Photo: Andrea Avezzù

The 18th edition of the International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, one of the world’s leading architectural events, will be held between 20 May and 26 November 2023, next year. The coordinator of the Pavilion of Turkey, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), is making an open call to determine the project to be exhibited in the pavilion. The Pavilion of Turkey at the International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia is realised with the contributions of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, and co-sponsored by Schüco Turkey and VitrA.


The International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia is a major platform that presents conceptual productions and approaches in architecture. A part of the biennial’s ‘National Participations’, the Pavilion of Turkey will seek out, for the first round of evaluations, proposals with conceptual frameworks that are capable of discussing the contemporary discourses in the field of architecture; explore the concepts on or beyond architecture through alternative interdisciplinary practices, and have the potential to challenge conventional narratives.

In addition to having strong visual narration, it is also important that the project’s theme is clear and accessible. The call is also open to the applications of multinational teams with a team leader from Turkey.


In the first stage of the open call to conceive the Pavilion of Turkey at its fifth participation in the International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, the applicants will be expected to present a thematic concept, a project proposal, exhibition designs and spatial narration, a document that details the team structure and methodological principles, and the portfolio that includes the resumés and related endeavours of the project owners.

In the second stage of evaluations, the teams of the three projects to be proposed by the Selection Committee will be asked to present in-depth information on aspects such as the calendar, working method, printed materials and budget. It is aimed that the applicants to be selected at the end of this two-stage process will assume all curatorial responsibilities related to the exhibition and develop the exhibition in coordination with the Selection Committee and the İKSV team.

This call is for curators, architects, artists, historians, designers, theorists, critics, or anyone working in neighbouring fields. Applications by İKSV employees, first-degree relatives of the members of the Selection Committee, or business partners/their employees will not be considered for evaluation. Applications can be made individually or as a team, or through international collaborations that will involve at least one participant from Turkey. For applications made as a team, a team leader must be determined.


  • Online application form*
    Curatorial proposal (up to 5000 characters without spaces)
    Document explaining the team structure and working principles
    Detailed resumés of the applicant(s)
    Exhibition design and spatial narration (max. 10 MB)**
    Portfolio (up to 10 MB)

    *All documents in the applications must be prepared in English and in PDF format. All files must be uploaded to the relevant fields in the application form.

    **You can download the venue plans here.

    Applications must be completed by 18.00 on Monday, 3 October, 2022.

    For further information:


    The five-membered Selection Committee will determine the project to be included in the Pavilion of Turkey through a two-stage open call. The applications are expected to present a coherent curatorial narrative that are capable of discussing contemporary discourses in the field of architecture on a local, regional and global context through fresh ideas, and examine the concepts, on or beyond architecture, through alternative interdisciplinary practices. Projects applying for the first phase will be evaluated according to the relevancy of the curatorial theme, the feasibility of the proposed project and the organisational structure of the curatorial team.

    Three projects will be selected from among the applications for the second stage and asked to provide a more detailed presentation of their working method, printed materials, calendar and budget. The leader or leaders of the selected projects will be offered a progress payment to deepen their research; After the project teams detail their projects, they will be invited to the İKSV building to present their projects to the members of the Selection Committee and the İKSV team.


    The Selection Committee, which will determine the project to be included in the Turkish Pavilion exhibition with a two-stage open call method, will be supported by Aslı Çiçek, Neyran Turan, Prof. Dr. It consists of Ayşen Savaş, Han Tümertekin and Ertuğ Uçar.


    Curator: Lesley Lokko
    Giardini and Arsenale
    20 May–26 November, 2023 (pre-opening 18-19 May)

    The President of La Biennale di Venezia, Roberto Cicutto, and the Curator of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, Lesley Lokko - appointed as the Artistic Director of the Architecture Department by the Board of Directors on December 14th, 2021 - announced the title and theme of the Biennale Architettura 2023, which will be held from May 20th to November 26th 2023 (pre-opening May 18th and 19th) in the Giardini, at the Arsenale, and at various sites around Venice.

    The title of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition is The Laboratory of the Future.

    “New technologies continuously appear and disappear – stated Lesley Lokko - giving us unfiltered glimpses of life in parts of the globe we will likely never visit, much less understand. But to see both near and far simultaneously is also, as Du Bois and Fanon famously put it, a form of ‘double consciousness’, the internal conflict of all subordinated or colonised groups, which describes the majority of the world, not only ‘there’, in the so-called Developing-, Third-, and Arab Worlds, but ‘here’ too, in the metropoles and landscapes of the global North. In Europe we speak of minorities and diversity, but the truth is that the West’s minorities are the global majority. There is one place on this planet where all these questions of equity, race, hope and fear converge and coalesce. Africa. At an anthropological level, we are all African. And what happens in Africa happens to us all”.


