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A year out from its public opening, the 19th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale now has a title and theme: Intelligens. Natural. Artificial. Collective.

Referred to Intelligens for short, the title—a reference to the modern English word intelligence, with the final syllable, gens, being Latin for “people”—was revealed by 2025 Venice Architecture Biennale curator Carlo Ratti alongside La Biennale di Venezia president Pietrangelo Buttafuoco at a press conference held last week. “A new, fictional root emerges, suggesting a future of intelligence that is inclusive, multiple, and imaginative beyond today’s limiting focus on AI,” Ratti explains of the word’s use in the context of the exhibition.

“The 19th International Architecture Exhibition will be about the built environment and the many disciplines that shape it. Architecture is at the center but not alone. It is part of an extended sphere that integrates art, engineering, biology, data science, social and political sciences, planetary systems sciences, and other disciplines—linking each and all of them to the materiality of urban space,” says Ratti, an Italian designer, academic, and sometimes RECORD op-ed contributor who serves as co-founder of CRA – Carlo Ratti Associati, an architecture and innovation studio with offices in New York, London, and his hometown of Turin. He also serves as professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he leads the university’s Senseable City Lab.

“The built environment is one of the largest contributors to atmospheric emissions, placing architecture among the main culprits in the degradation of our planet,” Ratti goes on to detail. “The Exhibition will search for a path forward, proposing that intelligent solutions to pressing problems can take many forms. It will present a collection of design proposals and many other experiments, exploring a definition of ‘intelligence’ as an ability to adapt to the environment with limited resources, knowledge, or power.”

Pietrangelo Buttafuoco and Ratti.

La Biennale di Venezia president Pietrangelo Buttafuoco and Ratti. Photo by Andrea-Avezzu

The trio of intelligences—natural, artificial, collective—will be explored via four methodological pillars established by Ratti, who was announced as curator of the forthcoming Architecture Biennale last December, succeeding 2023 exhibition curator Lesley Lokko in the chief curatorial role.

Participants will be implored to practice Transdisciplinarity by collaborating with professionals across a spectrum of backgrounds and expertise. The biennial will also serve as a collaborative Space for Ideas, in which the general public, for the first time, is being encouraged to pitch ideas, no matter how wild, via a now-live digital platform to help foster an “expansive heterogeneity of voices, visions, and suggestions.” Ratti, keen on overseeing an exhibition comprising material elements that can be reused and recycled, will work with organizers and participants to develop a Circularity Protocol to “define clear directions and a new standard for the future of cultural events.” The final tenet provides a creative workaround for a logistical hurdle-slash-space issue during the run of the 2025 Venice Architecture Biennale: the closure of the historic Central Pavilion at the Giardini for major renovations. In turn, Venice itself has been envisioned as a Living Lab or sorts in which special projects will be staged at sites across the city, including at outdoor spaces around the main Bienniale venues at the Giardini.

Central Pavilion, Venice Giardini.

The Central Pavilion at the Venice Giardini will be closed for renovations in 2025. Photoby Franceso Galli

Exhibitions on view within individual National Pavilions in the Giardini will also enjoy a greater degree of cohesion through the reintroduction of a common prompt—absent from recent cycles of the Biennale—established by Ratti: One Place, One Solution. “Showcasing how local ingenuity can address our time’s existential challenge that can only be tackled in a cooperative manner, reflecting a multiplicity of approaches,” said Ratti. “If every country brings one success to the table, together we can assemble a global kit for adapting to the future.”

In addition to the revealing the 2025 Venice Architecture Biennale’s title and theme, Ratti and Buttafuoco have also launched the international call for Biennale College Architettura. The competition invites students and young practitioners to submit projects that harness “natural, artificial, and collective intelligence to combat the climate crisis.”

The 19th Venice Architecture Biennale will take place from May 10 to November 23, 2025, at the Arsenale and venues in the Giardini (save for the Central Pavilion). The exhibition’s vernissage is slated for May 8 and 9.