Egyptian Pavilion announces theme for Venice 2018

The Egyptian Ministry of Culture have announced “Roba becciah: The informal city” as the theme of the Egyptian pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Curated by architects Islam El Mashtooly and Mouaz Abouzaid, architecture professor Cristiano Luchetti, art director and producer Giuseppe Moscatello, and art director Karim Moussa, the pavilion proposes the redevelopment of spontaneous commercial spaces across Egypt.

It takes as its cue the theory of "contemporary mega-slums" that exist in many North African and South American cities and proposes that in the digital age of the post-modern era, cities are "metabolic organisms".

 (L-R) Giuseppe Moscatello, Cristiano Luchetti, Islam El Mashtooly and Mouaz Abouzaid, curators of the Egyptian pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

(L-R) Giuseppe Moscatello, Cristiano Luchetti, Islam El Mashtooly and Mouaz Abouzaid, curators of the Egyptian pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

In a statement, the curators write: "We think that the challenge for a sustainable livability of contemporary metropolises is first played through the analysis and then through the design of the "free space" as an "ultra-public" dimension. The free space is the place of individual functions that expressed collectively become public. Free space is, thus, the summation of multiple contributions, which, expressed in the space / time dimension, represent a fundamental part of the urban locus. In the contemporary city of the thousand prohibitions and private spaces, strenuously defended and impenetrable, “free space” is a rare and precious resource and frequently coincides with the unplanned space. It is, in fact, potentially, the place of the unexpected and the original creativity. It is the place of unpredicted (good or bad) surprises. At the same time, however, it cannot be a fully anarchic space, thus, lawlessness or “with no governance”. Chaos left to itself is not a carrier of quality. By borrowing metabolic concepts, “free space” must be equipped with infrastructures capable of governing its existence and addressing its implementation and development. In this sense, the definition and design, of a “free space” would seem contradictory because it would frustrate the celebration of a space without constraints and directives but it is not so. The infrastructure (flexible, adaptive, and changing) frees and enhances the potentiality of the “free space”, thus allowing its maximum functional and symbolic fruity."

  • Roba becciah: The informal city is part of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. May 26 - November 25, 2018