Not For Sale! opens at Venice Biennale of Architecture

Thursday, May 18, 2023

The exhibition, curated by the collective Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA), draws attention to the housing crisis being experienced by many communities across Canada. Not for Sale! describes and denounces the impact of real estate speculation that converts homes into financial assets, aggravating a range of issues including a general lack of affordability, precarious housing, and homelessness.

of the Canadian pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture
Interior of Canada Pavilion.Photograph by MarisMezulis.

The AAHA collective which includes School of Architecture faculty members, Adrian Blackwell and David Fortin contends that in an ecominy dominated by real estate, urban environments suffer from the effects of systemic racism, sexism, and classism. The exhibition is a rallying call for the architectural community. It is also an invitation to work collaboratively within community environments to find creative, viable, ecological, and sustainable solutions. Not for Sale! proposes that the housing crisis is a severing of three forms of essential connection: to the land, to social ties and to the ability to creatively shape our environment.

Exterior of the Canadian pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture
Land Back Courtyard at CanadaPavilion.Photograph by MarisMezulis.A

Throughout the Biennale Architettura 2023, the AAHA collective will work with interdisciplinary and geographically dispersed teams. These teams are comprised of community organizations, supporters of non-alienated housing, and architects. As part of the Not for Sale! exhibition, architectural design studios, will be held onsite in Venice, for students from the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, and from the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

Land Back Courtyard at Canada
Land Back Courtyard at CanadaPavilion.Photograph by MarisMezulis.

Through ongoing research, writing, events, and visualizations, the university teams will further develop their demands and create architectural projects to address housing alienation, and present bold visions for equitable and truly affordable housing in Canada. Visitors to the Pavilion will be able to engage with those working on the ground to learn how to contribute to the development of sustainable solutions to housing affordability.

The AAHA Not for Sale! campaign is using social media and online resources to mobilize Canadians to join in the call for safer, healthier, and more equitable housing.


The online programming will include the Not for Sale! campaign manifesto, as well as the set of “demands” made by the collaborators to end housing alienation and foster the rebuilding of fundamental connections.