The next representatives for Canada’s official project at the 2020 Venice Biennale of Architecture were announced this morning.
Early renderings suggest Montrealers T B A and David Theodore plan to turn the outside of the Canada Pavilion into a green screen of sorts—alluding to how Canadian cities stand in for international ones in cinema. The project is called Impostor Cities.
“Toronto stands in for Tokyo, for example, while Vancouver and Montreal masquerade as Moscow, Paris and New York,” says the winning team in a statement. “Imposter Cities celebrates the Canadian cities that pose as these amazing cinematic impostors, bringing attention to how our architecture appears to the world through the silver screen.”
These locations that will be highlighted inside the pavilion through projections of supercuts from film and TV. Among them will be the Simon Fraser University campus in Burnaby designed by Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey. That campus was a set for I, Robot and the Fantastic Four, among other films. The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant in Toronto designed by Thomas Canfield Pomphrey, which served as backdrop in Strange Brew and at least a dozen other films and TV shows, will also be highlighted. So will clips filmed in Kingston’s Market Square and Winnipeg’s Exchange District, and more.
“In addition, an interactive library will allow visitors to browse information about buildings—and their architects—featured in the supercuts, as well as stories about how filmmakers transform Canadian cities into cinematic impostors,” says a statement from T B A and David Theodore.
The Canada Council convenes the selection committee for Canada’s representative at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, and also provides $500,000 towards the exhibition. It also acts as commissioner.
T B A is an architecture and design practice established by Thomas Balaban in 2009. It is now a partnership with Jennifer Thorogood. Current projects include converting some 19th-century Old Montreal buildings into an Ace Hotel and participating in an exhibition at Montreal’s Biosphere on what the city will look like in 2069. Balaban is also an associate professor at Université de Montréal.
David Theodore, acting as curator on this project, is Canada Research Chair in Architecture, Health and Computation at McGill University.
“We believe the exhibition presents a timely opportunity to repatriate our architecture and make people aware that the film-famous buildings and spaces that have subtly structured our collective cinematic consciousness are actually Canadian,” said Balaban in a release. “It is about our identity but also about looking at what makes this fascinating misreading of our architecture possible.”
The next Venice Biennale in Architecture is due to take place May 23 to November 29 in Venice, Italy.