Reconceptualizing Urban Housing Exhibition on liveable collective housing to launch at Venice Biennale

Toronto-based Dubbeldam Architecture + Design is among nine women-led practices from around the globe featured in an exhibition opening at the Venice Architecture Biennale later this month.

The global housing crisis has created an urgent need for housing worldwide, especially in urban centers where 80% of the world’s population is housed. In the race to build more homes faster, many important factors are being overlooked including community, identity, and liveability. From city to city the context differs dramatically, but the problem is universal: How can urban collective housing be more liveable? How do we ensure that the design of housing will enhance inhabitants’ wellbeing and quality of life?

Reconceptualizing Urban Housing will be exhibited as part of the 6th edition of Time Space Existence, organized by the European Cultural Centre (ECC) during the Venice Biennale from May 20 to November 26, 2023.  The exhibition brings together a group of women-led practices from around the globe with unique perspectives on collective housing, primarily in or near urban areas. The diverse range of projects exhibited not only feature a variety of approaches from Europe and North America, but also from developing nations such as Uganda, Malaysia and Mexico, exploring diversity in building typology, climate, and economic and cultural factors, while embodying a shared commitment to social and environmental sustainability.

The selected projects showcase new thinking around housing -they take a bold approach to liveability, exploring the balance of communal and private, design for social connection, adaptability, identity and agency, optimization of natural light and ventilation, integration of landscaping and urban farming, and access to outdoor spaces, while remaining unique to each local context and demographic. Together and in different ways, they redefine what collective housing can be and how it can support liveability for its inhabitants.

Dubbeldam Architecture + Design is a Toronto-based architecture studio committed to advancing an architectural and social agenda through design research and built work that enriches the human experience. Founded by Heather Dubbeldam, a fourth-generation architect, the studio has developed a reputation for innovative, beautifully crafted, and environmentally responsible projects that embody the spirit of place and people. The studio’s research in housing is through the development of Missing Middle housing typologies and pilot projects, focusing on the gap between single family dwellings and apartment buildings. Their built work in housing engages with midrise and missing middle-scaled multi-unit dwellings, created to expand housing options in established residential neighbourhoods and address the restrictive zoning policies in many urban centers in Canada.

The other featured practices include:

Adengo Architecture, Uganda

Alison Brooks Architects, UK

Eleena Jamil Architect, Malaysia

Fernanda Canales Arquitectura, Mexico

Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, France

Mecanoo, The Netherlands

Meyer-Grohbruegge, Germany

Studio Gang, USA

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