Luxembourg has been a regular participant at the International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia for the past 20 years, along with around 70 other countries. Since its launch in 1980, this event has been the main international meeting place for specialists in architecture, a discipline whose major contemporary trends it helps to showcase and define. As well as raising the profile of those involved, Luxembourg’s attendance allows it to contribute to international exchanges and debates on architecture, whose theoretical foundations and fields of application are constantly expanding.

In 2022, Luxembourg’s Ministry of Culture delegated curatorship of the Luxembourg Pavilion (architecture and art) to Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg, in collaboration with luca – Luxembourg Center for Architecture.

The winning team is made up of two curators, Francelle Cane and Marija Marić, surrounded by an Advisory Board and a team of contributors in the fields of scenography, content production and publishing.

About Down to Earth

From the development of human settlements on the Moon to the asteroid mining of rare mineral and metals—the wild imaginaries of extraction-driven growth have, quite literally, transcended the boundaries of the Earth. This displacement of resource exploitation from the exhausted Earth to its ‘invisible’ backstages—celestial bodies, planets, and ultimately, the Moon itself—calls for an urgent debate on the impact this shift will have on our understanding of land, resources and the commons.  critically unpacks the project of space mining through the perspective of resources. It starts from the following questions: How does tDown to Earthhis new iteration of the space race, wrapped in the false promises of endlessly available resources, depart from the existing extractivist logic of capitalism and its destructive environmental and social effects on the ground? How will the ongoing privatisation of space, characterised by a sharp turn towards private companies as main actors in the exploitation of space resources, affect the current status of extraterrestrial bodies as a form of ‘planetary commons’? What are the materialities of space mining—its logistics, technologies, infrastructures and workers—and their relationship to the existing geopolitical power hierarchies? And finally, how are architects to mediate critically the ramifications of these material fictions, rooted in the existing paradigms of growth?

Designed as mock-ups of the Moon’s landscapes, ‘lunar laboratories’ have emerged in recent years as a default feature that many institutions and private companies around the world use as infrastructure for testing different mining technologies. However, within the context of speculative economies of the space mining industry, the role of the lunar laboratories seems to go beyond being merely spaces meant for carrying out scientific experiments, instead appearing also as media studios for the production of imagery of human technologies on the Moon. The exhibition Down to Earth uses the lunar laboratory as a site for unpacking the tech industry’s space exploration narratives. With the space of the Pavilion itself turned into a lunar laboratory, a stage where the performance of extraction takes place, Down to Earth focuses on the unveiling of the backstages of the space mining project, offering another way of seeing the Moon that goes beyond the current optics of the Anthropocene.

The 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia will take place from May 20 to November 26. The Luxembourg Pavilion is located at Arsenale (Sale d’Armi, 1st floor).

More information:
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Following a call for applications for the research and creation residency for architects, architecture researchers, illustrators, and authors at the Academia Belgica in Rome in 2023, 6 proposals were assessed. At a meeting on 24 January, the jury welcomed the range, focus and quality of the projects submitted. The jury members were Eline Bleser (Luxembourg Center for Architecture), Claude Kremer (National Centre for Literature) and Anne Simon (Resident 2022).

The jury unanimously decided to award the residency to Nathalie Kerschen for her research proposal URBS ANIMALIS.

Jury Statement
The jury was particularly impressed by the theme Natalie Kerschen proposed, a natural extension of her PhD research. The precision and methodology underpinning her thinking, combined with the almost intuitive approach she plans to take in the field, were rated highly by the jury which commended her for the exemplary nature of her academic approach.

The topic proposed by Nathalie Kerschen dovetails perfectly with current debates – still in the early stages – questioning current thinking about cities from the perspective of inclusive coexistence living beings in urban spaces. It is therefore highly relevant to current research in the field of architecture and the way in which we inhabit nature.

Project (extract from application)
“Drawing inspiration from the hermeneutic-phenomenological approach to architecture and recent developments in eco-phenomenology—i.e. the philosophical attempt to an ‘experience of nature’ through ‘nature of experience’ (Toadvine)—and studies of animals and anthropology, my research creation projects—which lie at the intersection between architecture and speculative design—aim to renew the relationship with animals in Rome through the prism of what the phenomenologist David Abram calls ‘becoming animal’.

