Architecture, Lebanon Pavilion, Pavilions from the Middle East, Venice Biennale

Lebanon Pavilion at Venice Biennale to reflect country’s territorial challenges

Participating for its first time at the Venice Biennale, Lebanon will present ‘The Place That Remains’, curated by Hala Younes, assistant professor of architecture at the Lebanese American University.

The exhibition aims to highlight the “unbuilt land, their cultural characteristics and their prospects in improving the built environment and its living conditions, as well as the architect’s social and cultural role,” read a statement released by Younes.

She added, “The purpose of the exhibition is to spread knowledge and awareness about the territorial challenges in Lebanese society because our heritage is not only architectural but lies also in geography and landscape.”

Focusing on Nahr Beirut (or Beirut River) and its watershed, the Lebanon Pavilion will explore the preconditions for architecture through assessing its bedrock and the challenges protagonists face, such as the fragile nature of territory, scarcity of resources and commodification. According to Younes, the pavilion hopes to gather architects, artists, researchers and Lebanese institutions to reflect on possible visions for the future of the country’s national territory and landscape.

“In the work, the territory is rendered visible, requiring the tangible and sensitive reality to be brought back to the centre, whereby it becomes possible to identify, inventory, list and shed light on ‘The Place that Remains’ and the conditions required for its preservation,” said Younes.

The project will feature various formats, including a combined 3D relief map, landscape photography and video surveillance, while the watershed setting allows its creators to ensure that the resources remain the key focus.

Hala Younes

In addition, the pavilion will feature the work of six photographers: Gregory Buchakjian, Catherine Cattaruzza, Gilbert Hage, Hoda Kassatly, Ieva Sauvargaite and Talal Khoury (video). The co-curator for photography is Alain Leloup. Historical aerial photographs from the Directorate of Geographic Affairs of the Lebanese Army will also be on display.