Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara announce their collaborators 

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton at the Venice Biennale press conference in London with biennale president Paolo Baratta

Yvonne Farrell (right) and Shelley McNamara of Grafton at the Venice Biennale press conference in London with biennale president Paolo Baratta

Alison Brooks, David Chipperfield, Peter Zumthor, BIG and Alvaro Siza are among the big names that have been invited to collaborate with Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara at this year’s Venice Biennale.

The founders of Grafton have set “free space” as their theme and wrote a manifesto outlining their aims (see box below).

They said: “We are hugely appreciative of the enormous dedication and passion invested by the participants. It has been a revelation to witness the variety of architectural responses to the vast differences in culture, climatic conditions, economies, construction techniques, received from architects throughout the world.

“It is wonderful to think that for months, architects around the globe are thinking and making responses to the Freespace Manifesto, in order to try to convey the meaning of their work, trying to dig deeply so as to reveal, to lay bare, the Freespace ingredient embedded in their work.

“We have included participants from all around the world. To those who have not been invited, who are also our respected colleagues, we would like to say that we have chosen ‘samples’ that hopefully express architectural values shared with you and to which you have contributed.”




6a architects (London, UK)

Tom Emerson; Stephanie Macdonald; John Ross; Owen Watson


Alison Brooks Architects (London, UK) Alison Brooks


Álvaro Siza 2 – Arquitecto, SA (Porto, Portugal) Álvaro Siza Vieira


Amateur Architecture Studio (Hangzhou, China) Wang Shu; Lu Wenyu


andramatin (Jakarta, Indonesia) Andra Matin


Angela Deuber Architect (Chur, Switzerland) Angela Deuber


architecten de vylder vinck taillieu (Ghent, Belgium) Jan de Vylder; Inge Vinck; Jo Taillieu


Arrea architecture (Ljubljana, Slovenia) Maruša Zorec


Assemble (London, UK)

Jane Issler Hall; Mathew Leung; Alice Edgerley; Adam Willis; Fran Edgerley; Amica Dall; Giles Smith; James Binning; Paloma Strelitz; Lewis Jones; Joseph Halligan; Louis Schulz; Maria Lisogorskaya; Karim Khelil; Anthony Engi Meacock


Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner (Haldenstein, Switzerland) Peter Zumthor


Aurelio Galfetti (Lugano and Bellinzona, Switzerland)


Barclay & Crousse (Lima, Peru) Sandra Barclay; Jean Pierre Crousse


BC architects & studies (Brussels, Belgium)

Ken De Cooman; Nicolas Coeckelberghs; Wes Degreef; Laurens Bekemans


Benedetta Tagliabue Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona, Spain; Shangai, China) Benedetta Tagliabue; Elena Nedelcu; Joan Callís


BIG Bjarke Ingels Group (New York, USA; Copenhagen, Denmark; London, UK)

Bjarke Ingels; Sheela Maini Søgaard; Finn Nørkjær; Thomas Christoffersen; Kai Uwe Bergmann; Andreas Klok Pedersen; David Zahle; Jakob Lange; Beat Schenk; Daniel Sundlin; Brian Yang; Jakob Sand


Burkhalter Sumi Architekten (Zürich, Switzerland) Marianne Burkhalter; Christian Sumi


Marco Pogacnik (Venice, Italy)


Carla Juaçaba (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)


Caruso St John Architects (London, UK) Adam Caruso; Peter St John


Case Design (Mumbai, India) Anne Geenen; Samuel Barclay


Cino Zucchi Architetti (Milan, Italy) Cino Zucchi


Crimson Architectural Historians (Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Ewout Dorman; Michelle Provoost; Cassandra Wilkins; Wouter Vanstiphout; Simone Rots; Annuska Pronkhorst


David Chipperfield Architects (London, UK; Berlin, Germany; Milan, Italy; Shanghai, China) David Chipperfield; Alexander Schwarz; Martin Reichert; Christoph Felger; Eva Schad; Harald Müller


de Blacam and Meagher Architects (Dublin, Ireland; Ibiza, Spain) Shane de Blacam; John Meagher


Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, USA)

