architect: TAMassociati

location: Padiglione Italia, Biennale di Venezia

year: 2016

“TAKING CARE, Progettare per il bene comune / Designing for the common good” is the theme of the Italian Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia by the curatorial team TAMassociati, represented by Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo, Simone Sfriso.

"TAKING CARE is an action that is born in the Italian Pavilion at Biennale Architettura 2016 which then takes root and exists outside it. It has two purposes: to present a vision of architecture as service to the community; to demonstrate, with tangible proofs, how architecture can make a difference by taking care of people and places, principles and resources...Our work began in the last millennium with a precise idea of architecture as a collective work for society. Our proposal for the Italian Pavilion at the 2016 Architecture Biennale is in keeping with that vision: a collective effort to which we have summoned other groups whose vision is particularly attentive to places, communities and local resources. The architecture on display is integrated into these approaches, often with limited resources but rich in strong ideals." TAMassociati

As the theme of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, chosen by its director Alejandro Aravena, explores the need to combine architecture with a better quality of the built environment and thus people’s lives, the theme of “taking care” fits in well with it. It is intended as tangible proof of how architecture can help spread and make effective the principles of culture, socialization, participation, health, integration and legality in any place and on any scale.

mappa percorso espositivo Padiglione Italia
mappa percorso espositivo Padiglione Italia

The Italian Pavilion 2016 presents 20 projects by Italian architectural firms which showcase a broad range of approaches, a variety of actors , a plurality of objectives in the work done. The selection covers different fields – housing, work, health, education, culture etc. – and enhances the relations between a variety of commissioning bodies (public, private, associative, civic, etc.)
and architecture, which plays an active part in a process of participation and ever greater public involvement. At the end of this narrative, the exhibition circuit opens with a display of
photographs that give visible form to the idea of the common good in Italy. After reflection on the theme and the encounter between architecture and the common good, the exhibition divides into an experiment in the field and a clear call to action. The Italian pavilion will present 5 original projects for 5 completed works assigned to as many national associations committed to the struggle against marginalization in outer city areas in different parts of Italy. These are 5 artifacts that will be customized in a joint project between designers and associations. They will bring quality, beauty and rights where these are now absent or defective in an overall project of social subsidiarity. They will be embedded in real situations, in places where they can reveal their usefulness by helping improve the quality of life for people while regenerating urban spaces. The projects will supply instruments for use in outer cities and blighted districts: aids to social improvement, centers for appropriating collective space, models for nurturing and developing human and environmental resources, civic supports to accompany public regeneration policies. The associations involved in the project will each create a structure for monitoring the environment and raising environmental awareness: a mobile clinic and cultural mediation center; a permanent center for education in coexistence and active citizenship through play and sport; a social space for adults and children; a point for distributing information about culture, libraries and leisure activities; a social center, located in a building seized from the mafia, open for public discussions and other activities. To make these actions effective, the structures will be financed by private sponsors and will feature in a civic crowdfunding campaign. This will be officially launched, on a specially designed platform, at the opening of the exhibition. The exhibition installation will be low cost, giving simple answers to complex questions, seeking to eliminate the superfluous and creating added value. In this way it will cut costs while increasing efficiency and virtuous reuse, on the principle of low cost/high social value. The catalogue and other media that recount the curatorial project will use original and immediate methods of communication. Furthermore, three training workshops will be held on the subject of social architecture.

«We want an architecture that is a driving force for new visions, a powerful medium of communication, an instrument by which the many urban peripheries will lay claim to rights, progress, opportunities and inclusion.” TAMassociati


Active in Social Design internationally since the last millennium, TAMassociati combines a civil and professional commitment, working in sustainable architecture, urban planning, landscape design, participatory and educational processes, graphic design and social communication. The office has won widespread recognition and numerous prizes: in 2013 it received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the excellence represented by the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, the international Ius-Capocchin prize for construction of the world’s most sustainable pediatric hospital (Port Sudan) and the Curry Stone Design Prize for the overall sustainability (social and environmental) of recent projects built in different parts of the world. In 2014 the practice
won the Zumtobel Group Award for innovation and sustainability represented by the pediatric hospital it built in Sudan (Port Sudan). It was named Italian Architect of the year for 2014 “for its ability to enhance the ethical dimension of the profession.” It is the curatorial team of the Italian Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

TAMassociati has displayed its works at numerous exhibitions and international events, including Architecture is Life at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, 2014; Five Projects for a Sustainable World, Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris, 2014; AFRITECTURE – Building Social Change at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, 2013; the Triennale di Architettura in Milan, 2012; International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, 2012 and 2010 editions. Currently TAMassociati is working in Uganda, Senegal, Italy and Afghanistan. It has offices in Venice, Bologna, Trieste and Paris.

Massimo Lepore
Raul Pantaleo
Simone Sfriso

with: Laura Candelpergher, Annamaria Draghetti, Elisabetta Facchinetti, Marta Gerardi, Emanuela Not, Enrico Vianello
collaborators: Oliviero Blasetti, Milena D’Acunto, Valentina Milan