Architects Against Housing Alienation to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale of Architecture

A new collective led by Adrian Blackwell, David Fortin, Matthew Soules, Sara Stevens, Patrick Stewart, and Tijana Vujosevic will use the Canadian Pavilion in Venice as the headquarters for a campaign for safe, healthy, and affordable housing.

Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA), Poster in Toronto (poster by Chris Lee, rendering by William Hansen), 2022.

Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA) will represent Canada at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, from May 20 to November 26, 2023.

AAHA is a curatorial collective, newly formed for the Venice Biennale of Architecture. It has a mission to instigate an architectural movement and create socially, ecologically, and creatively empowering housing for all. 

The collective was selected from among four finalists in a national jury competition. The Canada Council for the Arts, as Commissioner, oversees Canada’s official participation and will contribute $500,000 towards AAHA’s exhibition. 

With this distinction, Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA) will launch Not for Sale! an architectural activist campaign for non-alienated housing

AAHA will transform the Canada Pavilion in the Giardini  into a campaign headquarters for equitable housing that rejects this concept of property and the financialized form of architecture that it implies.

Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA), Headquarters (rendering by William Hansen), 2022.

To address these issues, they will work with interdisciplinary and geographically-dispersed teams of activist organizations, advocates for non-alienated housing, and architects. They will collaborate to develop demands and create architectural projects to address housing alienation, presenting bold visions for equitable and deeply affordable housing in Canada. AAHA’s goal is to mobilize all Canadians to join the call for safer, healthier, and more equitable housing. 

“We are thrilled to have been selected to represent Canada at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, a prestigious international platform that engages critical conversation about contemporary architecture. It is crucial that we respond to Canada’s deep housing crisis. Together with Indigenous leaders, activists, advocates, and architects, we will create a campaign for accessible and affordable housing for all,” says AAHA.

Along with the selected project, the proposals from the following firms and collaborations made the 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture shortlist

  • Chevalier Morales Collaborative: Pre-Occupied Architectures / Prerequisites 
  • HiLo/YOW+ : Post 
  • marc boutin architectural collaborative: Towards a Vernacular of Resilience

 Adrian Blackwell is an artist, designer, theorist, and educator, whose work explores the relationship between physical spaces and political economic forces. His art and design have been exhibited across Canada, in the United States, and internationally at the Shenzhen and Chengdu Biennales, Shanghai Urban Space Art Season, the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the Toronto Biennial of Art. In 2022 Adrian and David Fortin co-edited issue 12/13 of the journal Scapegoat– c\a\n\a\d\a: delineating nation state capitalism. He has taught architecture and urbanism at Chongqing, Michigan, Toronto, and Harvard Universities and is currently an associate professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.  

David Fortin is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Indigenous Task Force that seeks ‘ways to foster and promote indigenous design in Canada’. From 2018–2019, he coordinated a community-led housing design project with the National Research Council for remote northern communities and has also participated as a mentor and architect for the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative administered by Indigenous Services Canada. David is a professional architect who runs a small architectural office working primarily with Métis and First Nations communities across Canada. He is currently a professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture. 

Matthew Soules is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the founder of Matthew Soules Architecture. Matthew’s research focuses on contemporary capitalism and architecture. His latest book, Icebergs, Zombies, and the Ultra Thin: Architecture and Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, examines the rise of finance capitalism and its relationship with architecture. Matthew’s work has been funded by numerous organizations, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the British Columbia Arts Council, as well as receiving a wide range of awards, such as the AIA/ACSA Housing Design Education Award in 2012. He has been visiting faculty at Harvard University and SCI-Arc. 

Sara Stevens is an architectural and urban historian. She is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Her research focuses on real estate developers of the twentieth century, exploring the cultural economy of architectural practice, finance, and expertise in Canada and the United States. Her book, Developing Expertise: Architecture and Real Estate in Metropolitan, studies real estate development in twentieth century American cities, and how developers, investors, and architects worked together to build subdivisions and superblocks, cul-de-sacs, and towers. Sara was awarded a 2019 Research Fellowship with the Canadian Centre for Architecture that supports her second book project, titled Building Capital

Patrick Stewart is a member of the Killerwhale House of Daaxan of the Nisga’a Nation. He is an award-winning architect with 26 years of architectural experience. Patrick was the first architect of First Nations ancestry to own and operate an architectural firm in British Columbia and elected as President of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia. Patrick is founding Chair of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Indigenous Task Force, Co-Chair of the RAIC Truth and Reconciliation Task Force and Chair of the Provincial Aboriginal Homelessness Committee in BC. He has also been a mentor for the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative administered by Indigenous Services Canada as a different way to develop, design and fund projects with Indigenous communities. 

Tijana Vujosevic is assistant professor at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Tijana is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the MIT Presidential Fellowship, Gerda Henkel Foundation PhD Fellowship, American Association of University Women International Fellowship, and, more recently, a two-year Fellowship with the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Strasbourg. Recently, MOMA re-published her 2013 essay on Soviet 1930s bathhouses on its site as essential reading during the pandemic. Tijana’s book on communist domesticity was reviewed in nine scholarly journals and was on Owen Hatherley’s list of most important books of 2017 in the Architectural Review

Chris Lee is a graphic designer and assistant professor in the Undergraduate Communications Design Department at the Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY). His research and independent creative work explore the historical, practical, and pedagogical implications of centering the document—in particular its archival, evidentiary function—as a genre of graphic design. He has worked for The Walrus Magazine, Metahaven, and Bruce Mau Design.  

Ali S. Qadeer is a Toronto-based designer, educator in the faculty of OCADU, an occasional writer, and a graduate of McGill University and RISD. His work and writing focus on algorithmic form-making, unorthodox toolmaking, and the disciplinary and economic structures that design practices buttress, as well as surveillance and platform managerialism and the countercultures of cooperativism.  

Contributors & Collaborators: Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia │ Shawn Bailey and Lancelot Coar, University of Manitoba │ Bâtir Son Quartier, Black Urbanism Toronto │ Black Urbanism TO | Brique par Brique | Ian Campbell, Hereditary Chief, Squamish Nation │Canadian Cohousing Network │ Julia Christensen, Memorial University │ Anne Cormier, Atelier Big City │ CP Planning | Susan Fitzgerald, fbm Architecture │ Gentrification Tax Action | Haeccity Architecture Studio │Idle No More | One House Many Nations │LGA Architectural Partners │ L’OEUF Architectes | Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust │ Right to Remain │ Sarah Silva, Hiy̓ám̓ ta Housing │ SvN Architects and Partners │ The Studio of Contemporary Architecture │ Toronto Tiny Shelters │ Ipek Türeli, McGill University.  

Lead Organization: School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia 

Partner Organization: University of Waterloo School of Architecture