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Thursday, February 08, 2007
Cities come to the Tate
I actually knew about this a while back but - discreet as I am - didn't tell you all about it. But a version of Ricky Burdett's Venice Biennale exhibition is coming to the Tate Modern in the summer, and apparently to be augmented by some special commissions from big-name architects.

Itself in a sense a public version of the research Ricky did over the last two years for the Deustche Bank-sponsored Urban Age project, the Biennale exhibition was criticised by some parochial corners of the archi-press for not having any architecture in it (untrue, for the record) but was actually a fascinating and important expose of the state of cities around the globe. Although perhaps too much like a book-on-the-walls to be a truly successful 'exhibition', the content was dense, interesting and original; if only the catalogue had treated us to the same amount of sheer information. It clearly articulated the context that architects must respond to in order to remain relevant, as well as the challenges to politicians and citizens too. To make the point in Venice, in the home of what is often architecture for its own sake, that architecture is actually (to paraphrase Wallpaper) the stuff that surrounds us, and the social and cultural challenge of this is what architects must address, was brave and praiseworthy.

So I will be very glad to revisit it all again, this time taking more notes of the bits where my head started to spin last time around. (I would, of course, add that isn't this rich context what makes architecture so fulfilling and creative? but that's for another post.)

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