Friday 29 September 2017


Caruso St John Architects and artist Marcus Taylor will represent the UK at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, the British Council announced today.

A panel of architecture and design specialists from across the UK selected the winning team from a shortlist of four proposals. The successful concept, titled Island, responds to the theme of Freespace, set by Biennale curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects. The proposal engages with current political themes, and was submitted with the following quote from The Tempest: 

“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises; Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.”

Peter St John, Partner at Caruso St John Architects: “It is an honour for us to have been selected to curate the British Pavilion. In the year before Brexit, we plan to transform the building into a generous public space that can be a popular meeting point within the gardens of the Biennale.”

Sarah Mann, Director of Architecture Design Fashion at the British Council: “The open call generated a strong field of proposals but the panel was unanimous in its selection. The uncertainties that exist in today’s world give the British Pavilion a new imperative and Island promises to be a thought-provoking installation that I am confident will spark debate.”

Adam Caruso and Peter St John won the Stirling Prize in 2016 for their Newport Street Gallery for Damien Hirst. They have worked on several major arts projects including Tate Britain Millbank and Nottingham Contemporary. Marcus Taylor, originally from Northern Ireland, has collaborated on several projects with the practice, including most recently a joint submission for the UK Holocaust Memorial.

The British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion in Venice since 1937, showcasing the best of the UK's artists, architects, designers and curators. The accompanying talks and the Venice Fellowships initiative, introduced in 2016, help make the British Pavilion a platform for discussion about contemporary art and architecture. 

Notes to Editor

Please find the full press pack, including images here:


The 16th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia opens to the public 26 May to 25 November 2018. Vernissage, 23-25 May 2018

Follow updates on the #BritishPavilion on social media: and 

Find out more about previous architecture exhibitions at the British Pavilion: and the work of the Architecture Design Fashion team at the British Council: 

Selection panel

The UK’s presentation at the Venice Biennale is selected by an advisory panel of leading architecture professionals, from across the UK. The panel membership changes for every edition of the biennale. The panel selecting the 2018 pavilion was chaired by Sarah Mann, Director of Architecture Design Fashion at the British Council and included:
Gary Boyd, Reader in Architecture at Queen's University, Belfast and Head of Architecture
Pablo Bronstein, artist 
Suzy Jones, Director, RIBA North 
Philip Long, Director,  V&A Dundee
Debika Ray, Senior Editor, ICON

For further information and interviews about the British Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, please contact ING Media:

Laura Colapietro | E: | DL: +44 (0) 20 7392 1999 | M: +44 (0) 7534 970 576
Serra Ataman | E: | DL: +44 (0) 20 7247 8334 | M: +44 (0) 7720 669 073

For more information about the British Council, please contact:

Chloe Kembery, Head of Media | | T: +44 (0) 207 389 4780 

About the Venice Fellowships

The Venice Fellowships enable students and volunteers to spend a month in Venice during one of the world’s most significant art and architecture biennales. 

About Pavilion Patrons

The Pavilion Patrons scheme supports the preservation of the British Pavilion as a historic venue  and the ambitions of artists and architects, demonstrating excellence in contemporary arts and architecture on a global stage.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

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