Starting May 20, Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA), a collective of architects, students, researchers and activists, will bring Canada’s housing crisis to the global stage at the 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture. As the country’s representative to the world’s biggest architecture festival, AAHA’s Not For Sale! exhibit shines a light on the need for safe, equitable and affordable housing in Canada to hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe. Using an interactive display, live workshops and guided tours, the installation inside the Canadian pavilion serves as the heart of an activist campaign, presenting 10 key housing demands and proposed strategies for different levels of government in Canada.
Fifteen students from UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA) are occupying this space as part of a UBC study abroad studio course. “SALA students have a unique opportunity while in Venice to participate in an international conversation about contemporary questions in architecture, and to engage and co-develop the work of the Canada-based teams to bring the campaign back to Canada,” said Dr. Sara Stevens, AAHA curator and associate professor at SALA.
“Our argument against housing alienation is very similar to the statement ‘Not for Sale!’ ‘Not for Sale!’ — it’s just a simpler way of putting it,” noted AAHA curator Adrian Blackwell, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.
AAHA’s Not For Sale! presents different Indigenous voices, as well as activists, advocates and architects from across Canada — creating multiple collaborators for change. With the heart of their campaign work space now located inside the Canada Pavilion, students have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host the exhibition and engage with Biennale attendees from around the world — all while earning course credit. “Every day we get to walk through a fascinating city, meet incredible architects from all over the world and further the dialogue and research about how to solve the housing crisis in Canada,” said Anaïs Trembling, a master of architecture student and member of the AAHA social media team.
Visit the Faculty of Applied Science website to learn more.
Through Strategy 16: Public Relevance, UBC is working to align its efforts more closely with priority issues in British Columbia and beyond through dialogue and knowledge exchange.