The 10th Rotterdam Architecture Biennale, “It’s About Time,” Examines 50 Years of Climate Change in the Past and Future

The 10th Rotterdam Architecture Biennale, “It’s About Time,” Examines 50 Years of Climate Change in the Past and Future

The 10th Rotterdam Architecture Biennale, titled “It’s About Time”, is a seven-week exhibition that demonstrates practical paths to a sustainable future at a time when the effects of climate change are becoming more and more obvious.

Half a century ago, the consequences of climate change were predicted in The Limits of Growth report from 1972. The potential effects of an exponential rise in population, agricultural output, and resource extraction are described here.

The report is viewed by many as the beginning of environmental awareness. The Rotterdam Architecture Biennale aims to bring these changes into perspective by looking both at the past and the possible future.

The biennale looks at the issue from three perspectives: re-analyzing historical research (since 1972), presenting inspiring practical examples (anno 2022), and looking at future scenarios (toward 2072). This overview paints a picture that is both worrisome and hopeful.

The title, It’s About Time, hints at the ever-mounting time pressure under which we are trying to counteract the effects of climate change and connect them with other social challenges.

The Biennale aims to demonstrate the genuine, positive prospects of a new, more radical path toward a living future, even when the outlook is frequently depressing. This event’s initiatives and practices present ambitious, yet broadly applicable solutions founded in extensive study. They were created in close cooperation with local players, starting with the unique socioecological component of the problems, and using time as a tool in the design process.

The main exhibition features the creations of 50 designers, architects, and researchers who are tackling global environmental concerns in innovative ways. Three design attitudes were found in the exhibition: the Ancestor, the Activist, and the Accelerator.

The Ancestor, exemplified by Anupama Kundoo, connects the past with the present and future, slows down construction processes, and works with local labor and local materials. The Activist strives for a hands-on approach, often resulting in bottom-up initiatives and community-driven projects which intervene in the public realm or media.

The Accelerator deploys technology to accelerate the transition of existing systems through innovation. In presenting these different approaches, the biennale understands that meaningful change requires a combination of attitudes in order to be effective.

This edition of the Architecture Biennale Rotterdam takes place from 22 September to 13 November 2022 in Rotterdam’s city harbors. The “It’s About Time” exhibition is presented in the Ferro, a former Gas Storage Facility in the western harbor area.

The nearby Keilepand hosts the work of “The Future Generation”, an exhibition showcasing graduation projects from the Netherlands and Belgium. An extensive program of guided tours, lectures, and debates enhances the exhibitions and aims to create dialogue, knowledge accumulation, and experimentation.