EGU21-1021, updated on 03 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Natural disasters and architecture: the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale "Reporting from the front"

Maria Bostenaru Dan
Maria Bostenaru Dan
  • Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Department of Research, Bucharest, Romania

Napoleon founded, after drainage and demolition, the Giardini in Venice, which in the 19th century (1985 first edition) started to be the ground for the Venice Biennale. Pavillions were built for different countries, after the model of World Exhibitions. The Venice Biennale was at the begin an art exhibition. Since 1975 the Art Biennale takes place alternatively with the architecture Biennale, each of them every two years. In 2016, the 15th Architecture Biennale was curated by Alejandro Aravena and had the title "Reporting from the front". The Biennale features central pavillions at the Giardini and at the Arsenale (a younger extension), and in the free spaces, and also 61 national pavillions. Google Arts and Culture archived the Biennale 2016 as a museum and it can be consulted also afterwards by anyone. Among others, it called for contributions presenting how architecture is dealing with natural disasters. The overall call and interdependence between natural disasters mitigation and sustainability will be presented. The response to the call was mainly approaching man-made disasters, but also installations on climate change dedicated museums or on disaster resistant infrastructure by Marte architects. The curator himself received 2016 the Pritzker prize, the most prestigious one for architecture, among others for acclaimed work in reconstructing 2010 after an earthquake and tsunami in Chile, using participatory means. Participatory means have an important footprint at the Biennale. 2006 already the USA presented at the Biennale in their Pavillion dealing with the aftermath of Kathrina.

The contribution at the EGU will compare this approach with the latest developments in participatory approaches to disaster management, also approached in other research works of the author (ex. NHESS publication from 2004, present in the encyclopedia entry), and of dedicated associations (ex. i-REC). It is an endeavour of the contribution of the author to show how architecture and urban planning can contribute to disaster mitigation, also in this session. The author visited the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale and will report a first hand experience with artistic presentation of the approach to disasters.

How to cite: Bostenaru Dan, M.: Natural disasters and architecture: the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale "Reporting from the front", EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-1021,, 2021.