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Taubman College hosts the U.S. Pavilion at 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

The U.S. Department of State selected Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning to organize the exhibition for the U.S. Pavilion in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

The exhibition for the US Pavilion, “The Architectural Imagination,” presents creative ideas from twelve American architectural firms for urban spaces. These architectural approaches were produced with four selected sites in Detroit as their loci but are intended to have far-reaching applications for cities everywhere. The curators, Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon, have commissioned projects that demonstrate the creativity and resourcefulness of architectural teams challenged to address the 21st century urban environment.

The exhibition explores the possibilities offered by four sites in Detroit, chosen for their location in various parts of the city and adjacent neighborhoods. Twelve architectural firms or teams of architects were invited to participate. Each team was assigned one of the sites and asked to develop new uses or approaches, to be represented in models and drawings. The resulting proposals and designs demonstrate a variety of ways to transform neglected or underutilized areas into vibrant centers of urban life.  Since each site was addressed by three teams, the contrasting approaches present a breadth of ideas that have currency beyond the Detroit locations.

The 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, known as the Venice Architecture Biennale and this year entitled “Reporting from the Front,” is directed by Alejandro Aravena and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta.  It includes 63 national participants in the historic pavilions at the Giardini, as well as projects at the Arsenale and in the historic city center of Venice. The preview will take place on May 26 and 27, and the awards ceremony and inauguration will be held on May 28. The pavilions and projects will be open to the public May 28 – November 27, 2016.


Cynthia Davidson is executive director of the nonprofit Anyone Corporation, based in New York City, and editor of the international architecture journal Log. Monica Ponce de Leon is the dean of architecture at Princeton University and principal of MPdL Studio; she is the former dean of Taubman College.  An advisory board of Detroit civic and business leaders assisted the curators in site selection. 


The four sites chosen for the projects include:

Dequindre Cut/Eastern Market
A former Grand Truck Railway line near the Eastern Market, 1923 Division Street

A former light-industry site in southwest Detroit/Mexicantown, 6370 Vernor Highway

US Post Office
U.S. Post Office building between Corktown and the riverfront, 1401 West Fort Street

Packard Plant
The former Packard Automotive Plant, East Grand Boulevard and Concord Avenue

Taubman College Faculty Projects

Packard Plant - Detroit Reassembly Plant

Mexicantown - Promised Land Air

Coverage of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

Keep track of all the U-M related action at the biennale through these social media outlets:

Student Fellows Archinect Blog

U.S. Pavilion Exhibition 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale on Flickr

The Architectural Imagination on Instagram; US pavilion on Instagram


Outside Press

Members of the media can access materials at thearchitecturalimagination.org/press