oft-elusive and difficult-to-define elements which provide their value to modern viewers of our built heritage.
The current exhibition also includes special projects such as Reporting from Marghera and other waterfronts which explores the explosion of development in historic port cities (featuring Dublin alongside Baltimore, London, Sydney and Rotterdam as a model of urban development). Past exhibitions such as ‘Fundamentals’ in 2014 dealt with architectural elements, allowing a fresh consideration of the development of, and changes in approach to floors, roofs, ceilings, doors etc over time, while earlier exhibitions such as Cities, architecture and society in 2006 offered a wider perspective on urban living and how the past, present and future of our everyday experiences in cities are rapidly changing. The themes provide food for thought and assist in the development of solutions for conservation projects. The exhibitions are housed in the historic Arsenale, purpose-built 20th century structures in Giardini, as well as interspersed in a range of palazzi, fortifications and other buildings throughout the city – providing an often dramatic visual inspiration of achieving a complementary balance between 21st century life, art, conceptual ideas and futuristic proposals housed in historic, palatial, luxurious and sometimes derelict structures.