Reconceptualizing Urban Housing

The global housing crisis has created an urgent need for housing worldwide, especially in urban centers where 80% of the world’s population is housed. In the race to build more homes faster, many important factors are being overlooked including community, identity, and liveability. From city to city the context differs dramatically, but the problem is universal: How can urban collective housing be more liveable? How do we ensure that the design of housing will enhance inhabitants’ wellbeing and quality of life?

As part of the 6th edition of Time Space Existence organized by the European Cultural Centre (ECC), Reconceptualizing Urban Housing was exhibited at the Venice Biennale from May 20 to November 26, 2023. The exhibition brought together a group of women-led practices from around the globe with unique perspectives on collective housing, primarily in or near urban areas. The diverse range of projects exhibited not only featured a variety of approaches from Europe and North America, but also from developing nations such as Uganda, Malaysia and Mexico, exploring diversity in building typology, climate, and economic and cultural factors, while embodying a shared commitment to social and environmental sustainability.

The selected projects showcase new thinking around housing – they take a bold approach to liveability, exploring the balance of communal and private, design for social connection, adaptability, identity and agency, optimization of natural light and ventilation, integration of landscaping and urban farming, and access to outdoor spaces, while remaining unique to each local context and demographic. Together and in different ways, they redefine what collective housing can be and how it can support liveability for its inhabitants.

Featured practices:

Adengo Architecture, Uganda
Alison Brooks Architects, UK
Dubbeldam Architecture + Design, Canada
Eleena Jamil Architect, Malaysia
Fernanda Canales Arquitectura, Mexico
Manuelle Gautrand Architecture, France
Mecanoo, The Netherlands
Meyer-Grohbruegge, Germany
Studio Gang, USA

  • Archdaily, “Women-led Architecture Practice: Redefining Urban Housing at the Time Space Existence Exhibition in Venice”
  • Azure Magazine, “Reconceptualizing Urban Housing Highlights Female Perspectives”
  • Archdaily, “Building for Sustainability: 3 Main Themes Explored at the Time Space Existence Exhibition in Venice”
  • Archello, “Reconceptualizing Urban Housing Focuses on the Collective Expertise of Nine Women-led Architectural Studios”
  • Archinect, “Urban Housing by Women-Led Firms Featured at the 2023 Venice Biennale
  • Canadian Interiors, “Reconceptualizing Urban Housing Exhibition at the Venice Biennale”
  • Azure Magazine, “15 Must-Sees at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2023”
  • Tecnne, “Reconceptualizar la Vivienda Urbana: Exposicion en la Bienal de Venecia”
  • Canadian Architect, “Reconceptualizing Urban Housing Exhibition on Liveable Collective Housing to Launch at Venice Biennale”
  • Archdaily, “Time Space Existence 2023 Envisions New Sustainable Ways Forward”
  • in Interiors, “Exposition: Reconceptualizing Urban Housing a Venise”
  • Arquine, “Reconceptualizando la Vivienda Urbana: Una Exposicion de Proyectos Liderados por Mujeres Presente en la 18va Bienal de Venecia”

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