Home Ground Venice Biennale

Joanne Ronaldson

Alison Brooks Architects has contributed an installation for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, titled ‘How will we live together?’, curated by Hashim Sarkis.‘Home Ground‘ is situated in the Arsenale, one of the exhibition venues of the Biennale Architettura 2021. The installation responds to the question ‘How will we live together?’ with a monumental table into which sixteen architectural models are cast as a participatory ‘conversation piece’.

The installation explores how housing defines the way we live together in cities; as households, and by shaping collective ground. It combines models of Alison Brooks Architects’ current housing projects from locations across the world. The installation reflects upon the nature of ground floor communal spaces in housing architecture as both thresholds to the private realm of the home and gathering spaces, where new communities can form.

‘Home Ground’ expresses the ten housing projects as a collective, in two ways: as ground-based civic terrain above which the inhabited volumes of each building hover to create an ephemeral veil. The table’s earth-bound arcades, halls, commons, forums and workspaces ground each building. These shared spaces suggest a condition of reciprocity between the private realms of housing and their public context. By casting them into the surface of a table, Alison Brooks Architects invites the Biennale Architettura’s global audience to coalesce momentarily and begin new conversations. Can we reconceive housing as civic buildings that offer a more generous, complex and poetic framework for living together?

Bringing the practice’s disparate projects together in this installation, our aim is not to create the ‘ideal city’, but rather to reflect the contingencies and complexities that shaped each project.

Alison Brooks, Principal and Creative Director, Alison Brooks Architects, says:
“21st century housing is also where people work, create and communicate. We believe there is a need to rethink the architecture of housing as civic infrastructure that enables human potential. It must nurture day-to-day personal experience and creative work, but also support collective public life within a new ecological framework. ‘Home Ground’ is a reflection on the role of housing architecture and its enabling role for all urban communities: where we can learn, create and thrive.”

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