The 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice 2014 is entitled Absorbing Modernity 1914 – 2014 and will be held from 7th June to 23rd November 2014 at the Giardini and Arsenale venues. Announcing the theme its director Rem Koolhaas stated – “Ideally, we would want the represented countries to engage a single theme – Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014, and to show, each in their own way, the process of the erasure of national characteristics in favour of the almost universal adoption of a single modern language in a single repertoire of typologies.”
Responding to the overall theme of the Biennale, Boyd and McLaughlin’s proposal looks at the social and material dimensions of infrastructures in forming the identity of Ireland since independence, and the embodiment of these in architecture. They explain how “In an Irish context there are complex readings due to decolonisation and political independence. After independence the construction of new infrastructures was seen as part of the building of the new nation. The adoption of international style modernism in architecture was perceived as a way to escape the colonial past”.
Gary A. Boyd has a long established record of communicating architecture through teaching, publications and other means. He has been involved in teaching both history and theory and architectural design in schools of architecture since 1998, initially as college lecturer in UCD before embarking to UCC as senior lecturer at the inception of the new school there in 2006. Earlier this year he took up the post of Reader in architecture at Queens University Belfast.
John McLaughlin is a practicing architect whose work covers a range of scales integrating architecture with urbanism, landscape and art. He is a graduate of UCD. After
college he worked in Paris and London for over a decade on major cultural and civic projects before returning to settle in Dublin He was director of architecture with Dublin Docklands Authority where he directed many groundbreaking projects including the Grand Canal Square development before starting private practice. He is currently Senior Lecturer (part-time) in Queens University Belfast School of Architecture and a Visiting Lecturer in both UCD School of Architecture and Cork Centre for Architectural Education.