College of Architecture, Art and Construction

Clemson’s School of Architecture heads to the Venice Biennale


Clemson University’s School of Architecture (SoA) is participating in “Time Space Existence 2023.” This biennial architecture exhibition is organized and hosted by the European Cultural Center as a part of the Venice Biennale.

The Venice Biennale is an architecture exhibition that brings together an international group of participants working across different disciplines. Simultaneously presenting completed and ongoing projects, innovative proposals and utopian dreams of architectural expressions, the Venice Biennale opens on May 20 and lasts until November 26.

The installation projects a collage of all the themes explored in six years of projects developed in the Environmental Design Lab. The installation is a collaboration between faculty members David Franco, Ulrike Heine, George Schafer, Andreea Mihalache, Dan Harding, Ufuk Ersoy and Henrique Houayek.

The outcomes of the Environmental Design Lab have yielded 18 awards for School of Architecture students from the leading national professional associations of architects in the United States, including the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate School of Architecture COTE® Top Ten, the American Institute of Architects South Carolina Regional Awards and SARA NY (Society of American Registered Architects New York). The teaching team turned the classroom into a place of intellectual exchange and dialogue. With a discourse that blends art, technology, humanities and environmental sciences. Student’s projects experimented with the possibilities of environmental architecture and social justice. An architectural context constrained by the challenges of reality.

“The 2023 Venice Biennale is a great opportunity to share our nationally recognized work in an international context. We chose this very intuitive video collage format to show not just the winning projects but the whole range of work from our studio with an overlay of studio life images from Lee Hall,” explained Heine, associate professor of architecture at Clemson University. “The work was emailed to Venice and installed in the existing infrastructure of the exhibition space. Our statement of sharing work at the other end of the world without creating any carbon footprint.”

Two women sitting on a bench watching the School of Architecture installation projections

The projects in the installation explore new architectures that respond to the challenge of climate change. Addressing the ways it will disproportionally impact lower-income and marginalized communities. Projects present design solutions that account for the social and political dimensions of space.

The Venice Biennial Architecture Exhibition’s 2023 focus is on the emerging expressions of sustainability in its numerous forms. Ranging from a focus on the environment and urban landscape to unfolding conversations on innovation, reuse and community. Participants address social justice by presenting living solutions envisioned for displaced communities and minorities. They examine the tensions between the built urban environment and the nature surrounding it, identifying opportunities for coexistence.

“The Venice Biennale and all the exhibitions organized around it are probably the most influential venues for architectural discussions worldwide,” shared Franco, co-director of architecture graduate programs at Clemson University. “Having the work of our students displayed there proves that they are working at the highest level in terms of design. It shows that the work we do at Clemson on environmental justice is fully aligned with the most relevant current debates on architecture and society.”

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