Coronavirus travel restrictions force Venice Architecture Biennale to postpone opening until August

The biennial's 17th edition will now only run for three months rather than six

The Venice Architecture Biennale will now open in August

The 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale has been postponed until 29 August due to the coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19) in Italy. Originally planned to open 23 May, it will now run for only three months until 29 November, its original intended date of closure.

Held across the city's Giardini and Arsenale sites, the 17th edition of the International Architecture Exhibition, entitled How will we live together?, is curated by the Lebanese architect Hashim Sarkis. Sixty-five countries are due to take part.

“The new dates have been established as a consequence of the recent precautionary measures in the matter of mobility taken by the governments of a growing number of countries around the world, which will have a domino effect on the movement of people and works in coming weeks,” says a statement by the biennial.

A short-term postponement would be ineffective, considering the “complexity of the organisational machine”, it adds. The move is the latest drastic measure taken by Italian authorities following 80 deaths linked to Covid-19, and more than 2,500 reported cases. Meanwhile, the Salone del Mobile furniture fair in Milan has moved from April to June.

Sarkis explains the biennial's theme in a curatorial statement, saying: “We need a new spatial contract. In the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities, we call on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together.”