Venice Biennale

The College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs will be featured in an exhibition on “Water and Human Settlements” that Dean Adrian Parr was invited to curate, as part of the European Cultural Center’s exhibitions that are held in conjunction with the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale.

With the recent appointment of Parr as dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs, or CAPPA, the momentum of the college has picked up speed.

The Venice Architecture Biennale is an international architecture exhibition that occurs every two years in Venice, Italy. It features cutting-edge work from across the globe in the field of architecture and is considered one of the most important events for cultural critics, investors and designers.

“CAPPA will be featured on an international stage alongside some of the most highly regarded designers and design programs in the world,” Parr said. The European Cultural Center, or ECC, exhibitions are held throughout Venice at Palazzo Mora, Palazzo Bembo and Giardini Marinaressa. The ECC, along with the Venice Architecture Biennale, will welcome approximately 600,000 international visitors.

Parr was recently named UNESCO chair of water and human settlements and has made it a theme for CAPPA’s new research initiative to align with two elements from UTA’s Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact: sustainable urban communities and global environmental impact.

With Parr’s knowledge in water research and CAPPA’s new research initiative, Eva Schmiedleitner, president of the European Cultural Center USA, invited the dean to participate in the 2020 exhibition.

“Urban and water systems are inextricably linked. Water systems are especially vulnerable in the current climate of rapid urbanization. This exhibition will demonstrate how design thinking and practice responds to situations in an effort to create more inclusive, friendly, adaptable and flexible built environments,” Parr explained.

Along with this exciting announcement is the creation of four interdisciplinary teams involving CAPPA and UTA faculty. Each team will receive seed funding of $20,000 from the dean’s startup funds.

The focus of these teams are to support and encourage bold and inventive ways to explore how water and human settlements interact. They will use design practices and thinking to focus on hot-button topics related to issues faced in the DFW area. Those research projects are also well-situated to be included in the 2020 exhibition.

Kevin Sloan, Landscape Architecture professor in practice, is one of the team leads and will be investigating how to use the nature of the entire watershed in DFW to attract and generate both urban development and rewilded nature.

“The Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex is a new and unprecedented mega pattern that is giving rise to urban problems and environmental challenges. It is a great honor for any individual and institution to be featured in the ECC exhibition held in conjunction with the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale. It is also a very appropriate city for our research proposals in regards to using the watershed network in a city as an urban generator. We are honored by the grant and opportunity to further develop our research,” Sloan said.

The European Cultural Center Biennale exhibition and Venice Architecture Biennale has been postponed to 2021.

-- Written by Caroline Stultz