open call

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Open Call for the Cyprus Pavilion at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia 2021

Submission deadline extended: 23 December 2020, 18:00

Anachoresis: Upon Inhabiting Distances is the Cyprus participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, curated by Marina Christodoulidou, Era Savvides, Evagoras Vanezis and Nasios Varnavas. The participation will run 22 May to 21 November 2021, and is organised by the Cyprus Architects Association and the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth. The curatorial team launches an open call for proposals which will form part of the Cyprus Pavilion, publication and events programme. 

1.    anachoresis: upon inhabiting distances

Drawing from the theme of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, “How will we live together?”, curated by Hashim Sarkis, the Cyprus participation looks into the spatial experiences that occur when distancing becomes a paradigm for the development of new socialites.

Taking the notion of Anachoresis – an abrupt jolt of departure1 – as a starting point, the Cyprus Pavilion proposes a horizontal site-specific installation scaling up the unifying agent and most social object of interior living, the table. Given a modular and quasi-monumental form, inspired by the differing scales one comes across during a walk in the city, the table in itself becomes an archive of scales and experiences. It adapts to a seductive reversibility between the outside and the inside and, by suggesting a micro-urbanism of cooperation, puts our daily acts and typical behaviours into question. The addition, subtraction, staging, and restaging of everyday objects on the table, transform it into a substructure that enables one to comment, re-interpret and re-pose the question of how a gathering space is constructed.

The installation design incorporates local architectural idioms and materialities, exploring how a multi-authorial approach can empower architecture to produce novel forms of localities. Furthermore, dance and sound are suggested as architectural tools to enhance these cohabitation mechanisms. Harnessing and inhabiting the negative, left over and in-between spaces existing within the table, the proposal looks to elaborate on potentials and proportions of a fantasised community. Anachoresis: Upon Inhabiting Distances seeks to gather perspectives that place the issue of collective space at the forefront of architecture and question how current practices are influencing the notion of collective space physically, socially or/and politically.

1 Barthes, Roland (2013) How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Spaces, trans. by Kate Briggs. New York, Columbia University Press, p. 25.

2.    the open call

The COVID Pandemic is perhaps the only moment in recent memory when we have distanced ourselves from the city and, by extent, from physical collective practice. In contrast to the domestic space – designed for private use, the city was designed for sociality. The abrupt withdrawal from the
protocols of being together in the city (Anachoresis) has brought about the uneasiness of responding to our domestic space in ways other than the ones prescribed. Our domestic spaces are now being called to fulfil various purposes of the public sphere, including work and leisure, thus mediating between private and public, virtual and physical, isolated and collective functions. With this public to private disruption, the negotiation of distances and rhythms necessary for living together has all at once taken on new dimensions, bringing into focus newly developed distances, existing in-between or even outside of spatial, programmatic, micro or macro classifications.

Owing to the proliferation of digital platforms for political, cultural and social exchange, and the hyper-connectivity they make possible, notions of collective, shared or social space are currently in an enormous state of flux, while urban sprawl, financialisation and the privatisation of public spaces are further imposing abounding pressures on the physical presence of collective spaces within our cities. Intensified by the COVID Pandemic, our resilience in constructing and adapting to new modes of being-together from the confines of our domestic interiors is giving rise to an amplified awareness of the changing physical and social dimensions of collectivity today.

In light of these new modes of being together, what is the vocabulary that emerges and what are the spatial experiences that occur when home becomes a locus for rethinking space-making? How do we respond to the present moment? Do we long for the city to enter our domestic spaces and re-configure the scale upwards and outwards so that another urban dimension can emerge and new localities can take place? Or do we rather long for an opportunity to reintroduce our domestic environments, our intimate micro-scales, into our cities, making public space more intimate and human, thus giving rise to new socialities? Now more than ever, there is a need to understand the constructed, imposed, negotiated, imagined, temporal, forgotten, experienced or newly inhabited distances that are shaping our collective experience, and reflect on architecture’s transformative social and political power on a global scale.

3.    call for proposals

The open call is addressed to young architects or multi-disciplinary collectives who would like to participate in the ongoing discussion on redefining collective spaces, a conversation that is currently also being fuelled by the pandemic. We are seeking perspectives suggesting ways of rethinking space-making for living and socialising together.

A body of physical models and texts will be featured and exhibited in the Cyprus Pavilion for a duration of six months as part the International Architecture Exhibition – Venice Biennale 2021.

Applicants can approach the Open Call thematics in a variety of ways. Our team welcomes original interpretations of the brief as well as fresh perspectives, expanding on the themes outlined under the Open Call heading. The following is a suggestive but not exclusive list of what we may be expecting to see in the proposals:

–    New perspectives in exploring, re-thinking, designing collective spaces in cities and/ or domestic environments.

–    Exploratory work suggesting re-appropriations of a domestic space that has acquired new functions or meaning at this time.

–    Work exploring or re-imagining a space or collective environment through the lens of the human body proxemics, gender, ecology, game, tradition, craft, technology and virtual space.

–    Exploring the role of DIY, improvised design or building tactics in this paradoxical condition of distances and collective space.

4.    important information

–    The submission must include a chosen form of representation to explain the proposal, such as one drawing, sketch, sketch model, render or a collage along with a brief supporting statement of no more than 250 words, and a short bio of no more than 150 words. If applicable, please also share 2–3 samples of previous work or a website address. Please submit a single PDF file. Max file size 3MB/2 A4 pages.

–    The selected proposals will be made as physical models by the selected participants and will inhabit the space of the large gestural table in the Cyprus Pavilion for the duration of the exhibition (May to November 2021).

–    The selected models are to be produced to any standard architectural scale chosen by the participants – these can vary for example from masterplan 1:1000, 1:200 to a 1:5 fragment.  Please keep in mind that models will be limited to maximum size dimensions of 40 x 40 x 40 cm, while their weight can be up to: 3kg.

–    We are open to a variety of material finishes and making/production techniques. Please include in your submission a few words on the proposed materials and finishes of your model.

proposals will be assessed on the basis of

–    Relation to the Open Call thematics whilst bringing a unique perspective to the brief

–    Demonstration of applicants’ capacity to deliver the proposed physical model

Applicants’ Eligibility

–    All applicants must be 45 or under.

–    Architects of all nationalities who live and work in Cyprus or Cypriot architects who live and work abroad.

–    We welcome proposals submitted from multi-disciplinary collectives which must include one or more young Cypriot architects.

5.    Application process


Proposals may be submitted via email, by 18:00 on wednesday 23rd of December 2020 to:

under the subject “Cyprus Pavilion Open Call 2021”. The attached pdf should be named as follows:

VAB2021_Project name

Selection process and awarding

The curatorial team of the Cyprus Architecture Pavilion will select a maximum of 12 proposals to be showcased in Venice. Each selected proposal will receive a contribution of maximum 200€ towards the production costs of their models. Selected proposals will also receive credit in the press and publication materials.

6.    Open Call Deadlines

Proposals Submission Deadline
23 December 2020 

Selection Announcement
7 january 2020

Additional Information & Clarifications

For additional information or clarifications about the Open call please contact: