Architects to represent Ireland at 2008 Venice Biennale announced

logo_venicebiennaleThe architects who will represent Ireland at the 11th International Architecture Biennale in Venice have been selected. There was a strong response to the theme ‘The Lives of Spaces’ set for the Irish exhibition by the Commissioners and nine responses have been selected for inclusion at this key international showcase.In different ways, the nine pieces explore the central role of space in our society, how it frames and structures the patterns and practices of our collective life, from domestic to civic, from personal to public. Included are projects currently in design and construction, as well as examinations of existing spaces. The exhibition involves many new collaborations and experiments, which open up new ways of envisaging, designing and understanding space.

The spatial character and the life in use of the recently opened Youth Centre in Tallaght will be investigated by Grainne Hassett. Gerry Cahill will examine the changing use of sacred space in Ireland, focussing on the Mercy Convent in Cork Street. Using linked sequences of perspective views O’Donnell + Tuomey will show the movement of light through the central space of An Gael.ras, a cultural centre in Derry. Patrick Lynch and Simon Walker will document the life of Bothar Bui, the West Cork holiday home of Robin and Dorothy Walker which, despite its modest scale and character, has played a crucial role in the cultural life of the nation over many decades.

Drawing on their work on a series of cultural and civic spaces in regional centres, McCullough Mulvin will investigate the transition from space in design to space in use. Dara McGrath in association with Robinson McIlwaine will present his stark photographs of the deconstruction of the Maze/Long Kesh prison, a space of iconic political significance. De Paor Architects will show their proposed Picture Palace in Galway, focussing on the spatial journey from street to cinema. Cian Deegan and Alice Casey from TAKA will use a series of domestic projects to consider the ritual character of home space. Grafton Architects are to present a film, which considers the relationship of interior space and city in two recent projects, the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan and their office development for the OPW on Merrion Row in Dublin.

The chosen venue for The Lives of Spaces is Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, a palace on the Gran Canal next to the Accademia Bridge. The scale, character and decoration of these typically Venetian rooms will provide a setting appropriate for the exhibition’s theme.

The Architecture section of the Venice Biennale was established in 1980, although a few exhibitions had taken place since 1975 within the Art section. The next International Architecture Exhibition will take place September 14th to November 23rd 2008. Aaron Betsky, former director for six years of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) of Rotterdam, one of the most important architecture museums and centres in the world, and since last year Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum, will be the curator of the 11th International Architecture Exhibition: Out There. Architecture Beyond Building.

The event, which will take place in Venice, Italy from September 14 to November 23 2008, will feature participants from more than 50 countries on four different continents and represents a vital opportunity to demonstrate the diversity, dynamism and richness of Irish architectural culture to a global audience.