This proto-eco-phenomenological approach is based on the idea that human bodies are in harmony with non-human bodies on the basis of a combination of physical experiences and conditions. It can be linked to the concepts of ‘interanimality’, and ’empathy’ (Einfülung) developed by the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty; a bodily experience shared by humans and animals. Since (eco)phenomenology focuses on the experience of animals, it offers a backdrop for examining the conditions and spatial contexts of non-human living beings from a familiar perspective, i.e. as co-inhabitants of our urban and rural spaces. At a time when exponential growth of urban populations, the extinction of species, and the loss of biodiversity seem irreversible, making animals visible in Rome means giving them a platform and bringing them back into focus for architects.”


About Nathalie Kerschen
After obtaining a master’s from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais and studying philosophy at Paris Sorbonne IV University, Nathalie Kerschen continued her academic studies at McGill University in Montreal. In November 2022, she defended her doctorate in the History and Theory Department at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture on ‘Reclaiming Nature in Computational Architectural Design: From Biology to Phenomenology’. In addition to her academic studies, Nathalie has worked for international architect’s offices and been exhibited in contemporary art centres, including Casino – Forum d’art Contemporain in Luxembourg and iMal Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology in Brussels. In 2022, she began to teach theory and practical courses in the Department of Design and Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal.

As a researcher, Nathalie has received several grants, including an AFR grant from the Luxembourg National Research Fund (2016-2020), a Schulich grant (2016), a Meita grant from McGill University (2016-2019), excellence grants for architecture graduates (2021) and an award on completing her doctorate (2022) from the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture.

The jury of the call for applications for the design of the Luxembourg Pavilion at the 2023 18th Venice Architecture Biennale met for the second session on Tuesday 19 July. It selected, among the three winning curatorial teams, the project Down to Earth by Francelle Cane and Marija Marić.

The jury would like to congratulate the three winning teams of the first session for the high quality of the submitted projects. The jury’s choice in this second phase was a tough one, as all the teams had done a great deal of work in formatting the documents submitted and had made meticulously prepared and well-defended oral presentations. The teams were able to provide a detailed analysis of the Luxembourg territory in the broadest sense and its inhabitants or users, while giving it a universal inflection by linking it to major contemporary issues: the question of land ownership and the management of space and resources, the tension between the normative nature of the relationship with the territory and a return to the body and the senses, or the narratives on which nations construct the scale through which they look at themselves and project themselves in space and time.

The Down to Earth project by Francelle Cane and Marija Marić was unanimously selected by the jury to design the Luxembourg Pavilion at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale.

The project, focused on the question of extraterrestrial resources, their exploitation and the narratives that underlie the resulting economy, was chosen for both the topical and speculative nature of the theme, the clarity of the proposal, the precision of the reflections, sourced and referenced, and the societal issues it raises. The straightforwardness of the message, supported by a simple scenography, articulated around a model of the Moon, a collection of “take-away” essays, and three narrative videos, should allow the Biennial’s audience to enter the subject head-on.

The project highlights a topic that remains invisible to our eyes through a critical approach, it raises the issue of the resources of the earth’s soil at different scales, but above all it raises the issue of the future world that we are creating by pushing back the limits of the spaces colonised and exploited by man beyond the Earth.

[…] The unbridled imagination of extractive growth has, quite literally, transcended the boundaries of the Earth. This shift in mining from the exhausted Earth to its ‘invisible’ backstage areas – celestial bodies, planets, and eventually the Moon itself – calls for urgent reflection on the impact this shift will have on our conceptions of land, resources and the commons, both on the ground and beyond. Described as “the rising star of the space industry” and “a pioneer in the exploration and use of space resources”, Luxembourg, whose economy was once based on iron mining and steel production, appears as an important starting point for this debate.
Extract from the Application / Down to Earth by Francelle Cane and Marija Marić.

The winning team is made up of two curators, Francelle Cane and Marija Marić, surrounded by an Advisory Board and a team of contributors in the fields of scenography, content production (videos, texts), media and publishing. They also wish to rely on a solid network of Luxembourg and international partners.

