The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda announces an OPEN CALL FOR CURATORIAL PROPOSALS for a Philippine Pavilion that will officially represent the Philippines in its first participation at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in 2016 under the auspices of La Biennale di Venezia. NCCA Chairman Felipe De Leon, Jr. is the Commissioner of the Philippine Pavilion. Filipino architects, curators, practising artists from the different disciplines, urban planners, ecological activists, geographers, historians and critics of space, heritage workers, and others are encouraged to participate.  The CALL is open to proposals by a single curator or by a team of curators.

venice architecture biennale

Photo from La Biennale di Venezia website.

As a vital part of the selection process, consultation meetings will be held in Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao for engaged discussion and interaction among organizers and the public on matters pertaining to the preparation of curatorial proposal for Architecture Biennale. Submitted proposals will be deliberated upon by a panel of jurors to assess the most suitable curatorial proposal.  The selected proposal will be realized as the Philippine Pavilion in Venice to be opened on May 28, 2016 and will run until November 27, 2016. 

La Biennale di Venezia has appointed Alejandro Aravena Director of the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale.   He has stated that “there are several battles that need to be won and several frontiers that need to be expanded in order to improve the quality of built environment and the people’s quality of life.”  In the light of such a vision and advocacy, he imagines the 2016 Exhibition to display “success stories worth to be told and exemplary cases worth to be shared where architecture did, is and will make a difference in those battles and frontiers.” He points to “cases that, despite difficulties, instead of resignation or bitterness, propose and do something.” The 2016 Exhibition is action-driven, he points out: “In the permanent debate about the quality of the built environment, there is not only need but also a room for action,”

Defining Architecture in the context of la Biennale di Venezia

The term architecture is conceived broadly in the context of the Biennale. It is not confined to built form and the planned and designed environment. In the imagination of the Biennale, it refers to the range of ways in which space is sensed, appropriated, inhabited, transformed, and conceptualized in relation to an array of relationships playing out in the field of history and culture. In other words, architecture is rendered responsive to the contemporary conditions and therefore becomes a central concern not only of professional architects but of other social agents and space makers as well who are keen to reflect on the complex situations of space and its making in current social life.

Since architecture is located within an expanded field and becomes an extensive term to refer to a gamut of articulations, the proposal for the Philippine Pavilion benefits from a wide latitude of interpretation. It can freely converse with historical artifacts at the same time that it involves contemporary artists across media. It can speculate on geographies of migration alongside a reflection on the cycle of calamities that constantly remake the natural terrain. It can be an ethnography of a place and its densities; a thesis on the speed and sedimentation of a street or a city; a critique of how power constructs a square or a house; and an argument on how people recast their myriad loci performatively. These are only some of the options and permutations in the ever-shifting, though never groundless, algorithms of the architectural.


Brief history of Architecture Biennale

The Venice International Architecture Biennale is relatively the newest addition to the oldest and foremost biennale structure conceived by La Biennale di Venezia for more than a century of its existence. It began in 1980 with the exhibition organized and curated by Paolo Portoghesi. In it was Strada Novissma, an exhibition where twenty façades designed by the most celebrated architects were set up, rendered theatrically, and constituted in an imaginary postmodern “street.” The impetus of the event, however, is traced to A proposito del Mulino Stucky ( A proposition for the Molino Stucky) organized in 1975 and curated by Vottorio Gregotti.

The schedule of the International Architecture Exhibition from the 1st to the 7th edition was erratic, and was only pegged as a biennale in 2000. In its 30 years of existence, a total of 14 Exhibitions have been organized and mounted at the Arsenale and the Giardini. The participation for the first four Exhibitions was restricted to the renowned architects of the time. During its 5th Exhibition in 1991, it took the form of an Art Biennale and opened its doors to national participation.

On National Participation

Only one project is recognized by la Biennale for each participating country. Thus, the formal invitation to participate is coursed through the highest concerned government agency of a country, which in turn initiates a distinct process of selecting and realizing a proposal for the country pavilion. The exhibition that officially represents a country will be recognized in all the materials produced by La Biennale di Venezia, particularly the catalogue, as the only participation of the country.

Content of the Proposal

  1. Title of the Exhibition
  2. Curatorial Concept (800 -1,000 words only)
  3. Proposed Exhibition lay-out
  4. CV of Proponent/s (please include sample works)
  5. CV of the Exhibitor/s (please include sample works)
  6. Budget (production of the works only)
  7. Production Timeline
  8. Contact Information

Qualifications of Proponent/s

  1. Filipino citizens and Filipinos with dual citizenship
  2. Have participated in at least one international contemporary exhibition or related projects/platforms

*Please attach proof of identification/citizenship.

Qualifications of Exhibitors

  1. Filipino citizens and Filipinos with dual citizenship
  2. Have participated in at least one national exhibition or an equivalent record in related projects/platforms

Curatorial Responsibilities

  1. Determine the curatorial direction of the exhibition
  2. Manage the concretization of the curatorial proposal from the preparatory phase to the mounting of the exhibition in Venice
  3. Initiate a consultative process between and among exhibitor/s
  4. Supervise the exhibitor/s in realizing the curatorial concept
  5. Prepare the production schedule of the exhibition and manage its implementation
  6. Prepare content and collaborate with a designer for the exhibition catalogue and other printed materials of the exhibition.
  7. Write exhibition notes and wall texts for the exhibition
  8. Prepare write-ups on the exhibition for the official la Biennale catalogue and for promotional purposes of the Philippine participation at the Venice Biennale
  9. Edit and write for the catalogue and other collateral materials
  10. Coordinate with the Philippine Art Venice Biennale (PAVB) committee
  11. Officially represent the Philippines in all meetings, events and other activities related to the Architecture Biennale
  12. Propose collateral events for the Pavilion and help manage its implementation.

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Download open call proposal form from
  2. Submit the completed form and ALL the necessary documents only via email to , with subject heading “Curatorial Proposal,” on or before 30 October 2015.Emailed proposals will be duly acknowledged upon receipt.

Deadline of Submission:      30 October 2015

Announcement of Result: 15 November 2015

Contact Information:


Landline: (+632) 527 – 2175


Download: Proposal Form | Palazzo Mora Mora Floor Plan