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CULTURE
7th São Paulo International Architecture Biennial
by Phuong-Cac Nguyen
on 18 December 2007
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The 7th São Paulo International Architecture Biennial ran for a little more than a month and just ended on Sunday. The event brought together a worldwide set of architects and public institutions under the idea-provoking theme of how public and private spaces relate to each other and how they can (or can't) co-exist. Taking place in beloved Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer's Biennial building (the location of São Paulo Fashion Week as well as the São Paulo Art Biennial, Niemeyer is coincedentally being honored for his 100th birthday with a slew of retrospectives all over Brazil.

There were too many highlights to include in this summary, but what follows are a few best-of-the-bests.

Post-It Cities
Originally a term conceived by the Italian Giovanni La Varra to describe the way temporary spaces are transformed by ordinary people, the concept has since become a photography project called "Occasional Cities" led by a Spanish team from Barcelona to capture the way these spaces are used. The São Paulo installation showed photos of a well-equipped gym under an overpass, fly-by-night food stands and other enterprising uses of public areas. (Above right.)

International Concourse of Architecture Schools
Entries from various architecture schools, mostly from Brazil, were forward-thinking if not innovative. The Federal University of Mato Grosso's architecture class contributed an alternative look at building favelas in which it suggested a more organized format, while building more bicycle paths in the crowded Amazonian city of Manaus was a solution proposed by the Lutheran University of Brazil.

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Urbanism for Sale
Austria's architecture collective Feld72 already had relevant approaches to the Biennal's theme, since it's the type of topic they focus on for their work. Their ongoing Urbanism for Sale project includes pink stickers printed with irreverent questions and statements designed for sticking in public places to capture the attention of passers-by. (At left, click image for detail.)

Tangible Traces: Dutch Architecture and Design in the Making
The Netherland's traveling exhibit (below) made its premiere by way of the Netherlands Architecture Institute at the São Paulo Biennal, bringing together five diverse Dutch designers from textile to industrial who all uphold craftsmanship and tradition in their work.

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If you can read Portuguese, check out the Biennal's site for more info.

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