Francelle Cane is an architect, graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles – ENSAV (FR) (2018) and is a PhD student at the University of Luxembourg since 2021 (Topic: After the Ruin. On Property and Territorial Negotiation). She has worked as an architect (Paris, Berlin) and has curated and designed numerous exhibitions. Her exhibition Enter the Modern Landscape has has been awarded the International WERNAERS Fund for Research and the Diffusion of Knowledge (FNRS), Brussels (BE).

Marija Marić holds a PhD in Science from the Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich (2020) and two Masters degrees: a Master of Arts, Department for New Art Media, Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad (RS) and a Master in Architecture, Faculty of Technical Sciences, Novi Sad (RS). She is currently an associate researcher at the Master in Architecture Programme, Department of Geography and spatial planning, University of Luxembourg. She has received numerous academic awards and scholarships for her research work.


Winning curatorial teams of the 1st session:


The Jury


The Venice Architecture Biennale
Although the format of the Venice Biennale is strongly rooted in the construction process of Western nations, it is nonetheless an international platform with a strong prospective dimension. Every other year, it offers architecture and all related disciplines the opportunity to share its most recent developments and its most critical questioning for the benefit of a flow of ideas that remains the heart of this event.
The 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, whose artistic director has been entrusted to Lesley Lokko, fully assumes this forward-looking heritage through its title “Laboratory of the future”, while clearly underlining the fields in which experiments must be conducted: ethics, climate and politics.

The jury of the call for projects for the conception of the Luxembourg Pavilion at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale met on Wednesday, June 1 and selected the three winning projects for the second jury session from among 13 applications received.

The members of the jury of the competition for the realization of the Luxembourg pavilion of the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale – 2023 would like to thank all the candidates for the interest they have shown, by participating in this competition, in the presence of Luxembourg at this international event. They would also like to pay tribute to the work they have done on this occasion.

The jury chose three projects which, while rooted in spatial, political, ethical or social themes that are highly topical for the Luxembourg territory, are directly related to the major contemporary issues facing international architecture: access to resources and raw materials, the production and sharing of wealth and the narratives that result from it, the question of the “common” and “diversity”, the ways – normative or resilient – of inhabiting the world, the sustainability of buildings and their resistance to climatic assaults, in short all the challenges facing interconnected and expanding societies throughout the planet.

The jury has therefore favoured projects that place the inhabitants at the center of their concerns in order to involve them, in a horizontal manner, in the ongoing reflections on the built environment, housing, urbanisation and cohabitation. So many subjects of major political and cultural importance for the future of societies, whether Western or not.

The theme of the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, “Laboratory of the future,” announced on May 31, emphasizes the prospective dimension of this event and outlines two important curatorial lines through two key-words: decarbonization and decolonization, “two gifts to the canon of architecture,” “two powerful words, both local and global,” which allow us to rethink our relationship to space and to people.

Selected curatorial teams:

The jury is composed of:

The deadline for the second round is July 14, 2022 and the winning project will be announced on July 22.

The President of La Biennale di Venezia, Roberto Cicutto, and the Curator of the 18th International Architecture ExhibitionLesley Lokko – appointed as the Artistic Director of the Architecture Department by the Board of Directors on December 14th, 2021 – today announced the title and theme of the Biennale Architettura 2023, which will be held from May 20th to November 26th 2023 (pre-opening May 18th and 19th) in the Giardini, at the Arsenale, and at various sites around Venice.

The title of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition is The Laboratory of the Future.

“New technologies continuously appear and disappear – stated Lesley Lokko – giving us unfiltered glimpses of life in parts of the globe we will likely never visit, much less understand. But to see both near and far simultaneously is also, as Du Bois and Fanon famously put it, a form of ‘double consciousness’, the internal conflict of all subordinated or colonised groups, which describes the majority of the world, not only ‘there’, in the so-called Developing-, Third-, and Arab Worlds, but ‘here’ too, in the metropoles and landscapes of the global North. In Europe we speak of minorities and diversity, but the truth is that the West’s minorities are the global majority’diversity is our norm. There is one place on this planet where all these questions of equity, race, hope and fear converge and coalesce. Africa. At an anthropological level, we are all African. And what happens in Africa happens to us all”.

Kultur | lx, in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture, launched a call for applications to represent Luxembourg at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale.
The laureate will be announced on July 22.

