Call for submissions for Canadian representation at the 2016 Venice Biennale in Architecture

The Canada Council for the Arts invites proposals for the Canadian representation at the 2016 Venice Biennale in Architecture, to be shown in the Canada Pavilion at Venice and in Canada. The Venice Biennale in Architecture is the foremost international platform where to engage critical conversations on contemporary architecture. Cultural leaders, architects, artists and more than 350,000 visitors are expected at the Biennale between June and November 2016. 

The proposed presentation should communicate excellence, innovation, and currency in contemporary Canadian architecture including buildings, landscapes and places, or in works of critical and (or) design research on architecture, landscape architecture or the urban environment.

The deadline date to present a submission is Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

The nominal applicant must be an incorporated Canadian organization, institution or registered business. These include, but are not limited to, architectural firms, organizations and associations, schools of architecture, artist-run centres, galleries and museums. The organization, institution or business must be at least 75 percent Canadian-owned and have its head office and executive located in Canada.

The team must include professional expertise and experience in contemporary Canadian architecture. This includes, but is not limited to, architects, critics and curators of architecture, professors of architecture, landscape architects and urban designers.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate their ability to manage the responsibilities outlined and complete a project of this nature.  

The selected applicant will be responsible for delivering the proposed project, without substantial alteration, while assuming responsibility for expenses incurred by the project, beyond the envelope provided by the Canada Council. Applicants can either choose to develop simple projects of modest means, or more elaborate propositions involving additional sources of funding. A sample budget is included in the information package, available upon request.

The successful applicant will have responsibilities in all aspects of the Canadian presentation, including: conception, design, production and project management of the exhibition; shipping, insurance, installation and dismantling of the exhibition; hiring and managing of a local coordinator in Venice; meeting of project deadlines required by the Biennale Office and the RAIC opening and closing of the Canada Pavilion pre- and post-Biennale, and returning it to its original state; touring of the exhibit, or a version of it, in Canada; building and maintaining a project website and social media.

Architecture Canada | RAIC provides project management assistance, focusing on fundraising, general project advice and support, public event organization, and communications. Fundraising assistance includes planning, strategy and establishment of targets with the selected team, approach of selected donors, as well as the provision of charitable tax receipts. The RAIC retains 18% of funds raised to cover costs associated with these activities, in accordance with the lower range of fundraising industry standards in terms of administrative fees. Communication assistance includes public events such as send-off party in Canada and opening ceremonies in Venice, as well as promotion and media relations.

The Canada Council for the Arts administers the selection process. Submissions first undergo a feasibility review by three professionals in the field, focusing on fit with the Canada Pavilion in Venice, feasibility of installation, budget, schedule and strategies for communications and fundraising. The submissions, along with the feasibility reviews, are then presented to a committee composed of experienced professionals chosen for their specialized knowledge in the field.  

Proposals will be assessed by the Committee according to the following criteria: the architectural interest and relevance of the material to be represented; the capacity of the exhibition to capture the attention of a wide range of visitors and generate a stimulating conversation about Canadian architecture, at home and abroad; the logistical and financial feasibility of the project; and the demonstrated capacity of the applicant to complete projects of this nature in an expedient, responsible and professional manner.

A priority applicant and an alternate will be selected by the committee. If the priority applicant declines the invitation to represent Canada at the Venice Biennale, the alternate is invited. All decisions are final. Results will be announced to all applicants, by letter, in January 2015.

The Venice Biennale takes place primarily in the Arsenale and in the Giardini, where the Canada Pavilion stands, as one of 30 national pavilions. The Canada Pavilion is located in a high-profile area of the Giardini, adjacent to those of Great Britain, Germany and France, and close to those of the United States, Japan and Russia.

The exhibition should be conceived for this pavilion, and be adaptable to other venues. Information packages on the Canadian pavilion and the management of exhibitions in Venice are available upon request by contacting Brigitte Desrochers at 1.800.263.5588 x5270 or at 613.239.2089, or by e-mail at

For more information and to download the application form, please visit