Two profs represent Canada at Venice Biennale

Friday, May 19, 2023

Two professors at the University of Waterloo are members of a team representing Canada at this year’s Venice Biennale showcase of architecture.

Adrian Blackwell and David Fortin, both professors at the Waterloo School of Architecture, belong to Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA), a collective of architects working to create decent housing for all. The AAHA’s architectural activist campaign, Not for Sale!, opens this week at the Canada Pavilion in Giardini, Italy.

Selected by the Canada Council for the Arts, which contributes $500,000 towards exhibition production, Not for Sale! brings together activists, advocates and architects to present their shared visions for ending housing alienation.

“The presentation of the AAHA collective’s Not For Sale! exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia highlights crucial issues related to affordable housing access in Canada,” said Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts, in a media release.

Not for Sale!

An inside look at the AAHA collective's Not for Sale! exhibition at this year's Venice Biennale.

The AAHA collective contends that in an economy dominated by real estate, urban environments suffer from the effects of systemic racism, sexism and classism.

"We believe that the roots of the housing crisis lie in the capitalist and colonialist dispossession of people from their land and homes. In Canada, this started with the appropriation of land from Indigenous peoples and the transformation of homes into commodities, objects of real estate speculation rather than places defined by deep community and cultural ties. We are witnessing the consequences of dispossession today. We are fighting for a system of housing that is fairer; we are showcasing not only the fundamental aspects of the housing crisis but also proposals for positive change – ways of legislating, financing, and designing that empower communities. We hope that the projects we show in Venice and our campaign at large will educate and inspire not only Canadians but people all over the globe impacted by the housing crisis.” – Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA) collective

The prestigious Venice Biennale of Architecture, one of the most important cultural institutions in the world, will run from May 20 to Nov. 26.