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agenda cultural

GREENHOUSE TALK is an event promoted by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rome. The conversation will take place on the morning of August 28 in the Serra dei Giardini in Venice, Italy during the preview of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia, between Pritzker Prize Laureate Wang Shu of Amateur Architecture (China), Rahul Mehrotra of RMA architects (India) and Francine Houben of Mecanoo (the Netherlands). 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 from 9 am to 11 am the Serra dei Giardini in Venice, Italy will host Greenhouse Talk, the event promoted by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rome, in collaboration with the MAXXI - National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome and the NAi - Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam, which focuses on issues of accessibility, increasing housing demand, public space and global urban drift. Based on the theme “Common Ground” of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia, in the form of a casual morning conversation, Greenhouse Talk intends to elaborate and reflect on a widely contended issue: the most recent urban transformations and contrasts on a global scale between Western and Eastern design culture. Interaction between the east and west of the world, which seems to be a necessary condition in order to identify a new model of urban development, taps into the needs and expectations of a mixed, heterogeneous, and global community.


The dialogue between the Western and Eastern cities, between consolidated nations and developing countries, was born from a need to question the urban and architectural theories that have emerged in view of a new urban expression defined by recent geopolitical transformations. The dialogue of Greenhouse Talk is thus oriented to address these phenomena. Pippo Ciorra, architecture curator at the MAXXI, will lead a conversation with Francine Houben from Mecanoo Architects (Delft, the Netherlands), chair of Aesthetics of Mobility at the University of Technology in Delft; Pritzker Prize Laureate Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu from Amateur Architecture Studio (Hangzhou, Cina); Rahul Mehrotra, founder of RMA architects and director of the Urban Planning and Design department of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Ole Bouman, director of the NAi (Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam) and curator of the Netherlands Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 (“Re-set” exhibit by Inside Outside / Petra Blaisse), will draw conclusions.


The talk intends to compare ideas and cultures which are profoundly diverse within a “common territory” defined by the role of architecture within the current global geopolitical and social scenes. Pippo Ciorra believes that “moving from this assumption we think that whatever discussion on the future role of architecture has to be first framed in the dialogue between western architects and designers coming from far and ‘raising’ countries and then articulated in a series of inevitable topics we will all be facing everywhere in the next years. Basically, just to confirm the consistency of this panel within the frame of the general topic of the Biennale, a new common ground for architecture”. If there is a need to decipher, interpret or provide a solution to an urban or architectural territorial framework whose boundaries have become increasingly frayed and blurred, the resources generated from cultural diversity can offer the basis for a common starting point to update architecture’s current and future role in society. From this argument is born the theme which the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rome found necessary to address in a concise but critical talk.

Biographical notes

Francine Houben is founder of the architecture firm Mecanoo in Delft and is professor in Architecture, Chair of Aesthetics of Mobility at the Delft University of Technology.  (

Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu founded Amateur Architecture Studio in 1997 in Hangzhou, China. In 2012 they were awarded the Pritzker architecture prize.

Rahul Mehrotra is principal of architecture firm Rahul Mehrotra Associates in Mumbai, India. He is Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard GSD (Graduate School of Design) in Cambridge, Mass., USA. (


in 28/08/2012

9am to 11am

Serra dei Giardini viale Giuseppe Garibaldi 1254, Venice (Castello), Italy



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