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Hashim Sarkis named curator of 2020 Venice Biennale Architecture Exhibition

Dean of MIT's School of Architecture and Planning will curate the global showcase for architectural work.

Hashim Sarkis, Dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning, has been named curator of the Venice Biennale’s 17th International Architecture Exhibition, to be held in 2020.

The exhibition is a premier global showcase for architectural work, and has been held every two years in Venice since 1980.

“With Hashim Sarkis, La Biennale has provided itself with a Curator who is particularly aware of the topics and criticalities which the various contrasting realities of today's society pose for our living space,” said Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale, in a prepared statement.

“The world is putting new challenges in front of architecture,” Sarkis says. “I look forward to working with participating architects from around the world to imagine together how we are going to rise to these challenges. Thank you President Baratta and the Venice Biennale team for providing architecture this important platform. I am both honored and humbled.”

Sarkis received his BA in architecture and in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987, and his MA and PhD from Harvard University, in 1989 and 1995, respectively. He was a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design from 1998 until January 2015, when he joined MIT. 

As an architectural practitioner, Sarkis also runs Hashim Sarkis Studios and has designed a wide variety of structures — including government buildings, schools, and residences — on multiple continents. An apartment building Sarkis designed in Tyre, Lebanon, has been named as one of the most significant buildings of the 21st century by “The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture.”

Sarkis has also written widely about modern architecture and urban design. His publications include the book “Circa 1958: Lebanon in the Pictures and Plans of Constantinos Doxiadis,” and the edited volumes “CASE: Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital” and “Josep Lluis Sert: The Architect of Urban Design” (co-edited with Eric Mumford).

The International Architecture Exhibition will run from May through November of 2020.

Story originally published December 19, 2018 by Peter Dizikes for MIT News.