Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 postponed due to coronavirus

The bi-annual event will take place in August instead of May, and will run for three months instead of six

ITALY, VENICE - FEBRUARY 08 : Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated across a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals. Grand Canal and palaces in Venice on February 08, 2019, Italy. (Photo by Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images)
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The Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 has postponed its opening date to Saturday, August 29 from its original date of Saturday, May 23 amidst the Covid-19 outbreak in Italy.

The bi-annual event was meant to run for six months, but will now be cut down by half due to the change in schedule. The preview is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, August 27 and 28.

The exhibition will be on view until Sunday, November 29.

In their announcement on Thursday, La Biennale di Venezia, the foundation behind the event, did not refer to the coronavirus directly, but cited the change in schedule as “a consequence of the recent precautionary measures in the matter of mobility taken by the governments of a growing number of countries around the world, which will have a domino effect on the movement of people and works in coming weeks.”

Italy has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Europe, with 3,089 infected and 107 deaths as of Thursday. Schools and universities across the country have been closed following a government mandate.

In its statement, La Biennale di Venezia explained that it would be difficult to set up exhibitions in these conditions, with participants meant to be coming in from around the world. “This situation poses a risk to the realization of the exhibition in its entirety in time for the announced opening date, thereby jeopardizing its quality,” the foundation wrote.

Curated by Hashim Sarkis, the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020 is themed How Will We Live Together?, which looks at structural problems within society and seeks ways to address it politically, socially and spatially.

The exhibition will be held between the Central Pavilion at the Giardini, the Arsenale and Forte Marghera. It includes 114 participants from 46 countries around the world.

The UAE's contribution to the biennale is a project by architects Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto of Waiwai that explores the potential for creating renewable building materials from the country's sabkha or salt flats.