Venice - Interviews

Taking Care – Designing for the Common Good: an Interview with Tamassociati, curators of the Italian Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale

4 years ago

The Italian Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is “TAKING CARE – Designing for the common good”, a project curated by TAMassociati (Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo, Simone Sfriso).

Following the concept of the curatorial team’s statement, the project has two purposes: to present a vision of architecture as service to the community; to demonstrate, with tangible proofs, how architecture can make a difference by taking care of people and places, principles and resources. Tamassociati conceives architecture as a service for the common good, capable of increasing human, social and environmental capital and curbing marginalization and exclusion.

We had an interview with the collective to have an insight into their project and to get some highlights from their curatorial ideas.

Carla Ingrasciotta: What is the role of architecture and the architect today, and what is the role they should have in your opinion? Do they always have the common good in mind?

TAMassociati: Architecture risks being committed only in the celebration of big events and big works, while society is losing contact with its everyday spaces. We think architects should express themselves in the everyday experience, participating in a common debate on how society creates places. Architects should consider architecture not only as the Object, but also value the intense interaction between the multiple subjects connected to “placemaking”. An architect should address the right questions and drive solutions in a decision-making process, rather than be just the final executor. This forces us to think differently, and to act politically.

C.I: How did you select the 20 projects involved in the Pavilion?

TA: All of them are built: no matter the scale or the budget. Each of them describes how architecture may impact different communities. We focused on both the object and the process to demonstrate that architecture can play an important role in building up a common sense of understanding and sharing among people. It’s a fundamental task in enhancing the idea of the common good, and this capability has informed our selection. It is not an alternative form of architecture (even though the results may sometimes make us think so), but it is certainly an alternative way of thinking about the architect’s responsibility.

C.I: The Pavilion is divided into three areas: Thinking, Meeting, and Acting. Can
you explain a bit how it is going to work, and what kind of reaction–impact this
process should trigger?

TA: Each section presents different arguments—ideas, examples, projects—whereas the idea of Designing for the Common Good links all contributions. The aim is, therefore, to question the issue of common good in our society, and each section addresses a different question for this purpose. “Thinking” is specifically oriented to the visitor, asking each of us: “what is our idea of the Common GoId?” and “where could it be practised in our daily life?”. “Meeting” provides a question to Institutions: “How can they use even limited resources to implement projects for the community?” and especially, “how can institutions open up to a wider form of participation?” Lastly, “Acting” directly involves the architect, by asking them how they can provide their service in a socially-oriented way, especially when relating with new subjects such as associations, NGOs, and citizen groups.
Our aim is to offer a full picture of the opportunities to all players, since increasing our awareness of the common good could provide a strategic way to address the challenges that each responsible designer will have to face in the near future.

C.IWhich are your hopes and expectations after Biennale Architettura 2016?

T.A: Our aim is to offer a full range of opportunities to all players, since increasing our awareness for commons may empower our capacity in answering the challenges that each responsible designer of the next future will face. In our opinion this edition of the Biennale of Architecture might arise the right questions on global sustainability, and possibly make us look for human values and unexpected solutions in places of marginal conditions

The project Taking Care is therefore presented at the Italian Pavilion 2016 with the express intention of taking root, growing and spreading outside it, generating a new civic awareness. The proposals are like seeds that create a civil awakening, starting from the seedbed of the Biennale Architettura 2016.

Carla Ingrasciotta

  • Team curatoriale, Padiglione Italia: Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo, Simone Sfriso (TAMassociati) Team curatoriale, Padiglione Italia: Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo, Simone Sfriso (TAMassociati)
  • Taking Care, Project Image Taking Care, Project Image "Buone pratiche"

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