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XII International
Biennale of
São Paulo


1.23 —


Vanessa Grossman
Charlotte Malterre-Barthes
Ciro Miguel

Architects and urban planners have long aspired to design total environments, civilizations, even the planet. However, in the current climate of political and economic uncertainty, occurring against the backdrop of unprecedented environmental impacts wrought by rapid technological development, design professionals have begun to acknowledge the vulnerability of their work to global transformations and the challenges of an automated future. In response, by shifting their focus to the quotidian realm they have started to pose fundamental questions about the core remit of design in an over-designed world—be it banal objects, daily routines, rote maintenance protocols, or even the use of basic resources. This line of inquiry reframes what appears to be the most trivial dimension of reality—the everyday—as an intrinsic mediator in the ongoing production of architecture and the city. Within the last decade, the potential of the everyday has influenced both practical and theoretical domains of architecture and urbanism by triggering a new ethic and aesthetic of humbleness.

Rather than evidence of inaction or a lack of will, this approach is claimed by architects to make design relevant for everyone as a shared concern. The discrete power of the everyday lies in its ability to translate the way we use basic materials, occupy space, and inhabit and maintain architecture, into common practices, which are more conciliatory than divisive. The daily routines of human beings—regardless of where they come from, who they are, and where and how they live—can be boiled down to primary needs met by architecture and embedded in space: a clean home, a warm meal, a bathroom with running water, a well-lit street. These everyday necessities speak not only of the body and the house, but extend outward to the city and its infrastructure, the nation and the management of its resources, the Earth and its ongoing health. At all these scales, the fragility of political and institutional support is evident worldwide on a daily basis: forests and glaciers are disappearing while social infrastructure, collective housing, museums, bridges, and pavement crumble. The everyday therefore emerges in architectural discourse and practice as a commitment to act responsibly and more inclusively.

Everyday, the curatorial proposal for the XII International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo, addresses the everyday as an opportune framework for investigating how architecture might advance as a specialized practice of environment making in the 21st century. The São Paulo Biennale constitutes, from such a vantage point, an ideal venue as the everyday there is an agent able to both impact and empower architecture, for better or worse.

Everyday is structured according to three themes: Everyday Stories, Everyday Resources, and Everyday Maintenance. Each showcases pertinent architectural and urban projects, research, speculative works and installations, as well as other spatial interventions that relate to the contemporary dynamics of the everyday realm.

for the

This International Open Call will gather preliminary proposals for the exhibition Architectures of the Everyday at the XII International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo (XII BIA). The selected proposals will be further discussed and developed with the curators and will be exhibited between September and December 2019 at Centro Cultural São Paulo (CCSP). We invite projects about different contexts around the globe not only South America.

The International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo is organized by the Institute of Architects of Brazil – Department of São Paulo. (IABsp)


of the Everyday

Open Call Launch





Lina Bo Bardi once said that the daily routines of people informed the “joyous” program of SESC Pompéia. Paulo Mendes da Rocha says architecture should support the the unpredictability of life. Roberto Burle Marx saw landscape designers as defenders of the natural environment. Oscar Niemeyer’s early Church of São Francisco de Assis in Pampulha “leaked madly,” but when asked if he would design it differently, he said no. From the inspiring routines of daily life, to the use of natural resources extracted to create homes, buildings, infrastructure, gardens, and cities, to the crucial relevance of maintenance, these simple narratives reveal the intense connection between space and the everyday.

Architectures of the Everyday, the core exhibition of the XII International Architecture Biennale of São Paulo at Centro Cultural São Paulo (CCSP), will address this connection today. The show will offer the opportunity to map and appraise national and international projects, as well as experiments in architecture, urban, and landscape design that attempt to reimagine how the everyday realm shapes our world. With the goal of highlighting contributions to global architectural debates, particularly within the Latin American context, the exhibition aims to enact a dynamic and timely interface between prevailing practices and current theoretical speculation in architecture regarding life, nature, and the associated idiosyncrasies of urbanization.The presentation of the projects should be able to engage broader, non-specialized audiences, and to critically reflect on the topic. We seek proposals which, through different formats and media, speak to the contemporary metamorphoses of the everyday in all its dimensions.


Architectures of the Everyday will be shown at CCSP, a multi-activity public building that constitutes one of the city’s architectural masterpieces designed by Eurico Prado Lopes and Luiz Telles. Since its inauguration in 1979, the CCSP has been an important center for everyday life in São Paulo, having been strategically connected to a busy subway station.


Architectures of the Everyday is organized according to the XII BIA’s three curatorial themes: Everyday Stories, Everyday Resources, and Everyday Maintenance.

