Architecture and Its Affects at the Arsenale, 13th Venice Biennale, Venice

Affects in buildings are the ground through which architecture must now engage with everyday life and culture. Whereas historically architecture strove towards meanings for such a ground, comprehension of meanings requires a shared understanding that does not exist in todays plural society. Affects engage people through aesthetic perception. Whereas meanings are dependent on an individual’s biographical background, affects are pre-personal intensities of built forms. They are solely the consequence of how built forms are assembled: the systems and technology used, where and for what purpose. Though built forms incorporate different material and intellectual contents, these meld together into novel sensory forms, which once created, are what they are. They have no cognitive content in their actuality. They are just formal and their meaning depends on their affects and each individual’s perception of them. Affects are therefore the aspect of forms through which architects influence – without determining and limiting – people’s experience.

The installation identifies the common ground across built forms by organising them not through original motives, intended meanings, historical ideas or their author, but simply based on their actual existence in the world: their affects. The projects selected are grouped according to the different affects they generate while working with common elements such as building envelopes, structural systems or building typologies. The installation aims to show that in order to generate different experiences within everyday life and culture, architecture must accept common ground.

Architect - Farshid Moussavi Architecture

Photography - Patricia Parinejad, Emory Smith


Venice, Italy


Venice Architecture Biennale - Common Ground