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Mobility, smart city, design: 5 events, exhibitions and fairs not to be missed

Innovation in the world of mobility, town planning, infrastructure and architectural design becomes culture, encounters, exchange of ideas and suggestions. From Venice to New York via Barcelona, Seoul and Chicago: here are the events selected by Infra Cultura for the second half of 2023

1. Smart City Expo World Congress

Where&When: Barcelona, 7-9 November 2023

The physical and digital dimensions combine in the upcoming edition of the Smart City Expo World Congress, a global benchmark event on the smart city front. Mobility, energy and environment, infrastructure, safety, governance and blue-economy, an economic discipline focused on the regeneration of the marine environment, will be among the themes of the event. Hosted since 2011 in Barcelona, the annual event is a meeting point for institutions, companies, research centres and realities that, in various ways, work to overcome the criticalities of contemporary urban contexts. An opportunity to exchange best practices and generate new visions. Over 25,000 professionals expected from more than 800 cities will be joined by over 600 invited international experts and speakers.

2. Emerging Ecologies Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism

Where&When: MoMA, New York, 17 September 2023 - 20 January 2024

An architect and designer born in Argentina eighty years ago, the award-winning Emilio Ambasz is considered the ‘pioneer of green architecture’. Inaugurated in 1995, his ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall is a pyramid building that gives 100 per cent of the park on which it was erected back to the city. How? Through a scenic vegetal façade, punctuated by terraced gardens on 14 levels. This example of the integration of landscape and construction is included in the exhibition of Emerging Ecologies Architecture and the Rise of Environmentalism, the first major exhibition to examine the relationship between architecture and the environmental movement in the United States. Visionary, daring, experimental: the more than 150 works on display at the MoMA in New York, spanning six decades of research (1930s-1990s) show how central the ecological question was for designers and scientists even before the current crisis. After all, the fact that buildings are responsible for almost 40 per cent of the world's annual carbon emissions is not a recent finding. With a structure divided into five sections Environment as InformationEnvironmental EnclosuresMultispecies DesignCounterculture ExperimentsGreen Poetics - the exhibition sketches a kind of ‘alternative history of architecture’, through drawings, videos and architectural models of more and less well-known works. Including Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Fallingwater.

3. Heatherwick Studio: Building Soulfulness 

Where&When: Culture Station Seoul 284, Seoul, until 9 September 2023

Presented at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2021 and designed by Heatherwick Studio for IM Motors, Airo is an ‘altruistic and eclectic’ concept electric car. A fully electric vehicle, to be driven in autonomous and controlled modes, it actively cleans the air of pollution produced by other means of transport through a state-of-the-art Hepa filtration system. In addition, it has a highly customisable interior, for example by accommodating a table or providing a double bed. After having been showcased in the panoramic top floor of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Airo and a selection of Heatherwick Studio's most striking designs are on display in Seoul. Models, videos, projections, drawings and graphics lead visitors into the creative universe of the team led by Thomas Heatherwick, which defies conventions and moves fluently between architecture, landscape and infrastructure. Without disdaining all declinations of design. 

4. Zero Gravity Urbanism

Where&When: Abbey of San Gregorio, Venice, until 24 September 2023

“No roads, cars or emissions, it will run on 100 per cent renewable energy and 95 per cent of the land will be preserved for nature. People's health and well-being will take priority over transport and infrastructure, unlike in traditional cities. Only 200 metres wide, but 170 kilometres long and 500 metres above sea level.” This is how the Saudi linear city, THE LINE, is described. It is one of the four revolutionary urban visions promoted by NEOM. At the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, entitled The Laboratory of the Future, the exhibition Zero Gravity Urbanism - Principles for a New Livability clarifies the conceptual axis underlying this new city model. The world's leading industry event, capable of summoning the entire architecture community every two years, provides the stage to detail, for the first time, the contributions of Adjaye Associates, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Coop Himmelb(l)au, Fuksas. Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA), Morphosis, Sir Peter Cook&CHAP (Cook Haffner Architecture Platform), UNStudio - some of those involved in THE LINE.

5. Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB)

Where&When: Chicago (various locations), 21 September 2023 to 2 January 2024

Curated by the Chicago-based collective Floating Museum, the fifth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial adopts the guiding theme This is a Rehearsal. Progressively establishing itself, from its founding in 2015 to the present, as a multidisciplinary platform capable of both engaging architects, designers and artists from all over the world and supporting ad-hoc commissions, the US-based event aims to investigate contemporary environmental, political and economic issues that are shared across national boundaries but are being addressed differently around the world through art, architecture, infrastructure and civic participation.” The programme, designed not only for industry insiders, includes a main exhibition project at the Chicago Cultural Center and experiences spread throughout the city. Of the more than 70 invited professionals, many are first-timers. Worth mentioning is the presence of Indian architect Anupama Kundoo and Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama, who is currently exhibiting his work Parliament of Ghosts as part of The Laboratory of the Future, in Venice.

Valentina Silvestrini

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