This spring, CIEE teamed up with New York University (NYU), Terreform ONE, and La Biennale di Venezia to give 10 U.S. architecture and design students a chance to work with experts in the field and take part in the leading international architecture and design forum.
The new Venice Biennale Workshop, held May 27 to -June 7, gave students from NYU and the Rhode Island School of Design hands-on access to innovative architecture and design methods and models.
Students began their adventure in New York City at the offices of Terreform ONE, a nonprofit design group that focuses on urban solutions for sustainable energy, infrastructure, food, water, and more. Students learned cutting-edge methods for forecasting population growth of the world’s densest cities using a model called the “Bio City Map of 11 Billion.”When I signed up for the Venice Biennale Workshop, I expected an educational experience,” said NYU student and workshop participant Lila Faria. “I didn't expect to find myself … painting with bacteria or bonding with an amazing group of motivated, hardworking people who opened my mind to ways of thinking that I had never considered.”
The group then traveled to Venice, Italy, for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, an international event held every two years to showcase art, film, and architecture. In Venice, students focused on the latest advances in design and architecture for urban projects, and helped to install Terreform ONE’s exhibit – the official selection at this prestigious event. According to NYU student and participant Jake Madoff, “The best part, was that as an architectural researcher working with Terreform ONE, I was able to attend events where I could speak with the many talented architects who were participating in the Biennale Architettura. I learned quite a bit from speaking with such professionals and made connections that will hopefully benefit my prospective career in design.”
The workshop grew out of CIEE’s Global Architecture and Design programs, in which students work with experts to explore how innovation and technology can help cities become self-sufficient, while they explore and connect with new cultures. These dynamic programs are offered in New York City, Barcelona, Berlin, and Prague.
View photos from the Venice Biennale and hear what students said about their experience below.
"When I signed up for the Venice Biennale Workshop, I expected an educational experience. I didn't expect to find myself hanging off a piece of scaffolding 15 feet in the air at the Palazzo Mora, painting with bacteria, or bonding with an amazing group of motivated, hardworking people who opened my mind to ways of thinking that I had never considered.
The workshop was inspiring, engaging, and incredibly fun. When I wasn't working on the exhibition, I explored Venetian gardens, sketched impressions of the city on scenic walking tours, practiced my networking skills at black-tie parties, and learned more about the future of architecture in one week than (probably) the rest of my life put together."
Lila Faria – New York University
Venice Biennale Workshop Participant
"When Professor (Mitch) Joachim invited me to join the team, I had two impressions of what my week in Venice would be like: I'd help install ‘Bio City Map of 11 Billion,’ and I'd attend the Venice Architecture Biennale. What I didn't expect were the remarkably, ineffably wonderful moments in between. Recurring intervals of awe, appreciation, and realization at the significance of this opportunity hit me more times than I could count.
I am graciously thankful for every member of the team – it has been a wonderful learning experience in working and traveling a foreign city together. I am ever more grateful to Mitch Joachim, Maria Aiolova, and Nurhan Gokturk. Our team could not have asked for more incredible, inspiring thought leaders."
Jesslyn Guntur – New York University
Venice Biennale Workshop Participant CIEE U.S. students and Maria Aiolova, CIEE academic director for architecture and design, (fifth from left) take a break during the Venice Biennale, held in June in Venice, Italy.
"I was lucky enough to be part of the Venice Biennale Architettura 2014, and experience all that Venice, Italy, and the world of architecture has to offer.
The journey started at the studio of Terreform ONE. They are the innovative minds and architects of the ‘Bio City Map,’ a piece that follows the geometry of the Dymaxion map, and visually translates raw population data via dynamic elevations on the front, and colonized E. coli on the back. At their studio, I worked as an architectural researcher; I learned about the salient principles of cartography, demography, synthetic biology, and visual design; I, along with my peers, constructed a vacuum form from scratch and traveled to a lab where we studied biohacking and manipulated bacteria. During this portion, I came to understand each step in the overall design procedure – from concept to construction – and became acquainted with a group of thoroughly educated and affable people.
After the installation was complete and food digested, we traveled to the various architectural exhibitions. ‘Fundamentals’ was this year's theme; handles, doors, windows, beams, walls, lights, and shapes were some of the many fundamental features highlighted in the exhibits. We saw works by French, Danish, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Korean, and American architects. One of my favorites was Denmark's pavilion.
The best part was that as an architectural researcher working with Terreform ONE, I was able to attend events where I could speak with the many talented architects who were participating in the Biennale Architettura. I learned quite a bit from speaking with such professionals and made connections that will hopefully benefit my prospective career in design.
This workshop and trip were absolutely terrific. I met brilliant people, worked with prominent architects, traveled to Venice, and gained diverse experiences that changed my life for the better. I would like to thank Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova for making this whole thing possible. Thank you."
Jake Madoff – New York University
Venice Biennale Workshop Participant