With only 16 editions, much younger than the Art Biennale, the Architecture Biennale fascinates visitors with a long, complex history full of highs and lows. Only in 1991 was it completely detached from the Art Biennale and established as an exhibition in its own right and with its own time schedule. Since then, it has been held across the entire Arsenale, at the national pavilions and the central pavilion in the Giardini.
The list of curators for the main exhibitions of the past reads like a random cross-section of the most recent decades of architectural history: Paolo Portoghesi (1980 & 1982), Aldo Rossi (1985 & 1986), Francesco Dal Co (1991), Hans Hollein (1996), Massimiliano Fuksas (2000), Deyan Sudjic (2002), Kurt W. Forster (2004), Richard Burdett (2006), Aaron Bet- sky (2008), Kazuyo Sejima (2010), David Chipperfield (2012), Rem Koolhaas (2014), Alejandro Aravena (2016) and this year Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects.
The curators are Irish architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. They titled the 16th International Architecture Exhibition Freespace, and explained their choice with the following words: