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Terra: 2022 Libson Architecture Triennale

I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since I’ve been to Lisbon. I used to travel based on the biennale/triennale or design week circuit. And the last time I was in Portugal, was to experience the Lisbon Architecture Triennale.

Next year will mark the 6th edition of the Triennale. Under the theme Terra, which of course, has different meanings depending on the scale and the observer. Here Terra expresses the territory,
the city, the landscape, the place where we belong, or a continent seen from the sea. It may be a habitable planet or material for cultivation. It may be excessive or lacking, and it may be an obstacle or an element in the construction of communities. And it is with a sense of emergency that the
Triennale 2022 calls for reflexion on all these dimensions closely related to architecture.

What I particularly love about architecture biennales and triennales is that they form a dialogue between each other. An international forum that promotes questioning around research and practice. This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale comes under the theme How will we live together? Where Manifesta 14 takes a nomadic view situating itself in Prishtina. Terra incorporates a declaration of intent and a call to action. It proposes the evolution from the current fragmented and linear system model, characterised by an excessive use of resources, towards a circular and holistic system model, motivated by a greater and deeper balance between communities, resources and processes.

I find it interesting, that many years ago sustainability was an object of focus for the 2016 Venice Biennale Reporting from the Front but like many exhibitions, fell short on what a circular and holistic system could be. Terra suggests that, after a context of closure because of the pandemic, the future should be reassessed by intersecting and exchanging knowledge and practices capable of coexisting, contributing to a more sustainable future for the planet and all its inhabitants.

The premise of the Triennale 2022 is to ask questions around the future of ecologies in architecture in its broader sense. The reflection unfolds in four central exhibitions that, through their different perspectives and glances, invite a wide range of participants to present a global scenery made up of a plurality of geographies and cultures. Thus, in this built space, multiple opportunities converge with eyes set on the horizon of architecture.

The Triennale 2022, Terra, explores how new paradigms are changing our ways of place-making in a globalised planet. In this predicament, architecture can ground us as much as it can elevate us. This concurrent background and foreground condition of architecture explores relationships and systems to enable change within a diverse set of socioeconomic conditions across the world. 

Terra addresses how climate cha(lle)nges, pressure on resources, and socioeconomic and environmental inequities are profoundly intertwined. Understanding these complex situations requires a paradigm shift from a linear growth model (“cities as machines”) to a circular evolutionary model (“cities as organisms”). 

The Triennale 2022 aims to create an open forum where multiple voices and perspectives can coexist beyond their apparent dualities, while celebrating daily life as well as aspirations for manifold futures in a diverse world. I can’t wait to travel and see it in real life, hopefully by next year a new normal will emerge and international communities will now see the need to think beyond what was into what could and should be.

Richelle Sibolboro
Richelle Sibolboro

Design strategist and content creator for hire with a passion for arts and culture specifically in design, architecture, and travel. She has produced content for designboom, Azure magazine, Open City Projects, Digifest, and World Design Weeks. Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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