One of the amusing moments in Rem Koolhaas’s lively introduction to 2014's Venice Architecture Biennale in London the other week came when the OMA architect turned his attention to the notion of whether there was still such a thing as national architecture. The image behind him that accompanied this part of the presentation drew an instant reaction from the assembled architectural cognoscenti upon which Koolhaas commented, “I’m glad you laughed!” (You can see the image below).
So is there still such a thing as a discernible national architecture? Next month, Phaidon Atlas Editor, Jean-Francois Goyette will debate the subject at the Venice Biennale in what promises to be a fascinating discussion with architects from the aforementioned OMA, Kéré and MAD at the British Pavilion.
Among other things, the talk will debate why, in an age of worldwide markets, universal techniques, intercontinental travel and transnational telecommunications, many still argue for architecture’s regional provenance.
He’ll be joined by Stephan Petermann from OMA, Ma Yansong from MAD architects and Diébédo Francis Kéré from Kéré Architects to discuss whether contemporary architecture should pursue national forms or revel in a globalised culture. The debate will be chaired by the British Council’s Vicky Richardson.
“While there are forces that bring it towards globalisation there still remains certain ways that architecture still has to relate to local culture,” Jean Francois Goyette says. "This is one of the areas where The Phaidon Atlas has an important role to play."
Covering 21st Century Architecture on an unprecedented scale, The Phaidon Atlas is the go to resource for architects looking to discover contemporary architectural solutions, for every conceivable building type. Architects and professionals can sign up for a free trial, here.
Meanwhile, the full details for the talk if you’re in Venice are: British Pavilion June 6, 3-4pm during the Biennale Vernissage. The talk is free but spaces are limited so if you want to come make sure you RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, for further insight into architectural developments across the world, download the Phaidon Architecture Travel Guide App and check out The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture in our online store.