Earlier in June, the president of La Biennale di Venezia Roberto Cicutto and exhibition curator Lesley Lokko announced the theme for the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale. This theme will be ‘The Laboratory of the Future’. A provocative title, suggestive of multiple speculations and opportunities.
Excitingly, for the first time in the biennale’s history, the African experience will take centre stage, with a focus on two key priorities: decolonization and decarbonization. Lesley Lokko notes;
“There is one place on this planet where all these questions of equity, race, hope, and fear converge and coalesce: Africa.”
The architect's role, not only at the biennale but broadly within society, has been to recognise the importance of buildings and architecture as not just shelter, but as a powerful tool to help communities and instigate change. Lokko echoed this sentiment:
“Hope [for a more modern, diverse, equitable and inclusive society] is a powerful currency. To be hopeful is to be human. But, hope can also be a seductive and persuasive image .. a mirage. So, something more than representation is needed, and architects historically are key players in translating images into reality.”
The 2023 Biennale will be an exciting opportunity for architects and designers alike to test the boundaries, break down stereotypes and start important conversations.