Ja Architecture Studio — the firm of Daniels Faculty lecturers Nima Javidi (MUD 2005) and Behnaz Assadi (MLA 2008) — has been shortlisted to represent Canada at the 2020 Venice Biennale in Architecture.
More than 350,000 visitors from around the world attend the biannual international event, which works to promote "critical conversations about contemporary architecture." The Canada Council for the Arts provides financial support for Canada's exhibition and acts as Commissioner.
Ja Architecture Studio's proposal, entitled Lightness, notes Canada's "paradoxical relationship to light wood framing:"
With its simplicity, flexibility, and affordability, architects are able to conceive of spaces of considerable formal imagination, yet these same characteristics have placed light wood framing primarily outside the disciplinary boundaries of architecture and instead within the realm of building.
By examining Canada through the lens of this specific construction method, Lightness—Ja Architecture Studio’s collaborative submission for the Canadian Pavilion at the 2020 Venice Biennale—asks how we can explore the boundaries of the architectural imagination while connecting it to broader national issues such as ecology, regionalism, colonization, and settlement.
This is the second time that the Toronto-based firm has been shortlisted for this prestigious exhibition: Ja Architecture Studio was also in the running to represent Canada at the 2018 festival.
The shortlist news falls on the heels of other recent accolades for the firm: Ja Architecture Studio's project The Octagon recently received an Award of Excellence from Canadian Architect.
Photos of Ja Architecture Studio projects, top: 1) The Arch of Light, a finalist in the Lord Stanley’s Gift Monument Competition, 2) The Octagon—awarded a 2018 Award of Excellence by Canadian Architect, 3) Semi-Split.
Photos 2 & 3 by Sam Javanrouh