The theme of next year’s Venice Architecture Biennale is “How will we live together?”

Hashim Sarkis, founder of Hashim Sarkis Studios and dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning, has been named curator of the upcoming event.

Speaking of the theme, Sarkis says: “We need a new spatial contract. In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together: together as human beings who, despite our increasing individuality, yearn to connect with one another and with other species across digital and real space; together as new households looking for more diverse and dignified spaces for inhabitation; together as emerging communities that demand equity, inclusion and spatial identity; together across political borders to imagine new geographies of association; and together as a planet facing crises that require global action for us to continue living at all.”

Venice Biennale 2020 also maintains that it is in its material, spatial and cultural specificity that architecture inspires the way people live together. Therefore, participants are asked to highlight those aspects of the theme that are uniquely architectural.

National curators of participants will be asked to address one or more sub-themes of the exhibition. For example, the need for more inclusive social housing or for more connective urban and territorial tissue remains a pressing issue in both emerging and advanced economies.

“With Hashim Sarkis we will try to expand our horizon to all the issues raised by our living together,” says Biennale president Paolo Baratta.

“Living together means first and foremost awareness of potential crises and old and new problems that do not get appropriate solutions, nor often appropriate attention, in the spontaneous development of our economies and societies and that require enhanced attention and an extensive and courageous planning capacity.

“We expect from Hashim Sarkis’ research and from the individual participating countries a number of examples that besides informing us on the different realities and the current trends and conflicts, can let us imagine a world at work to face those issues, and in particular a world of architecture committed to thinking, imagining and realising new solutions.”

The Biennale will be held at Venice’s Giardini and Arsenale from 23 May – 29 November, 2020.

Left to right: Paolo Baratta and Hashim Sarkis. Image credit: