Arup is delighted to continue to collaborate with La Biennale di Venezia, the world’s leading architecture exhibition, as it reopens its doors to explore a crucial idea: ‘What does it mean to be an agent of change?’

The Biennale Architettura 2023, one of the most significant events in the architectural calendar, is set to take place from May 20 to November 26. This year’s theme, The Laboratory of the Future", provides architects and designers with a unique opportunity to present ambitious and creative ideas that help to envision a more sustainable future.

The event is curated by Lesley Lokko, an academic, educator, and best-selling novelist, who has received several awards for contributions to architectural education. As always, the event will feature the National Participations, where each country presents its own exhibition in the Pavilions of the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as a selection of Collateral Events organized by international institutions.

The Laboratory of the Future is an exhibition in six parts. It includes 89 Participants, over half of whom are from Africa or the African Diaspora. The gender balance is 50/50, and the average age of all Participants is 43, dropping to 37 in the Curator’s Special Projects, where the youngest is 24.

Arup has worked closely with the Biennale over the last four editions, working alongside curators and participants on a range of projects. This year, we have collaborated on a number of events at this year’s Exhibition, including supporting Lesley Lokko with her central pavilion, alongside several other events throughout the Biennale.

Acoustic and Lighting Design in Corderie Building

Arup acousticians and lighting designers are assisting Lesley Lokko's curatorial team in designing five key nodes within the Corderie building at the Arsenale site. The project includes sound, light, and audio-visual systems for the first two large orientation spaces where visitors will first engage with this year's theme of "The Laboratory of the Future." Arup's design expertise will ensure that the exhibition's message is delivered effectively through immersive experiences and the integration of technology.

MiC and Modular Design in High Density Cities

Arup’s architecture team has been invited, as one of 11 exhibitors representing Hong Kong, to showcase our collective expertise and innovative strategies in combating Hong Kong’s primary urban issues and to address its decarbonisation goals. As a leader in the industry, Arup will illustrate the latest research and exploration on Modular Integrated Construction (MiC), and how MiC’s or modular design potential could be optimized with the integration of digital strategies, intending to inspire a multitude of architectural and urban design possibilities.

Our involvement in this year’s Venice Biennale is a part of a bigger roving exhibition that will begin circulation from Venice, then to Berlin and finally back to Hong Kong for a response exhibition, where influential ideas could be carried to a wider range of spectators across regions.

Vertical Landscapes

Arup has collaborated with Florian Busch Architects out of Tokyo on a project called Vertical Landscapes, providing structure, geometry and massing, sustainability and lighting services. This proposal seeks to extend the ground level of the city upward, creating open-access sites that can be used for a variety of purposes, including living space, public parks, and experimental living typologies. The initial study is focused on Tokyo, where the team has identified three potential sites for development.

The Vertical Landscapes proposal seeks to leverage 21st century challenges like climate change and mass migration to counter such practices, carving out a new inner-city openness in step with local lifestyles and traditions.

Reconceptualising Urban Housing European Cultural Centre

Arup supported Dubbeldam Architecture + Design in the reconceptualizing urban housing exhibition. It is scheduled to be displayed during the 2023 Venice Biennale as part of the European Cultural Centre’s TIME SPACE EXISTENCE architectural exhibition from May 20th to November 26th, 2023. The work of international participants will be showcased in the historical centre of Venice during the Biennale at Palazzo Mora, Palazzo Bembo, and the Giardini Marinaressa, with free entrance for all visitors.

Dual Nationals panel discussion with Lesley Lokko

The Dual Nationals panel discussion brings together some of the world’s leading design engineers to discuss their contributions to projects and their roles as complementary professionals. The panel will explore questions related to the balance of strong and weak signals in design, the differences between explicit and tacit knowledge, and the role of design engineers in shaping society.

Arup’s Vera Bukachi, Associate, has been invited to participate in the panel by Lesley Lokko, the 2023 Biennale Curator who will lead the panel discussion with the aim to bring attention to the contributions of design engineers and promote greater collaboration between architects and engineers to achieve better outcomes for society.

The panel discussion is part of ongoing events at the Venice Biennale, which showcases the work of African and international architects, designers and artists. The panel discussion is currently scheduled for August 2023.