Detroit Showcased at the Venice Biennale on Architecture

Jun 15, 2016 569

by Sandra Tornberg

Antoinette DelVillano is an architect working in New York City. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Ohio State University. Antoinette entered this photo of her father Antonio DelVillano, uncle Rolando DelVillano, aunts Sandra DelVillano Marchi and Lisa Wagner, and grandfather Gaetano DelVillano in the My Detroit Postcard Photo Contest. The contest was held October 14 to December 31, 2015, to complement the twelve speculative projects for Detroit exhibited in The Architectural Imagination exhibit at the Venice Biennale. Antoinette's photo, entitled "Our '69 Plymouth, 1970", was one of twenty selected by the organizers to be made into postcards.

The back of the postcard reads " In 1970, owning a Plymouth Fury spoke to the aspirations of an Italian immigrant family settling in their first home. At the time the DelVillanos posed for this family portrait outside their home, their East Side neighborhood, with its neat rows of houses and landscaped front yards, seemed almost suburban, with Plymouths, Chevrolets, and Fords parked in every driveway. The father, like so many others, worked in the automobile industry, and in 1980 he moved from the East Side to be closer to his job at Borg Warner, a car-parts supplier. Today, their former residence on Hickory Street is home to another family."

The 2016 Venice Biennale on Architecture is taking place from May 28 to November 27, 2016. The USA exhibit is all about Detroit. Writer Patricia Montemurri and her daughter Natalie Jo Diehl were recently in Venice to visit and report on the exhibit.

"The postcards are based on photos submitted by the public in a contest last fall, and judged by famed New York City photographer and sociologist Camile Jose Vergara and Cynthia Davidson, the editor of international architecture journal Log. Davidson also is one of the co-curators who, chose 12 architectural teams from among 250 applicants to create the unique, speculative designs targeting four Detroit neighborhoods," reported Patricia. The properties include Mexicantown, the Dequindre Cut, the Packard Plant and riverside by Main Post Office,

"U.S. Ambassador to Italy John Phillips toured the exhibit Friday and told architects and journalists at an opening ceremony that the Venice festival 'is the most important contemporary art exhibit in the world.' Phillips said Detroit is drawing more young people to the city. While the designs for Detroit are considered speculative ideas - fantastical rather than likely to be built -- they make for a 'bold exhibit and it may be a catalyst' for developing ideas for other American cities, Phillips said.

The exhibit will come to Detroit's Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MOCAD) in February, 2017 where we will all have the opportunity to view it.

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