Photo by Tõnu Tunnel

The Estonian Centre for Architecture (ECA) has launched an international competition to find the best idea and curator for the Estonian Pavilion at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2023. The competition is open for concept proposals by art theorists, architects, designers, interior architects, artists, curators, and other professions related to the field of architecture. In addition to local architects, international curators and professionals — both theoreticians and practising architects — are also invited to participate in the competition.

Stories Editorial February 14, 2022

According to Veronika Valk-Siska, a member of the competition jury and adviser of architecture and design at the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Venice Architecture Biennale, alongside the Tallinn Architecture Biennale, is the most important international architectural event for Estonia. «Participation in the Venice Biennale offers Estonia and our architects a unique opportunity to introduce Estonian architecture and the spatial issues that are important to Estonia. It is a major event that brings together the most pressing issues in the world of architecture. Estonia has participated in the Venice Architecture Biennale since 2000 with a very diverse range of exhibitions. The courage to experiment, the forward-looking view, the insightfulness and creativity are here more than anywhere else,» says Valk-Siska.


The deadline for the first phase of the two-stage competition is May 3 at 23.59 (GMT+2). In the second round, the jury will select up to five candidates or teams, who will have the opportunity to develop their ideas further. The public presentation of shortlisted proposals will take place in Tallinn in the first half of June 2022, and the winner will be announced shortly afterwards.


The competition brief is available on ECA’s website, where the presentations of previous exhibitions that represented Estonia in Venice can also be found.


First-round entries must include an idea and a design concept for the Estonian exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale and a description of the project team. In the second round, the description of the exhibition must be developed according to the comments and questions raised by the jury, and submitted together with illustrations of the exhibition space, principles for the production of a catalogue and other information materials, and a detailed budget. For each work submitted in the second phase, ECA will award a prize of 1000 euro.


The competition entries will be evaluated by a jury consisting of Estonian Exhibition Commissioner and Director of ECA Raul Järg, architect Raul Kalvo, co-curator of the 2021 Estonian Pavilion Jiri Tintera, adviser of architecture and design at the Estonian Ministry of Culture Veronika Valk-Siska, Director of the Estonian Architecture Museum Triin Ojari, art historian and curator Maria Arusoo, and architectural researcher Andres Kurg.


Venice Architecture Biennale is the oldest and largest international architectural event. The 18th Venice Architecture Biennale will be curated by architect and writer Lesley Lokko, and the main theme is yet to be announced. Estonia has participated in the Biennale since 2000, with a total of ten editions so far. In 2021, Estonia was represented in Venice with the exhibition Square! Positively shrinking, which explored how to improve the quality of life in shrinking cities.


The producer of the Estonian Pavilion at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale and the organiser of the international curatorial competition is ECA, and the exhibition is co-organised by the Estonian Association of Architects, with the Estonian Ministry of Culture and the Estonian Cultural Endowment as partners.


The mission of ECA is to promote contemporary Estonian architecture and urbanism, to raise awareness of architecture and to develop Estonia’s architectural export. In addition to producing the Estonian exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale, ECA organises Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB), hosts architectural tours and carries out a number of other special architectural projects.