Hashim Sarkis and Paolo Baratta
Courtesy La Biennale de Architettura Venice Biennale curator Hashim Sarkis (L) and former Biennale president Paolo Baratta (R)

The organizers of the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale have announced another round of new dates for the festival, postponing the opening date until May 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally postponed until Aug. 23 to Nov. 29, 2020, the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, titled “How Will We Live Together?” and curated by Hashim Sarkis, dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, will now take place from May 22 to Nov. 21, 2021.

In a release, organizers note that the decision to postpone the architecture biennale until 2021 "is an acknowledgment that it is impossible to move forward – within the set time limits – in the realization of such a complex and worldwide exhibition, due to the persistence of a series of objective difficulties caused by the effects by the health emergency underway."

“The last few days have clarified the real state of the situation we are all facing,” said Roberto Cicutto, president of the Venice Architecture Biennale, in the same release. “With the utmost respect for the work done by all of us, the investments made by the participants, and considering the difficulties that all countries, institutions, universities, architectural studios have met together with the uncertainty of the shipments, personal travel restraints and Covid-19 protective measures that are being and were be adopted, we have decided to listen to those, the majority, who requested that the Biennale Architettura be postponed.

Sarkis, the Biennale’s curator, also commented on the postponement, expressing a hope that it will allow visitors and exhibitors a moment to reflect on the current global crisis. “I hope that the new opening date will allow them first to catch their breath, and then to complete their work with the time and vigor it truly deserves,” Sarkis said in the same release. “We did not plan it this way. Neither the question I asked How will we live together? nor the wealth of ways in response to it, were meant to address the crisis they are living, but here we are. We are in some ways fortunate because we are well equipped to absorb the immediate and longer-term implications of the crisis into the Biennale Architettura 2021. The theme does also provide us with the possibility to respond to the pandemic in its immediacy. This is why we will return to Venice in the coming months for a series of activities devoted to the Architecture.”

The 59th International Art Exhibition, originally scheduled for 2021, will be delayed until 2022.

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