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News / July 17, 2008

Cambridge Galleries take Canadian Architecture to Venice

Shim-Sutcliffe Architects Moorelands Camp Dining Hall, Lake Kawagama, Dorset, Ontario 2001 / photo Michael Awad

The Canadian art world is keyed up by the official news that London, UK-based Canadian artist Mark Lewis will represent Canada at the 2009 Venice Biennale with a new film project commissioned by curator Barbara Fischer. But the buzz doesn’t stop there: big things are also happening for Canadian architects canalside this year.

The 11th edition of the biennale’s International Architecture Exhibition—themed “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building”—fills the Giardini and Arsenale from September 14 to November 23 with a blockbuster line up of more than 70 projects by “starchitects” and otherwise notable international architectural firms.

The recently announced Canadian component for the biennale comes via Cambridge Galleries and co-curators John McMinn and Marco Polo in the exhibition “41° to 66°: Architecture in Canada—Region, Culture, Tectonics.” Planned as a refined version of the curatorial pair’s touring survey show “41° to 66°: Regional Responses to Sustainable Architecture in Canada,” the biennale project will take stock of the wide-ranging diversity in contemporary Canadian architecture as a kind of hybrid practice informed as much by the specifics of local cultural and physical geographies as the modern notions of environmental sustainability and global connectivity.

More than 30 Canadian architecture projects will be featured under McMinn and Polo’s umbrella, with contributing architects including Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, Busby Perkins + Will, Patkau Architects, Smith Carter Architects and Engineers, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB) Architects and Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, among others.

Back at home, Cambridge Galleries curators Ivan Jurakic and Esther Shipman whet architectural appetites with the two-venue summer group show “Site Visits,” featuring artworks that straddle the line between art and architecture. Urban displacement, homelessness and cultural marginalization develop into a visual thesis on “urban nomadism” in photos, installations and relational interventions by Adrian Blackwell, Electroland, In-Sun Kim, Julian Montague, Ana Rewakowicz, Frank Shebageget and Boja Vasic at the Queen’s Square gallery. Works at the Design at Riverside location aim to deconstruct the “lifestyle propaganda” of 20th century Modernism in a presentation of “mythical architecture” by Boym Partners, Brad Golden and Lynne Eichenberg, John Massey, Paulette Phillips and Penelope Umbrico. The exhibition runs July 4 to August 16. (1 North Sq & 7 Melville St S, Cambridge ON)