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  • Writer's picturenicolas turchi

NTAR founder Nicolas Turchi is participating in the Egyptian Pavilion at The Venice Biennale '23

Egypt “Nilab, the Nile as a laboratory” Venice International Architecture Biennale

Commissioner: Ministry of Culture of Egypt - Accademia d'Egitto - National Organization for Urban Harmony

Curators: Ahmed Sami Abd Elrahman, Marina Tornatora, Ottavio Amaro, Ghada Farouk, Moataz Samir

Exhibitors: Ain-Shams University of Cairo, Faculty of Engineering (Egypt); Università Mediterranea Reggio Calabria, dArTe Department (Italy)

At a time when the future of the Nile is on the minds of many Egyptians, it was made the centre focus of the Egyptian pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.

Titled ‘NiLab: Nile as Laboratory’, the pavilion was commissioned by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture’s Accademia di Belle Arti d’Egitto in Rome and the National Organization for Urban Harmony, and curated by Ain Shams University and the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria in collaboration with architects and professors from 24 universities in 10 different countries.

Exploring the past, present and future of the most significant river in the world, the pavilion focused on design and research, immersing visitors in a surreal experience that highlights developments (whether real or conceptual) surrounding the iconic river. The pavilion is structured into different themes ranging from landscapes and nature, to infrastructure and industry, and the impact they have on the climate, urban fabric and historical landscapes that run along the river’s course, from Lake Nasser to the Mediterranean Sea. With a reconstructed Solar Barque, an ancient symbol of rebirth that also epitomises the pavilion, at its centre, NiLab features a number of projects including ‘The Inhabited Dam’ by architects from Italian and Slovenian universities as well as a showcase of ‘Grand Tour on Nile’, a film by director Ahmed Yasser. Whether it's through stills depicting life along the Nile, or the ancient and modern structures erected along its banks, the pavilion explores the impact we’ve had on its natural balance, and the corresponding effect it has on climate change and water resources. Ultimately, if anything, the pavilion calls for open dialogue to raise architectural awareness as the Nile faces modern issues, a chance to reflect and think of alternative solutions that can help build a sustainable future for Egypt’s lifeline. One where efficiency and proper architectural thought is considered. Otherwise, well, the outcome is predictably grim.

Team: Nicolas Turchi, Jose Arellano, Loris Rossi, Laura Pedata

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