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2018 Venice Architecture Biennale will be curated by Ireland's Grafton Architects

The Dublin firm was the first to win RIBA’s inaugural international prize in 2016

Grafton Architects’ muscular concrete building for UTEC, an engineering and technology-focused university in Lima, Peru, won inaugural International Prize from the Royal Institute of Architects. The firm will curate next year’s Venice Architecture Biennale.
Photo by Iwan Baan

Grafton Architects, the Dublin, Ireland-based firm that last year won the first ever Royal Institute of British Architects International Prize, will curate the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, the organization announced yesterday.

The firm, led by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, clinched the inaugural RIBA International Prize with their work for UTEC, an engineering and technology-focused university in Lima, Peru. The expected theme of the 2018 biennial—which opens at the end of May next year—is an exploration of the “quality of public and private space, of urban space, of the territory and of the landscape as the main ends of architecture.”

Yvonne Farrell (left) and Shelley McNamara
Photo via Grafton Architects

Though the archispeak may cloud the relevance of the theme a bit, relevant it is: At the end of 2016, Patrik Schumacher, business partner of the late Zaha Hadid, came out against social housing and called for the privatization of public spaces, and was met with an outcry from the architectural community condemning the comments.

Chilean architect and 2016 Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena curated last year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, which focused on “the worldwide evolution of architecture,” with booths representing several dozen countries.

Read more about Grafton Architects over at the firm’s website.