13. International Architecture Exhibition

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The emphasis of the 2012 Biennale is on what people have in common. Above all, the ambition of Common Ground is to reassert the existence of an architectural culture, made up not just of singular talents but a rich continuity of diverse ideas united in a common history, common ambitions, common predicaments and ideals. In architecture everything begins with the ground. It is our physical datum, where we make the first mark, digging the foundations that will support our shelter. On the ground we draw the line that defines the boundary of what is enclosed and what is common. Today our relationship to the ground is no longer so direct, but it remains critical to our understanding of our place and where we stand. The physical process of enclosure not only protects but also defines inside from outside, private from public, the individual from the community. As the world seems to increasingly indulge the aspirations of the individual, we seem to find the idea of community, the civic, the public, the common, more difficult to define. Common ground (as opposed to public space) infers a territory that is shared within a context of difference. The theme identifies the search for the shared within the apparently diverse, and helps us to imagine strategies to deal with our common predicament and our strangely persistent need to feel part of a world bigger than the one required for our individual comfort. The final list of contributors demonstrates a rich culture of difference rather than a selection of edited and promoted positions.

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