VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE: 10 TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR TRIP

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In 2016 I had the privilege to visit the Venice Architecture Biennale, curated by public interest architect, Alejandro Aravena. The next Biennale, themed ‘Freespace’ is set to open this weekend, running from May 26 through Nov 25. Here are 10 tips which I learned from planning my own trip.

  1. Plan for at least two days. The Biennale is located in two areas, the Giardini and the Arsenale. Dedicate at least one day to each area. You could also take an extra day for the individual country pavilions (located around the Giardini main hall) or to visit some of the Collateral Events, which are affiliated exhibits around Venice.
  2. Closed on Mondays. The Biennale is closed most Mondays, so plan accordingly! I spent it sightseeing – tons to see in Venice – but you may or may not want to do that. See hours in the 2018 brochure.
  3. Consider the off season. I went in November just before it closed which was far less expensive than the busy summer months. Venice is moody, misty, and quiet then.
  4. Dress for the weather. Besides maybe two of the cafes, none of the Biennale exhibit spaces are conditioned, so if it’s chilly dress warm. (I wish I had brought my warm winter coat!)
  5. No need for rain boots. Venice floods with high tides, called an Acqua Alta, but it does not last long and the city is quick to add raised walkways so you can get to where you need to without trudging through water.
  6. Pack thoughtfully. Venice is very walkable and there are no cars, only boats, so it is challenging to get your stuff to the hotel. There are lots of steps and bridges that are not rolling bag friendly.
  7. Buy the books online. Luckily the Biennale books are available online! You don’t have to haul heavy books around all day or find room in your suitcase for them. Plus the exhibits have some paper and poster take aways that you may want some room for.
  8. Stay in the Castello neighborhood. We stayed at the Hotel Metropole which was very walkable to both the Arsenal and Giardini plus the major tourist sights. It also was close to boats to and from the airport and train stations. Many hotels also include breakfast.
  9. Save time at the Biennale Cafes. There were cafes at both the Arsenale and Giardini. I had a delicious chicken curry with couscous at the Giardini cafe – not a true taste of Venice but I found it better to not have to leave the Biennale exhibits and trek out to lunch. Assume there will be crowds as there are with most things in Venice and opt for dinners out at some of the fabulous restaurants around town.
  10. Don’t miss this by Carlo Scarpa! To the left as you walk out of the entrance of the Giardini.
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ATTEND: HAPPY HOUR EVENT AT MAPLE ON 11TH ST FOR SOCIAL IMPACT DESIGN

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MAPLE

Patio at Maple

Join Inscape Publico and AFHdc Tuesday July 28, 2015 for a relaxing and enjoyable evening on Maple’s back patio to socialize and learn about Inscape Publico’s latest project, the St. John’s Episcopal School in Honduras. AFHdc Directors will announce their new chapter subcommittees and share other updates from the international chapter network. You won’t want to miss this great networking event with leaders in Social Impact Design in DC!

RSVP for the event here. Can’t make the event but still want to learn more and/or contribute to the school in Honduras? Check out Inscape Publico’s Crowdrise campaign.

Inscape Publico is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit architecture firm with the mission to provide professional architecture service for other nonprofits and the people they serve. Their understanding of the nonprofit community not only fosters excellence in design, but creates architecture that represents the vision, goals and sensibilities of each of its nonprofit partners. Inscape Publico serves as a catalyst and jumpstarts nonprofit projects by providing valuable visioning sessions and design services through a unique business model to help nonprofits understand their design needs to meet their goals and aspirations.

AFHdc is a volunteer organization that works to solve social justice issues through sustainable design. Formerly operating for 10 years as the DC Chapter of Architecture for Humanity, AFHdc has provided pro bono design services for organizations locally and abroad.

“GREAT ARCHITECTURE TO GREAT EFFECT”

Jordan MacTavish via Harvard Magazine

Check out this article discussing public interest design past, present, and future, in Harvard Magazine’s March-April 2015 issue by Stephanie Garlock. (Thanks for sharing Public Architecture!)

Quotes from the article:

“When it [architecture] only becomes about sculpture, it loses the key asset of architecture, which is that it can add tremendous value to people’s lives.” – Michael Murphy

“I became very interested in the opportunities that the design of the built environment had for achieving social outcomes.” – John Peterson

“If you can find what the aspirations of a community are, and you can use the design process to bring that forward, then you can do extraordinary things with your discipline.” – Maurice Cox