The Bartlett School of Architecture


Níall McLaughlin Architects & AY Architects to represent Ireland at 2016 Venice Biennale

26 November 2015

Unit 17 design tutors Professor Níall McLaughlin (Níall McLaughlin Architects) and Dr Yeoryia Manolopoulou (AY Architects) have been chosen to represent Ireland at next year's Venice Biennale (2016).


Responding to the overall theme of the Biennale – 'Reporting from the Front' – the proposal presented by Niall McLaughlin Architects and curated by Yeoryia Manolopoulou, reflects their interest in working as architects to understand and improve the quality of life for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The team will examine the spatial experiences of people with Alzheimer’s disease whilst recognising that the experiences of the sufferer are unlikely to resemble any conventional architectural representation. The installation at Venice will record and represent the human experience from this frontline condition and show it as a space with its own characteristics. This central concept will be accompanied by a contextual piece and also a social media campaign to extend the impact of this exhibition beyond the Biennale.

Níall McLaughlin Architects worked with dementia sufferers from 1999 to 2014 while collaborating with the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland on the organisation’s first new building, a respite centre in Dublin.

McLaughlin comments: "Alzheimer’s Disease is a condition that progressively destroys the ability to remember and to navigate one’s way in the world. To be at ease, one must be able to situate oneself: to know when and where one is. This is what is destroyed by dementia. Situation is the task of architecture. The loss of one’s ability to place oneself presents a profound challenge for our discipline."

Christine Sisk, director of Culture Ireland says: "‘The Venice Architecture Biennale is the greatest world showcase for the presentation of contemporary architectural talent.

"The selection of Niall McLaughlin Architects to represent Ireland in 2016 will serve to build on Ireland’s successes over the years at the Biennale and serve to further highlight the ingenuity and responsiveness of Irish architects to difficult challenges."

The fifteenth International Architecture Exhibition, which is being led by Alejandro Aravena, will take place from 28 May to 27 November 2016.

More information

Image: Alzheimer’s Respite Centre, Dublin (cropped drawing).