Highlighting America's rich history of architectural experimentation and the original ways architects today are working collaboratively to invigorate community activism and environmental policy


Beyond the Act / After the Biennale

A conversation exploring how architects and curators can go beyond building and define architecture as a social practice

Fields of Knowledge
  • Artistic legacies
  • Curatorial practice
  • Design

Organizing Institutions



Samuel S. Fels Fund and Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a program of The Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts

Opens to public


On the web


75% Formal - 25% Informal

Slought is pleased to announce a public conversation on Saturday, October 4, 2008 from 6:30-8:00pm with designer Teddy Cruz and curator Emiliano Gandolfi, in dialogue with William Menking and Aaron Levy. This event is presented in conjunction with the Italian Paviion and the official U.S. representation at La Biennale di Venezia, 11th International Architecture Exhibition.

What happens after the biennale is over? How can the issues explored in these expositions be mobilized in contemporary practice? This event will explore how architects can go beyond building by defining architecture not just as a physical infrastructure but also as a social practice. This does not mean dispensing with the value of architecture per se, but rather acknowledging each situation's unique complexity. How can architects take up the challenge of designing the conditions from which new architectures can emerge?

The Experimental Architecture section of the Italian Pavilion probes the borders of contemporary design and advocates for an expanded definition of architectural practice and responsibility. Likewise, the exhibition Into the Open: Positioning Practice in the U.S. Pavilion explores how architects, urban researchers, and community activists are meeting the challenges of creating new work in response to contemporary social conditions and addresses factors challenging traditional methods of architecture, such as shifting socio-cultural demographics, changing geo-political boundaries, uneven economic development, and the explosion of migration and urbanization.

Together, the practices featured in the Italian and United States pavilions challenge us to reconsider the politics of exhibition display and prevailing curatorial approaches, reconceptualizing expositions not as opportunities for instruction but rather as spaces of dialogue and debate.

read more

Emiliano Gandolfi is the curator of the Experimental Architecture section of the Italian Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia, 11th International Architecture Exhibition.

Designer Estudio Teddy Cruz's photomontage and research about the border between San Diego and Tijuana stretches across the facade of the U.S. Pavilion this year at La Biennale di Venezia, functioning as a metaphorical and actual passageway for visitors.

William Menking, Aaron Levy, and Andy Sturm co-curated "Into the Open: Positioning Practice," the official U.S. representation at La Biennale di Venezia, 11th International Architecture Exhibition.

Additional Media

To learn more, download Emilio Gandolfi's visual presentation.