Elizabeth Diller; Charles Renfro; Ricardo Scofidio; Benjamin Gilmartin


DnA_Design and Architecture (Beijing, China) Xu Tiantian


Dorte Mandrup A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark) Dorte Mandrup; Frants Nielsen


Elemental (Santiago, Chile)

Alejandro Aravena; Gonzalo Arteaga; Juan Cerda; Diego Torres; Victor Oddo


Elizabeth Hatz Architects (Stockholm, Sweden) Elizabeth Hatz


Estudio Carme Pinós (Barcelona, Spain) Carme Pinós


Flores & Prats (Barcelona, Spain) Eva Prats; Ricardo Flores


Francesca Torzo Architetto (Genova, Italy) Francesca Torzo


Gion A. Caminada (Vrin Cons, Switzerland)


GrupoSP (São Paulo, Brazil) Alvaro Puntoni; Joao Sodre


Gumuchdjian Architects (London, UK) Philip Gumuchdjian


Hall McKnight (Belfast and London, UK) Alastair Hall; Ian McKnight


Inês Lobo, Arquitectos (Lisbon, Portugal) Inês Lobo; João Rosário


Jensen og Skodvin Arkitekter AS (Oslo, Norway)

Jan Olav Jensen; Børre Skodvin; Torunn Golberg; Torstein Koch


John Wardle Architects (Melbourne, Australia)

John Wardle, Stefan Mee, Meaghan Dwyer, Bill Krotiris, Jane Williams


Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA (Tokyo, Japan) Kazuyo Sejima; Ryue Nishizawa


Kieran Long; Johan Örn; James Taylor Foster (Stockholm, Sweden) with

ArkDes (Stockholm, Sweden)


Lacaton & Vassal Architects (Paris, France) Anne Lacaton; Jean Philippe Vassal


Laura Peretti Architects (Rome, Italy) Laura Peretti


Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo (Vittoria – Ragusa, Italy)


Marie José Van Hee architecten (Ghent, Belgium) Marie José Van Hee


Marina Tabassum Architects (Dhaka, Bangladesh) Marina Tabassum


Matharoo Associates (Ahmedabad, India) Gurjit Singh Matharoo


Michael Maltzan Architecture (Los Angeles, USA) Michael Maltzan


Niall McLaughlin Architects (London, UK) Niall McLaughlin


O Donnell + Tuomey (Dublin, Ireland) John Tuomey; Sheila O Donnell


Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos (Madrid, Spain) Angela Garcia de Paredes; Ignacio G. Pedrosa


Paulo Mendes da Rocha (São Paulo, Brazil)


Peter Rich Architects (Johannesburg, South Africa) Peter Rich


Rafael Moneo, Arquitecto (Madrid, Spain) Rafael Moneo


Rintala Eggertsson Architects (Oslo and Bodø, Norway) Dagur Eggertsson; Vibeke Jensen; Sami Rintala


RMA Architects (Mumbai, India; Boston, USA)

Rahul Mehrotra; Nondita Correa Mehrotra; Robert Stephens; Payal Patel


Robert McCarter, Professor of Architecture (St. Louis, Missouri, USA) Robert McCarter


Room11 Architects (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) Thomas Bailey; Nathan Crump; Megan Baynes


Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura (Mexico City, Mexico) Rozana Montiel


Salter Collingridge Design (London and Ludlow, UK) Peter Salter; Fenella Collingridge


Sauerbruch Hutton (Berlin, Germany)

Matthias Sauerbruch; Louisa Hutton; Juan Lucas Young


Skälsö Arkitekter (Visby and Stockholm, Sweden)

Joel Phersson; Erik Gardell; Lisa Ekström; Mats Håkansson; Axel Wolgers


Souto Moura Arquitectos, S.A. (Porto, Portugal) Eduardo Souto de Moura


Studio Anna Heringer (Laufen, Germany) Anna Heringer


Studio Gang (Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, USA) Jeanne Gang


Studio Odile DECQ (Paris, France) Odile Decq


Talli Architecture and Design (Helsinki, Finland) Pia Ilonen; Minna Lukander; Martti Lukander


Tezuka Architects (Tokyo, Japan) Takaharu Tezuka; Yui Tezuka


Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects (Tokyo, Japan) Toyo Ito


Vector Architects (Beijing, China) Gong Dong


VTN Architects (Hochiminh City, Vietnam) Vo Trong Nghia


Weiss/Manfredi (New York, USA) Marion Weiss; Micheal Manfredi 




FREESPACE describes a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture’s agenda, focusing on the quality of space itself.

