City Space Architecture meets Venice Architecture Biennale 2018

FREESPACE, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara

September 15, 2018
By City Space Architecture

We are very glad to announce that City Space Architecture has signed an agreement with La Biennale di Venezia for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition - titled FREESPACE, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara - in order to be included in the 'Biennale Sessions', a special program for Universities and Higher Education Institutions. This collaboration is intended as a continutation of the successful 'Biennale Session' we promoted in 2016, where we announced our participation at the Habitat III conference in Quito and officially launched 'The Journal of Public Space', in collaboration with the Queensland University of Technology and in partnership with UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme.

The 3-day event this year, ‘Past Present and Future of Public Space. Knowledge sharing toward implementation of the New Urban Agenda’, on September 21-22-23, is willing to strengthen our efforts around the implementation of the New Urban Agenda adopted at the Habitat III conference and to continue the discussion on the importance of public space in cities.
In addition to the visit to the Architecture exhibition, the 3-day event includes:

- a one-day international symposium

- an international workshop for students

- three collateral events: the visit at the Cyprus pavilion 'I'm where you are' with the curator Yiorgos Hadjichristou, the visit at the Irish pavilion 'Free Market' with the curator Tara Kennedy and the visit at the Dutch pavilion ‘Work, Body, Leisure’ with Marieke Berkers, on the occasion of the launch of the book ‘Dream your own future’. 

The 3-day event is curated by our President Luisa Bravo.


The full programme of the 3-day event can be dowloaded here


The international symposium will take place on Saturday September 22 at Arsenale, Sale d’Armi G. It is promoted by City Space Architecture and will engage professors, researchers and students from:

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong / The Graduate Centre, City University of New York, USA  / Hunan University, China / IUAV University, Italy  /  Keio University, Japan / KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden / KTH Centre for the Future of Places, Sweden / Lodz University of Technology, Poland / Manchester School of Architecture, United Kingdom / Meiji University, Japan  /  Politecnico di Milano, Italy  /  Pratt Institute, USA / Shanghai University, China  / Stanford University, USA  /  Syracuse University in Florence, Italy  /  Tsinghua University, China / TU Vienna, Austria / Universidad Espíritu Santo, Ecuador / Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain / University of Auckland, New Zealand / University of Bologna, Italy / University of Cambridge, United Kingdom / University College Cork, Ireland / University of Florence, Italy / University of Nicosia, Cyprus  / University of Palermo, Italy 

and will also have representatives from:

ISOCARP – the International Society of City and Regional Planners / UN-Habitat.


The symposium includes a session entirely dedicated to students’ research and activities on public space. Using the format of speed presentations, participants will have an in-depth overview of students' research about public space from a various of topics and contexts, such as Italy, USA, Spain, Ecuador, Sweden, Japan, Poland. The students' session will be moderated by our co-founder Valerio Francia.

The international workshop will take place on Sunday September 23 at Arsenale, Sale d’Armi G. It is promoted by City Space Architecture in collaboration with University of Auckland, Hunan University and Shanghai University and will engage students in lectures, presentations and a roundtable discussion. The international workshop will be coordinated by Manfredo Manfredini.


The 3-day event in Venice will have about 100 participants from all over the world: more than 30 international academic speakers with about 50 international Master and PhD students will attend. It will be the opportunity to present and discuss research activities, programmes and initiatives focused on public space, cities and urbanity promoted by several leading Universities worldwide. The symposium will have a specific focus on global challenges addressed by the New Urban Agenda adopted in Quito at the Habitat III conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (2016) and the way researchers, policy makers and global institutions are implementing its contents, with particular reference to public space issues.

For more information about the event, please send an email to:


A group picture from the "Past Present and Future of Public Space" conference in Venice (2018).



The 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is curated by the Irish architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara from Grafton’s Architect and is titled FREESPACE, intended as an act of generosity within the architectural process. According to the President of La Biennale Paolo Baratta “with architecture, whatever we create for private use become a structure in public space”. Thus, the relationship between architecture and public space becomes strong and clear, highlighting the importance of the role of both citizens’ experience and architecture as a common good, intended as a public action or a gift.

Farrell and McNamara wrote a FREESPACE Manifesto not only as a statement of intent but also as a tool to give cohesion to the whole exhibition. This allowed to raise several different aspects and languages within the national participation pavilion and in particular to every aspect of the space feature, because as stated by Farrell and McNamara “We are interested in the language of place, believing now more than ever before, that the critical role of architecture is to claim space, to claim each particular coordinate on this fragile planet, emphasising and highlighting what is specific in terms of geography, climate and culture.” In conclusion, the human dimension and experience of architecture and space, such as public space, are topics that are explored and deepen in several conceptual and design exhibition, allowing the visitor to think, define and maybe re-define the concept of FREESPACE.

Here is a small collection of pictures from the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

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