    “Firstly, Africa is the laboratory of the future. We are the world’s youngest continent, with an average age half that of Europe and the United States, and a decade younger than Asia. We are the world’s fastest urbanising continent, growing at a rate of almost 4% per year. This rapid and largely unplanned growth is generally at the expense of local environment and ecosystems, which put us at the coal face of climate change at both a regional and planetary level. We remain the most under-vaccinated continent at just 15%, yet recorded the fewest deaths and infections by a significant margin that the scientific community still can’t quite explain. So often on the wrong side of hope and history, the resilience, self-reliance and a long, long history of grass-roots community health care suddenly tipped the balance in our favour. The long and traumatic history of forced migration through the trans-Atlantic slave trade is ground on which successive struggles for civil rights and a more civil society are being fought all over the world today. In all the talk of decarbonisation, it is easy to forget that black bodies were the first units of labour to fuel European imperial expansion that shaped the modern world. Racial equity and climate justice are two sides of the same coin.

    But hope is a powerful currency. To be hopeful is to be human. At a deeply personal level, I owe my presence at this table today to the tireless demands for a more just, more inclusive and more equitable fought for by generations before me. The vision of a modern, diverse, and inclusive society is seductive and persuasive, but as long as it remains an image, it is a mirage. Something more than representation is needed, and architects historically are key players in translating images into reality.

    Secondly, La Biennale di Venezia itself is also a kind of laboratory of the future, a time and space in which speculations about the discipline’s relevance to this world – and the world to come – take place. Today, the word ‘laboratory’ is more generally associated with scientific experimentation and conjures up images of a specific kind of room or building. But Richard Sennett’s examination of the word ‘workshop’, from which the word ‘laboratory’ stems, deepens the concept of collaborative endeavours in a different way. In the ancient world, in both China and Greece, the workshop was the most important institution anchoring civic life. In the aftermath of the American civil war, Booker T Washington, an ex-slave, conceived a project in which freed slaves recovering from slavery would leave home, train at two model institutions, the Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes, and return to their home communities. Importantly, during this temporary relocation, cooperation would be forged by direct experience and daily contact with one another as equals. We envisage our exhibition as a kind of workshop, a laboratory where architects and practitioners across an expanded field of creative disciplines draw out examples from their contemporary practices that chart a path for the audience – participants and visitors alike – to weave through, imagining for themselves what the future can hold”.


    “The world has always been rife with cultural misunderstandings: up until the beginning of the twentieth century, Europe viewed African art as barbaric and incomprehensible, and it took the provocations of the artistic avantgardes to force Europeans to look at a Bantù mask through a different lens; only cultured elites knew what the statues of Easter Island were: common people in Europe, and perhaps in China, judged the erotic sculptures on Indian temples, when they happened to see photographs of them, to be lewd and frenzied: Christians were scandalised when the followers of other religions represented their divinities in animal form, forgetting that western Christianity for centuries represented the third person of the Holy Trinity in the form of a dove.” (Excerpt from Lectio Magistralis by Umberto Eco to the Ministers of Culture at the inauguration of the Expo di Milano in 2015)

    “I quote these words today because I believe that the 18th International Architecture Exhibition curated by Lesley Lokko will have much to say about these themes as well. A sort of update seven years after that event. Lesley shows determination and courage in using two words in her title that are time-worn but irreplaceable – “laboratory and future” – to restore the full importance of their meaning.

    You will understand how her approach looks very much like the proposal for a pact between the visitors of La Biennale, the world of architecture and of culture in general. This is an Exhibition that, based on very practical premises and very specific points of view, will look straight into the eyes of the representatives of participating Countries, and all those who will crowd the Giardini, the Arsenale and the City of Venice. All in order to speak to the world, which is the real reason why a Curator takes on the responsibility of organizing an International Exhibition of La Biennale.”


    The 18th International Architecture Exhibition will also feature, as usual, the National Participations, with each country presenting its own exhibition in the Pavilions of the Giardini and the Arsenale, and in the historic centre of Venice. This edition will once again include a selection of Collateral Events organized by international institutions, which will hold their own shows and initiatives in Venice.