More information HERE.

The Venice Architecture Biennale is the world’s largest cultural event for architecture. The aim of this international event is to give the world an overview as comprehensive as possible of the themes and projects capable of addressing the future’s scenarios in the fields of architecture, urbanism, the city and our ever-changing society.

The 18th edition will take place from 20 May to 26 November 2023. Nominated in December 2021 by the Fondazione la Biennale di Venezia, Lesley Lokko, architect and woman of letters will be the Chief Curator of the Biennale 2023.

Kultur | lx, in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture, launch a call for applications to represent Luxembourg at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The call is aimed at multidisciplinary curatorial teams including at least one Luxembourg architect, living in Luxembourg or able to demonstrate a cultural integration in the Grand Duchy. The teams may include all professions useful for the reflection, production and mediation of this pavilion. For example, artists, architects, urban planners, landscape architects, researchers, critics, curators, writers, philosophers, etc. can be part of the team. In addition, the teams may call on the services of third parties.

The jury is made up of the following professionals:
– Michelle Friederici, President of Ordre des Architectes et des Ingénieurs conseils Luxembourg
– Cécile Fries, Architect, sociologist and lecturer at école nationale supérieure d’architecture, Nancy
– Claudine Hemmer, Visual Arts and Architecture Advisor, ministry of Culture Luxembourg
– Nikolaus Hirsch, Artistic director of CIVA – Architect, landscape and urban culture, Bruxelles
– Sara Noel Costa de Araujo – Studio SNCDA, Architect and curator of Luxembourg Pavilion 2021
– Guittou Miller, representing LUCA
– Hélène Doub, representing Kultur | lx

The selection will be carried out in two sessions:

First session: April 26, 2022: publication of the call for applications
May 25, 2022: deadline for submission of preliminary projects

Second session: June 2nd, 2022 at the latest: publication of the names of the shortlisted three teams selected for the second session
July 14, 2022 : deadline for submission of detailed projects
Paid submission of € 1,500

Announcement of the laureate: July 22, 2022
Official opening: mid-may 2023

The call for applications is detailed HERE

Tina Gillen will rep­re­sent the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia with Faraway So Close. The exhi­bi­tion, for which the artist is pro­duc­ing a new series of large-scale works, will take the form of an expan­sive painter­ly instal­la­tion in the Luxembourg Pavilion, locat­ed with­in the his­toric premis­es of the Sale d’Armi in Venice’s Arsenale. In Faraway So Close, Gillen directs her atten­tion to the con­nec­tions between the inte­ri­or space and the out­side world.

Concerned pri­mar­i­ly with the medi­um of paint­ing, the work of Tina Gillen exam­ines how we relate to the world around us, name­ly through the themes of land­scape and dwelling. Her paint­ings often orig­i­nate in pho­to­graph­ic images that she mod­i­fies, sim­pli­fies, pic­to­ri­al­ly ​trans­lates’, and pairs with oth­er ele­ments to arrive at com­po­si­tions that pur­pose­ful­ly nur­ture a cer­tain ambi­gu­i­ty, some­where between abstrac­tion and fig­u­ra­tion, con­struc­tion and impro­vi­sa­tion, the sur­face of the can­vas and the trans­la­tion of a space.

Faraway So Close is an ambi­tious paint­ing instal­la­tion made espe­cial­ly for the Luxembourg Pavilion. Conceived in response to the his­to­ry of the space as a mil­i­tary stor­age, it brings togeth­er large-scale paint­ings in a sceno­graph­ic treat­ment inspired by paint­ed film back­drops, ​as if the paint­ings were only there tem­porar­i­ly, wait­ing to be moved again, rearranged.’

The exhi­bi­tion is an exten­sion of Gillen’s recent pic­to­r­i­al research on the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of nat­ur­al phe­nom­e­na that elude our con­trol such as mete­o­ro­log­i­cal events, ris­ing sea lev­els and vol­canic activ­i­ty. Collectively, the paint­ings evoke the four ele­ments that were his­tor­i­cal­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the con­sti­tu­tion of the uni­verse – earth, water, fire and air –, as well as the ​uncer­tain land­scapes’ (Marielle Macé) marked by cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal changes brought by human activities.

