For the first time in history, Lebanon will be officially represented at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, with its own national pavilion.
Photo: Beirut River watershed (2018) – Hala Younes
The project going to Italy in May 2018 is titled “The Place that Remains,” curated by LAU assistant professor of architecture Hala Younes, in collaboration with the Culture Ministry and the Order of Engineers and Architects.
“The exhibition aims to shed light on unbuilt land, its cultural characteristics and the prospects in improving the constructed environment and living conditions,” Younes said during a press conference, “as well as the architect’s role in the construction process and the resulting impact on the culture of the land.
“The purpose of the exhibition is to create knowledge and awareness on the status of the land,” she added. “We are counting on developing knowledge of the territory in Lebanese society in order to become familiar with it and defend its value because our heritage is not only architectural but also [one of geography and landscape].”
Founded in 1895, the Venice Biennale showcases the best the international art scene has to offer. The first Architecture Exhibition took place in 1980 and became an established branch.
The 16th edition is titled “Freespace,” focusing on the theme of improving the quality of space unoccupied by buildings or constructions.
Lebanon’s showcase will present 3-D relief mapping, landscape photography and video surveillance, with a centerpiece showing a huge 3-D model of Lebanon’s mountainous landscape by Ahmad Khouja.
Photo: Confluence (2018) – Hala Younes
“We made the model with the help of the Directorate of Geographic Affairs, who gave us all the info we needed to make it,” Younes said. “[Someone] said ‘it’s not a model, it’s a monument’ and this is the concept of the pavilion –our territory is our monument.”
Text: Maghie Ghali