3.1. Everyday Stories examines the myriad ways architects and other design professionals reinterpret the everyday. Such stories account for a renewed engagement with subjects and objects as well as with their respective spaces, from domestic confines to the city and countryside, all relying on various narrative and conceptual categories, such as ordinary spaces, ugly, simple, neutral, queer, other, pictorial, nostalgic, and so forth. Everyday Stories seeks projects that reflect on the relationship between allegedly “high” and “low” cultures, that unveil issues of social justice, that critically engage with correlations between labor power and the production of space, or that endeavor to work through various standing dichotomies (race, gender, subject/object, active/passive, virtual/real, tolerance/violence, past/present, etc.).

3.2. Everyday Resources addresses the growing awareness and critical engagement of architects, landscape designers, and urban planners (among others) with different processes involving everyday resources—both in urban and rural contexts. By exploring logistics, infrastructure, distribution and commodity chains, as well as political economies governing the transformation of raw materials into consumer goods (i.e., water treatment, waste and food systems, electricity networks), this new attitude focused on the commercialization of basic resources bears, above all, on global policies of sustainability, or lack thereof. Everyday Resources seeks projects that rely on the conscious use of local and global resources as well as of vernacular materials, that explore recycling and reuse processes (i.e., ingenious uses of existing industrial ready-mades, the retrofit of building components, the attribution of a second life to existing constructions), that question status quo building and urban codes responsible for the management of resources, or that critically assess the human body as a daily resource on its own.

3.3. Everyday Maintenance explores the question and problem of maintenance in architecture—which has gained attention in theoretical debates and current technological research in the whole world. Professionals have long overlooked this key dimension of architecture and other design, construction, and planning disciplines. Daily rituals of maintaining objects, bodies, and spaces—either manually or automated—are gradually, but insufficiently, incorporated into architectural production. Everyday Maintenance invites professionals to reflect upon their work relative to the issue of maintenance, and also seeks critical assessments of the lack of maintenance policies and procedures. To refract architecture, urban, and landscape design through the lenses of their daily maintenance and environmental sustainability is to raise questions as to whom and for whom bodies, objects, and spaces are maintained, at what cost, and through which resources and mechanisms. These queries relate to issues such as the division of labor and social justice, colonialism and aspects of socio-cultural heritage, identity, and collective memory, domesticity and gendered space, terms of socio-political responsibility and jurisprudence, administration and economy of means, global technological advances and gaps in development, infrastructure and repair.


The International Open Call is extended to architects, urban planners, landscape and interior designers, engineers, scientists, researchers, artists, and activists dealing with space, as well as educational institutions, research laboratories, think-tanks, chairs, undergraduate and graduate courses. Individual contributions from students will only be accepted as collective proposals linked to these academic instances. The program of XII BIA will provide specific activities for students, which will be disclosed later on. We welcome international and national participants dealing with space as we aim to bring a transnational, transgenerational, and transdisciplinary network of interlocutors of all races, genders, and cultures together.


Submission Guidelines

5.1. Only one submission per applicant will be accepted. Applicant may participate in other proposals, but not as the main author.

5.2. Entries must be submitted digitally using an online form. Applications sent via email, mail, or any alternative method will be discarded. All entries must be the exclusive property of the applicant. All applicants grant IABsp a non-exclusive and inexpensive right to reproduce, disseminate and publicly communicate submitted materials in any formats and media developed by IABsp.

5.3. Authors should choose to fund their proposal or request funding from the XII BIA organization. Those who request funding from the XII BIA should include an approximate budget. The execution will be under the responsibility of the authors. The funding for the proposals are limited and will preferably be destined for those who are not able to afford the exhibition of their work.

5.4. The selection process will be conducted by a jury composed of Vanessa Grossman, Charlotte Malterre-Barthes and Ciro Miguel, curators of the XII International Biennale of Architecture of São Paulo, together with Javier Agustín Rojas (architect, photographer, journalist from Buenos Aires, Argentina), Gabriela de Matos Moreira Barbosa (Architect and Founding Coordinator of the Brazilian Arquitetas Negras collective ) and Renato Cymbalista (Architect and Professor at the University of São Paulo). The number of selected works may vary according to the quality and relevance of the proposals presented. The selected proposals will be discussed and developed with the curatorial team. The IABsp Board may be consulted by the jury.

5.5. Evaluation criteria: concept, representativeness, feasibility and adherence to the XII BIA themes. Results will be communicated to the selected participants on May 1st, 2019. Because the number of received proposals was higher than expected, we will soon release a new date to announce the selected projects. All decisions regarding the appropriateness of the material submitted and the final selection are solely at the discretion of the jury.

5.6. After the selection process, the authors of the selected proposals have full responsibility for the submitted materials, including copyrights. All media will be accepted: built and unbuilt projects, drawings, diagrams, maps, artifacts, models, objects, prototypes, construction components, films, sound recordings, photographs and other media.

5.7. The authors of the selected proposals must remove their sent materials after the conclusion of the XII BIA. Any remaining works will be recycled.

5.8. Consultations
All requests for information should be sent to

5.9. IABsp – responsible for the organization of XII BIA – reserves the right to make any necessary changes to the event.

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