FREESPACE focuses on architecture’s ability to provide free and additional spatial gifts to those who use it and on its ability to address the unspoken wishes of strangers.

FREESPACE celebrates architecture’s capacity to find additional and unexpected generosity in each project - even within the most private, defensive, exclusive or commercially restricted conditions.

FREESPACE provides the opportunity to emphasise nature’s free gifts of light - sunlight and moonlight, air, gravity, materials - natural and man-made resources.

FREESPACE encourages reviewing ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world, of inventing solutions where architecture provides for the well being and dignity of each citizen of this fragile planet.

FREESPACE can be a space for opportunity, a democratic space, un-programmed and free for uses not yet conceived. There is an exchange between people and buildings that happens, even if not intended or designed, so buildings themselves find ways of sharing and engaging with people over time, long after the architect has left the scene. Architecture has an active as well as a passive life.

FREESPACE encompasses freedom to imagine, the free space of time and memory, binding past, present and future together, building on inherited cultural layers, weaving the archaic with the contemporary.

With the theme of Freespace, the Biennale Architettura 2018 will present for public scrutiny examples, proposals, elements - built or unbuilt - of work that exemplifies essential qualities of architecture which include the modulation, richness and materiality of surface; the orchestration and sequencing of movement, revealing the embodied power and beauty of architecture.

The Exhibition will have a spatial, physical presence of a scale and quality, which will impact on the visitor, communicating architecture’s complex spatial nature.

The Exhibition invites emotional and intellectual engagement of the many who come to the Biennale in order to understand architecture more fully, to stimulate discussion on core architectural values and to celebrate architecture’s proven and enduring contribution to humanity.

When Jørn Utzon thinks about a concrete and tiled seat at the entrance of Can Lis, Majorca, it is moulded perfectly to the human body for comfort and pleasure. Spatially, it is a ‘word’ of greeting, of welcome.

Angelo Mangiarotti and Bruno Morassutti ‘say’ the same thing at the entrance to 24 Via Quadronno, Milan where a gently sloping path, with a seat at the entrance threshold ‘holds’ you and welcomes you home from the city.

Lina Bo Bardi raised the museum of modern art in Sao Paolo in order to make a ‘belvedere’ for the citizens to overlook the city.

The Medici Palace in Florence represents power and wealth but the stone seat which forms part of the solid façade almost turns the building inside out. The solid wall becomes the enclosing wall of the public space. What is solid seems outward looking and generous.

We believe that everyone has the right to benefit from architecture. The role of architecture is to give shelter to our bodies and to lift our spirits. A beautiful wall forming a street edge gives pleasure to the passer-by, even if they never go inside. So too does a glimpse into a courtyard through an archway; or a place to lean against in the shade or a recess which offers protection from the wind and rain.

We are interested in going beyond the visual, emphasizing the role of architecture in the choreography of daily life.

We see the earth as Client. This brings with it long-lasting responsibilities. Architecture is the play of light, sun, shade, moon, air, wind, gravity in ways that reveal the mysteries of the world. All of these resources are free.

It is examples of generosity and thoughtfulness in architecture throughout the world that will be celebrated in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition. We believe these qualities sustain the fundamental capacity of architecture to nurture and support meaningful contact between people and place. We focus our attention on these qualities because we consider that intrinsic to them are optimism and continuity. Architecture that embodies these qualities and does so with generosity and a desire for exchange is what we call Freespace.

We invite all participants and every national pavilion to bring to Venice their Freespace, so together we may reveal the diversity, specificity and continuity in architecture based on people, place, time, history, to sustain the culture and relevance of architecture on this dynamic planet.»

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in”, Greek Proverb.

Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, Curators of the Biennale Architettura 2018