The 17th International Architecture Exhibition

The 17th International Architecture Exhibition, titled How are we going to live together?, hosted by Hashim Sarkis and organized by the Venice Biennale.

The exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday, May 22 to Sunday, November 21, 2021 at the Giardini et Arsenale sites.

Online Presentation

On Monday, April 12th, 2021 at 2 pm, the 17th International Architecture Exhibition How will we live together? will be presented in live streaming on the website and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Speakers will include: Roberto Cicutto, President of La Biennale di Venezia; Hashim Sarkis, Curator of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition.

Curated by Hashim Sarkis

“We need a new space contract,” said Hashim Sarkis, Exhibit Commissioner.

“Amidst growing political divisions and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can live generously together. The architects invited to participate in the Biennale Architettura 2021 are encouraged to include other professions and constituencies—artists, builders, and craftspeople, but also politicians, journalists, social scientists, and everyday citizens. Indeed, the 2021 Architettura Biennale affirms the architect’s vital role as unifier and cordial guardian of the space contract.”

“Meanwhile, the 17th Exposition also argues that it is in its material, spatial and cultural specificity that architecture inspires the way we live together. In this regard, we ask participants to highlight areas of the main theme that are purely architectural.”

“The question How will we live together? is both a social and political issue and a space issue. Aristotle asked it when he was shaping the policy, and he came back to propose the model of the city. Each generation requests and responds differently. More recently, rapid changes in social norms, growing political polarization, climate change, and major global inequalities are making us ask this question more urgently and at different scales than before. In parallel, the weakness of the political models being proposed today compels us to put space first and, perhaps like Aristotle, look at the way architecture shapes inhabitation for potential models for how we could live together.”

“The Biennale Architettura 2021 is motivated by new kinds of problems that the world is putting in front of architecture, but it is also inspired by the emerging activism of young architects and the radical revisions being proposed by the profession of architecture to take on these challenges. More than ever, however, architects are called upon to offer alternatives. As citizens, we use our synthetic skills to gather people together to solve complex problems. As artists, we challenge the inaction that comes from uncertainty to say, “What if?”. And as builders, we draw on our wellspring of hopelessness. The confluence of roles in these uncertain times can only strengthen our agency and hopefully make our architecture more beautiful.”

How will we live together?

The International Exhibition will be articulated between the Central Pavilion at the Giardini, the Arsenale, and Forte Marghera, including 110 Participants in the competition coming from 46 Countries with increased representation from Africa, Latin America, and Asia. In addition to the invited Participants, the Biennale Architettura 2021 also includes Stations and Co-Habitats, researchers out of the competition on the themes of the Exhibition and developed by universities around the world.

Organised in five scales between the Arsenale and the Central Pavilion at the Giardini, the Exhibition also presents large installations connected to one of the five scales, which will be placed in the external spaces of the Arsenale and the Giardini. “How will we compete together?” is the children’s playground project at Forte Marghera, presented by five architects and an architectural photographer.


There are 63 National Participations in the Historical Pavilions of the Giardini, in the Arsenale, and in the historical center of Venice. Four countries are participating for the first time in the Architettura Biennial: the Republic of Azerbaijan, Granada, Iraq, and Uzbekistan.

The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, sponsored and promoted by the Ministry of Culture, Direzione Generale Creatività Contemporanea, is organized by Alessandro Melis.

Side Events

There will be 17 Side Events at the 17th International Architectural Exhibition How will we live together? organised by Hashim Sarkis. Collateral Events approved by the Trustee have been promoted by national and international not-for-profit agencies and institutions. Organized in various venues throughout the city, they present a wide range of projects and interventions that enrich the plurality of voices that distinguishes the Venice Exhibition.


The official catalogue, entitled How will we live together? contains two volumes. Volume I, curated by Hashim Sarkis, focuses on the International Exhibition. Volume II focuses on National Participation and Related Events. The Exhibition Guide is designed to accompany the visitor throughout the exhibition. In addition, two separate volumes, titled Cohabitats and Expansions, evoke the topic of the exhibition. The graphics of the coordinated image of the 2021 Architettura Biennale and the layout of the volumes are by Omnivore, Inc. The volumes are published by La Biennale di Venezia.

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