Fertile Futures
Pavilion of Portugal
At the 18th International
Architecture Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia
Press Release

The Official Portuguese Representation at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2023 presents Fertile Futures, a project curated by Andreia Garcia and deputy curators Ana Neiva and Diogo Aguiar, which focuses on the problems of water resources in seven Portuguese hydrogeographies, to stimulate thought about a fertile, sustainable and equitable future. Commissioned by the Directorate-General for the Arts, the exhibition Fertile Futures will be presented between May 20 and November 26 2023, at Palazzo Franchetti, in Venice.

As a vital element for human and non-human species, but also metaphorical and emotional, freshwater is simultaneously political and economic, which is why public debate on the protection, management and future of this natural resource is urgent. These are global issues with dramatic manifestations in specific distinct areas within Portuguese territory. Focusing on seven hydrogeographies, Fertile Futures commissions young architects, in collaboration with experts from other areas of knowledge, to present models for a more sustainable future, in a non-hierarchical cooperation between disciplines, generations and species.

The seven cases under study exemplify the anthropocentric action on water, natural and finite resources with implications for the Tâmega Basin; the International Douro; the Middle Tagus; the Alqueva Dam; the Mira River; the Lagoa das Sete Cidades; and the Madeiran Rivers. The production of unpublished content, based on the strategic complementarity between practice, theory and teaching in architecture, defines the tripartite approach to experimentation and reflection that focuses on the reality of the Portuguese territory.

Fertile Futures involves new generations in the development of solutions for future reservoirs and defends, between Portugal and Venice, the relevance of the contribution of architecture in the redesigning of a decarbonized, decolonized and collaborative future, thus contributing to a discussion that is common and global, in direct response to the call of Lesley Lokko, curator of 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2023, whose title and theme is “The Laboratory of the Future”.