Thursday 22 October 2015


British Council announces winning proposal for the British Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia

  • Shumi Bose, Jack Self and Finn Williams chosen for the exhibition ‘Home Economics’

The British Council today announced the winning proposal for the British Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. Following an open call for proposals that ‘contribute an acute observation of contemporary British architecture’, the winning curatorial team, comprising Shumi Bose, Jack Self and Finn Williams, has been chosen from a shortlist invited to present their proposals to the selection committee. The project, titled ‘Home Economics’, will explore the future of the home through a series of full-scale domestic interiors.

Shumi Bose, Jack Self and Finn Williams said: “’Home Economics’ addresses the frontline of British architecture: the family home. The exhibition will ask urgent questions about the future of housing. Social and technological changes are collapsing the patterns of domestic life - but the design of the home hasn't caught up. Can the house ever escape its economic status as an asset? Should our homes still be considered private spaces? How do new types of families and households produce new spatial needs? What are the models of ownership, finance and work that make these conditions possible?

“’Home Economics’ will convert the British Pavilion into a series of full scale domestic spaces. We will invite a multi-disciplinary team of architects, artists, designers and developers to produce immersive 1:1 environments, which challenge the status quo and propose new futures for the British home. Life is changing; we must design for it.”

Vicky Richardson, Director Architecture, Design, Fashion at the British Council, said: “We look forward to working with Shumi, Jack and Finn on ‘Home Economics’, which will grapple with how architecture can respond to the changing ways that people live today. It will make an exciting exhibition which we hope will highlight the relevance of the ideas presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale to public audiences; as well as continuing the recent tradition of using the British Pavilion as a space for research and debate.”

The Biennale will take place from 28 May to 27 November 2016 (vernissage 26 – 27 May) in the Giardini and the Arsenale and various other venues around Venice. The title of the 2016 Biennale is ‘Reporting From The Front’ and overall Director Alejandro Aravena has called on national pavilions to respond to the theme by ‘learning from architectures that through intelligence, intuition or both of them at the same, are able to escape the status quo’.

To follow updates from the Architecture Design Fashion team at the British Council, go to:

The British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion in Venice since 1938 – showing British artists at the longest-running, most prestigious international art Biennial in the world: the Venice Biennale of Art. Since 1991, the British Pavilion has also been home to architecture exhibitions in the alternate years to the art Biennale.

British Pavilion Selection Committee for 2016:

- Vicky Richardson, Director of Architecture Design Fashion, British Council (Chair)

- Rob Gregory, Programme manager at Bristol Architecture Centre, History and Theory Course leader at University of Bath

- Eddie Heathcote, Architecture and Design Critic for the Financial Times

- Joanna Hogg, filmmaker and curator

- Charlie Hussey, Director of Sutherland Hussey Harris

- Marie Bak Mortensen, Head of Exhibitions, RIBA

- Teresa Stoppani, Professor of Architecture and Head of The Leeds School of Architecture at Leeds Beckett University

Notes to Editor

For further information and interviews about the British Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, please contact SUTTON:

Matthew Brown | E: | T: +44 (0) 20 7183 3577 | M: +44 (0) 7715 901 047

Sam Talbot | E: | T: +44 (0) 20 7183 3577 | M: +44 (0) 7808 222 879

For more information about the British Council, please contact:

Mary Doherty, Senior Press Officer | E: | T: +44 (0) 207 389 3144

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations. We build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people worldwide.

The British Council’s global arts team works with the best of British creative talent to develop innovative, high-quality events and collaborations that link thousands of artists and cultural institutions around the world, drawing them into a closer relationship with the UK.

The Architecture, Design, Fashion department develops exhibitions, seminars, workshops, collaborative projects, educational initiatives and specialists’ visits to the UK in conjunction with our colleagues and partners in over 100 countries. We also provide information on British architecture, design and fashion across the globe.

About the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

Since 1938 the British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion in Venice, showing the highest calibre of British artists including Henry Moore, Lucian Freud, Anish Kapoor, Mike Nelson and Jeremy Deller. The British Pavilion is one of the oldest buildings in the Giardini Pubblici, where the main hub of the Biennale is held, alongside 32 other national pavilions.

Since 1991 the British Council has also commissioned the British entry to the Architecture Biennale which takes places in alternate years. Since its inception, the Biennale has given a vital international platform to architectural practice and the key issues of society and space that are implicit. In 2014 the British Pavilion hosted A Clockwork Jerusalem by FAT Architecture and Crimson Architectural Historians, while in 2012 Venice Takeaway presented the work of 10 architectural teams examining work from around the world, and in 2010, under the direction of MUF, the Pavilion was home to an exhibition Villa Frankenstein