At the heart of the instal­la­tion is a sculp­tur­al com­po­nent titled Rifugio (2022), whose shape was inspired by a sea­side bun­ga­low the artist dis­cov­ered on the Côte d’Opale in north­ern France and paint­ed in a pre­vi­ous work on paper. When trans­posed to the exhi­bi­tion space and placed in rela­tion with the paint­ings, this form becomes a pol­y­semic space to the artist, act­ing both as a place for with­draw­al and a gate­way into the world, as a shel­ter and as a space beset by an abun­dance of infor­ma­tion. Faraway So Close speaks to the com­plex­i­ty of the rela­tion­ships that exist between inte­ri­or spaces and the out­side world, between prox­im­i­ty and distance.

From 23.04 to 27.11.2022
Arsenale, Sale d’Armi, Venice (Italy)

Commissioner: ministry of Culture, Luxembourg
Organiser: Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
With the support of: Let’s make it happen &  Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg
Curator: Christophe Gallois, assisted by Ilaria Fagone
Exhibition Design: Tina Gillen in collaboration with Polaris Architects

In the continuity of the Focuna, Kultur | lx takes up two artists’ residencies covering different disciplines:

– Research and creative residency for architects, architectural researchers, illustrators and authors at Academia Belgica in Roma (I)

Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Embassy in Rome in partnership with the Academia Belgica, Centre for History, Arts and Sciences in Rome (AB), is offering a research and creative residency for authors, screenwriters, playwrights, illustrators, architects and architectural researchers (PhD Level minimum) for at least one month and up to two months (dates to be agreed upon with the residency), based on a call for applications. The aim of this residency is to help architects, architectural researchers, illustrators and authors in the broadest sense immerse themselves in the Roman environment and to encourage networking within the local art scene and with other academies and research institutes, contributing in the long run to the development of their professional career.

Located in the heart of Rome, the Academia Belgica is now part of an international network of thirty-eight academies and research institutes from nineteen countries in the Urbs, with which it collaborates regularly. The Academia Belgica is a public utility foundation that welcomes highly qualified artists and researchers. Their aim is to be an interdisciplinary centre for hosting and promoting high-level scientific and cultural activities and act as a bridge between national academic and cultural institutions on one hand and international universities and research and cultural centres on the other hand in Rome and elsewhere.

Final registration date: midnight on Sunday 12 December 2021.
More information : Research and creative residency for architects, architectural researchers, illustrators and authors at Academia Belgica in Roma

– Research and creation residency for visual artists at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (D)

In collaboration with the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg offers visual artists a six-month research and creation residency based on a call for applications. During the residency, the artist benefits from:
– a studio in the Künstlerhaus Bethanien
– financial support
– technical support and constructive feedback
– production support

The Künstlerhaus Bethanien is an international cultural centre in Berlin. The Künstlerhaus Bethanien is a working and networking space for professional artists, enabling the creation, dissemination and presentation of works. The annual programme echoes with the challenges encountered in the international visual arts scene. The Künstlerhaus Bethanien is located in the Lichtfabrik former workshops and offices in a district between Kreuzberg and Neukölln in Berlin.

The residency programme is a platform for artists from all over the world. The resident has the opportunity to work on and carry out a project for a set period of time and to immerse himself/herself in the Berlin art scene. The residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien is a great opportunity to network within the local art scene, contributing to the development of the resident’s professional career.

Final registration date: midnight on Sunday 19 December 2021.
More information : Research and creation residency for visual artists at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin

On the occasion of the 2021 Venice Biennale, the LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture invited architect Sara Noel Costa De Araujo to explore the concept of modular living. Studio SNDCA responded by overlapping the curatorial approach with the actual design of modular, mobile housing units to be set in clusters on the many vacant plots of building land in Luxembourg. This speculative project can thus be read as an engaged attempt to match the international exhibition with domestic concerns about the housing crisis.

Set up for the second time at the Arsenale’s Sale d’Armi, the Luxembourg Pavilion hosts until 21 November 2021 the exhibition entitled “Homes for Luxembourg” as well as a residency program and series of events organised in Luxembourg and Venice.

All information : Homes for Luxembourg – Luxembourg Pavilion (