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New Zealand at the Venice Architecture Biennale

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The International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale is the world’s leading architecture event. What better place for New Zealand’s architectural creativity and quality to take the world stage?

Established in 1980, the Biennale promotes debate about the architectural and urban design issues confronting communities and societies around the world.

Thirty countries have permanent pavilions in the Giardini – the ‘Gardens’ in Venice’s Castello district – and these pavilions, together with more than two dozen national ‘pavilions’ temporarily housed in the adjacent Arsenale buildings, constitute the core of the Biennale. The Biennale also includes the pavilions of countries which, because they don’t have permanent pavilions or don’t take a space in the Arsenale, install their exhibitions in other buildings around Venice.

The Biennale runs for at least three months and kicks off with the two-day Vernissage – one of international architecture’s most prestigious occasions – which includes a host of opening parties and opportunities to tour the exhibitions and meet their curators.

Each Biennale has a theme set by the event’s director, to which the creators of the national exhibitions respond. The Biennale appeals to a large and highly focused audience: architects, designers, urban planners, companies that support architecture, clients that commission it, institutions that teach it and the media that publish it.

In 2014, 66 countries staged exhibitions and the Biennale attracted 240,000 visitors. More than 3,300 media were accredited, and 120 universities took part in the Biennale’s educational programme. This was New Zealand's first national exhibition at the Biennale. Our second will be in 2016.

The 2014 pavilion exhibition, designed by renowned architect David Mitchell and his team, and staged in the fifteenth century Palazzo Pisani a Santa Mariina, attracted 16,500 visitors and extensive international media coverage — Wallpaper magazine listed it as one of the Biennale’s must-see shows.

Being at Venice feeds back into New Zealand’s built-environment planning while also illustrating our own distinct character. 

Visit the Venice Biennale website here.

Exhibitions