Curatorial collective Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA) has been selected by the Canada Council of the Arts to represent Canada at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, which will be held in 2023.
AAHA’s project Not for Sale! was selected from the shortlist, which also includes projects by Chevalier Morales Collaborative, HiLo/YOW+ and marc boutin architectural collaborative, for its timeliness and international resonance, explains Canada Council of the Arts director and CEO Simon Brault. Taking the shape of a campaign headquarters for equitable housing, the project will transform the Canada Pavilion to rethink property as a financial vehicle and mechanism for wealth storage.
With Not for Sale!, AAHA will address Canada’s ongoing housing crisis in all of its multi-faceted dimensions, from “widespread unaffordability to under-housing, precarious living housing and homelessness.”
At the core of the campaign is the rejection of the very concept of property and the forms of architecture that stem from it. With their design for the Canada pavilion, AAHA traces our current crisis to the modern idea of property as well as to the “simultaneous colonial dispossession of Indigenous lands,” which both undergird the exploitative logics of real estate.
Though housing alienation is certainly not an exclusively local problem, AAHA points out that Canada’s economy is especially dominated by real estate speculation — more now than ever with the unprecedented inflation in home prices that we have seen over the course of the pandemic.
Coming together around the mission of instigating an architectural movement to create accessible and empowering housing, AAHA has already synthesized a broad range of expertise in their project. Members of the collective include Adrian Blackwell, David Fortin, Matthew Soules, Sara Stevens, Patrick Stewart, Tijana Vujosevic, Chris Lee and Ali S. Qadeer. Building upon this collaborative spirit, the collective explains that working with Indigenous leaders, activists, advocates and architects will be central to their methodology as they continue to develop the campaign for Venice.
With the goal of mobilizing all Canadians to join the call for “safer, healthier and more equitable housing,” the AAHA will design and present a series of demands and architectural projects to address rampant housing alienation. Next year, on architecture’s world stage, Not for Sale! will pave a path for equitable housing in Canada and, hopefully, even beyond.
The curatorial collective plans to transform the Canada Pavilion in the Giardini into a campaign headquarters.