Grassroots design will be the focus of the U.S. Pavilion at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, running from August 29 through November 25. The pavilion will host an exhibition entitled "Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good" which presents 124 projects such as urban farms, guerrilla bike lanes, pop-up architecture, urban navigation apps, and crowd-sourced city planning. The projects reflect a "nascent movement of designers acting on their own initiative" to improve the public realm, said Anne Guiney, executive director of the Institute for Urban Design, one of the organizers of the exhibition.
At a short press conference on the floor of the AIA convention on Thursday, May 17, Guiney talked about a new kind of bottom-up architecture that is percolating in many different parts of the country, from big cities to small towns. "We found architects bankrolling their own projects, funding them on Kickstarter, and not waiting for clients to come to them," said Cathy Lang Ho, the commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion and the curator of the exhibition. "We wanted to show the richness and diversity of what's going on," added Ho. "The idea was to celebrate the act of acting."
Many of the projects in the exhibition "grow out of the DIY movement," explained Ned Cramer, one of the co-curators and editor-in-chief of Architect magazine. "Instead of just building their own furniture, these people are building their own communities and neighborhoods," said Cramer.
The Brooklyn-based design and fabrication studio Freecell is designing the exhibition and Interboro Partners is creating an installation in the front courtyard of the U.S. Pavilion.
The Biennale as a whole—the 13th edition of the international event—is being directed by architect David Chipperfield with the theme "Common Ground."