Statement on the U.S. Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale – Next City

Community Engaged Design in America

Statement on the U.S. Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

Detroit Resists
Detroit Resists.

The U.S. Pavilion at this year’s prestigious Venice Architecture Biennale featured an exhibition centered on Detroit called “The Architectural Imagination.” It was described as a showcase for “speculative architectural projects” and was meant to celebrate “the power of architecture.” In response to the exhibition, members of Detroit Resists—a “coalition of activists, artists, architects, and community members”—released this statement in an effort to hold design professionals accountable to a simple but critical question: Who benefits from these kinds of speculative projects? In its statement, the group calls out the curators and architects involved in the U.S. Pavilion for using Detroit’s economic and social devastation as a high-profile platform for their creative statements. The group criticizes “The Architectural Imagination” for praising Detroit’s “modern architecture and modern lifestyle” while failing to acknowledge “the dependence of that architecture and lifestyle on the city’s enduring legacy and reality of racism.”

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