Hashim Sarkis to curate Venice Architecture Biennale 2020

Architect Hashim Sarkis, dean of architecture and planning at MIT, will be director for the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2020.


The Venice Biennale board announced today that the Lebanese architect has accepted the commission for the 17th edition of the prestigious exhibition.

“With Hashim Sarkis, La Biennale has provided itself with a curator who is particularly aware of the topics and criticalities which the various contrasting realities of today’s society pose for our living space,” said biennale president Paolo Baratta.

Sarkis has completed buildings in Lebanon and USA

Sarkis has led MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning since 2015.

His office Hashim Sarkis Studios has designed buildings including the Byblos Town Hall in Lebanon and Dana Street House in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His Housing for the Fishermen of Tyre was named as one of the most significant designs of this century in The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture.

He is also the author of books including Josep Lluis Sert, The Architect of Urban Design and Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital.

Exhibition to will explore global “challenges”

The architect said he was “both honoured and humbled” by the appointment. He suggested that his exhibition will focus on global issues.

“The world is putting new challenges in front of architecture,” he said.

“I look forward to working with participating architects from around the world to imagine together how we are going to rise to these challenges. Thank you President Baratta and La Biennale di Venezia team for providing architecture this important platform.”

The exhibition will take place from 23 May to 29 November 2020, with a pre-opening on 21 and 22 May.

The announcement comes shortly after the closing of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects. Titled Free Space, it explored “generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity, something that is at the core of architecture’s agenda”.

Highlights included a machine that built a wall out of soap bubbles and a series of woodland chapels.

The event had 275,000 visitors, along with the 14,000 that attended the pre-opening.

Photo is by Bryce Vickmark.

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