Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture presented the work of ten architectural teams who had travelled the world to seek imaginative responses to the theme, Common Ground. The exhibition charted their course in Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand and the USA and presented their research and ideas.

Venice Takeaway was curated by Vanessa Norwood, Head of Exhibitions at the Architectural Association and Vicky Richardson, the former Director of Architecture Design Fashion at the British Council. The curators wanted to reverse the way national pavilions are traditionally used. Rather than showcasing the best of British architecture, the pavilion exhibition broadens our horizons on what is possible in architecture by bringing back new ideas to the UK from around the globe.

"Asking 'What can we learn from other countries?' is at the heart of what the British Council is about."
Vicky Richardson

Ten architectural teams travelled to ten different countries. The teams explored projects, buildings, approaches, tools and ideas; conducting numerous interviews and meetings to learn from local architects. In response, the teams then looked at how they could adopt and adapt those ideas for how we make buildings in the UK. 

Within the pavilion a Research Emporium housed the photography, drawing, film and objects collected while travelling. The outer gallery spaces presented the Takeaway Proposals; the installations and objects from each team which encapsulated their ideas that could change British architecture. 

Discover the exhibition and ideas:

Large group of people in exhibition space
The curators with the ten architectural teams for Venice Takeaway, in the main gallery space housing the Research Emporium which presents the films, objects, photography and writing from the teams on their trips around the globe in search of new ideas to change British architecture. ©

Valerie Bennett 

map of the world on a wall with journeys marked
The map of the world in the main exhibition space charting the courses of the ten architectural teams as they traveled to ten different countries to conduct their research. ©

Cristiano Corte

Woman wirting at a podium surrounded by images of people
One of the Takeaway Projects, The Image of the Architect - An Open Charter by Public Works, Urban Projects Bureau and Owen Pritchard. This interactive installation presents the idea of an open resource which grows over time as people contribute, identifying the many roles that an architect must fulfil, which could act as a catalyst for change. ©

Valerie Bennett 

installation of tiers displaying architectural models
One of the Takeaway Projects, Animating Education: Learning from Rio de Janeiro by Aberrant Architecture, drawing on the design of the primary schools seen throughout Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Their installation illustrated how standardised school design in the UK could reduce costs but also set a new global standard of high-quality schools accessible to any student. ©

Cristiano Corte

team of architects sat on raft in exhbition space with screens behind showing the raft on water
The architectural team from practice dRMM on their Takeaway Project, The Dutch Way. Inspired by the floating community of IJburg in Amsterdam, the team proposed new floating neighbourhoods should be tested in London's Royal Victoria Dock. ©

Valerie Bennett 

Venice Takeaway exhibitors: 

  • aberrant architecture
  • Ross Anderson & Anna Gibb 
  • Darryl Chen
  • dRMM 
  • Forum for Alternative Belfast
  • Public Works, Urban Projects Bureau & Owen Pritchard
  • Elias Redstone
  • Liam Ross & Tolulupe Onabolu
  • Smout Allen & BLDGBLOG 
  • Takero Shimazaki / Toh Shimazaki Architecture

The Curators and Advisory Panel:

Vanessa Norwood and Vicky Richardson, Curators, Venice Takeaway


  • Vicky Richardson, Previous Director of Architecture, Design, Fashion at the British Council
  • David Anderson, Director General of the National Museum Wales
  • Ian Gilzean, Chief Architect, Scottish Executive
  • Penny Lewis, Course leader, Masters in Architecture, Robert Gordon University School of Architecture
  • Ciaran Mackel, Architect, Ard Mackel Architects
  • Fred Scott, Author, On Altering Architecture
  • Brett Steele, Director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture and AA Publications
  • Finn Williams, Founder of Common Office and Deputy Leader of Placemaking Team at Croydon Council