The British Council appointed the award-winning architecture critic Ellis Woodman to curate the British Pavilion for the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale.
In Home/Away: Five British Architects Build Housing in Europe, Woodman examined how five contemporary British architects were beginning to address the question of housing both in the UK and in other European countries. All five architects, de Rijke Marsh Morgan (dRMM), Maccreanor Lavington, Sergison Bates, Tony Fretton and Witherford Watson Mann, worked within the context of the generation gap that ensued when Britain’s programme of post-war reconstruction drew to a close in the 1970s. The exhibition considered the scale of Britain’s housing crisis and how to contribute to progressive architectural, social, commercial and legislative thinking.
The exhibition not only explored the roots of the British obsession with home ownership but the effect of the long-term domination of housing by private-sector developers in the UK.
"Home/Away presents the work of five British architects who are building housing both in their own country and on the continent. The far-flung success of the group suggests that, for all the challenges of our native condition, British experience may yet offer lessons for other countries. "
Ellis Woodman, curator of the British Pavilion, 2008
The exhibition presented examples of the five architects' work in the UK and Europe, side-by-side, as a way of interrogating the cultural differences at play.