Germany, Austria, Refugees and the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

Much of the news about refugees arriving in Europe in recent months has focused on highly politicised aspects of the issue. What is frequently overlooked is the extent to which many German institutions, companies and ordinary people have been open and engaged in developing real practical solutions to dealing with the influx of people. One of the major questions is where and how to house people.

For example, in anticipation of the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale in May 2016, both Austria and Germany have announced that their exhibits will present architectural solutions to the European refugee crisis.

In taking a step back from the politics the design concept behind the German Pavilion

is meant to make a statement about the current political situation

according to a press release.

 The exhibit, Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country, is being curated by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) and is supported by the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), and will focus on creative housing formats to serve the influx of asylum seekers. The exhibit is one of the responses to the more than one million refugees who have arrived in Germany since 2015.

While it is housing that is urgently needed, new ideas and proven concepts for integration are equally necessary.Organizers have stressed that Germany’s entry reflects the

“enormous efforts being made by everyday citizens” who have ensured that “integration is something conspicuous within the urban fabric.”
Over the last 18 months, Germany has taken in over 1 million refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa.
Photo credit: “”. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from Deutsches Architekturmuseum

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