Why a research Biennale? Rem Koolhaas "is not confident that contemporary architecture is in phenomenal shape", and that's why he sets the focus on research instead of showing exceptional architectural work as former shows.
This time, the country directors where not simple informed by the topic, but where given an exact theme: "Absorbing Modernity 1914 - 2014". The country pavilions are an integral part of the overall exhibition theme "Fundamentals".
Again, the number of contributing countries has increased. From 55 to 65 pavilions, eleven countries participate for the first time. Moreover, the 14th Biennale will take place six instead of 3 month and includes Biennale-Sessions for school around the globe.
The 14th Venice Biennale of Architecture "Fundamentals" consists of three interwoven shows: "Absorbing Modernity 1914 - 2014" at the national pavilions in the Gardini and Arsenale , "Elements of Architecture", in the Gardini, and "Monditalia" in the Arsenale.
"Monditalia" will Architecture exploits the potential of the whole Biennale - dance, music, theatre and cinema: a Gesamtkunstwerk. The large space of the Arsenale will be like a "brain-scran" of Italy, showing Italy as a regional country and its interactions between architecture and cinema, dance, theatre or music. 41 projects will cross the Italian territory from South to North, and more extensively from Africa to the Alps and Europe.
"Elements of Architecture" is a multiple-authored exhibition in the Central Pavilion, at the Gardini focosing on the fundamentals of buildings: the floor, the wall, the ceiling, the roof, th
e door, the window, the façade, the balcony, the corridor, the fireplace, the toilet, the stair, the escalator, the elevator, the ramp, etc. The exhibition will be far more open to a larger public because everybody has an opinion about for example "a door".
Each space will be dedicated to a single architectural element, like the reseach of Friedrich Mielke's Institut für Scalalogie (stair-science), or a live-construction-facility of aluminium windows, and presented in a different manner. "It will be an exploration of the familiar, the erased, and the visionary dimensions of architecture." Why, for example, did we become so addicted to comfort and hate challenges?
The exhibition "Absorbing Modernity 1914 - 2014" focuses the lens on national identity, more closely, why these identities have been sacrificed to modernity in the last 100 years. Complete different factors (wars, diverse political , regimes, different states of development, national and international architectural movements, individual talents, friendship, ...) have led more or less to the same result, however, which unique national features and mentalities continue still exist after 100 years?
Like Paolo Baratta the president of the Biennale writes: "With Rem Koolhaas our aim is to create an exceptional, research-centered Architecture Biennale, [..] that involves the entire Biennale, which fully exploits its potential."
The 14th Intl. Architecture Exhibition, directed by Rem Koolhaas, will run from 7 June to 23 November 2014 at the Giardini and the Arsenale.