It’s About Time, the 10th Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Looks at the Past and Future 50 years of Climate Change

It’s About Time, the 10th edition of the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale, is a seven-week-long manifestation showing realistic courses toward a livable future at a time when the consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent. Half a century ago, the consequences of climate change were predicted in The Limits of Growth report from 1972. This outlines the possible consequences of an exponential increase in population, agricultural production, and resource extraction. 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.

It’s About Time, the 10th Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Looks at the Past and Future 50 years of Climate Change - Image 2 of 5It’s About Time, the 10th Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Looks at the Past and Future 50 years of Climate Change - Image 3 of 5It’s About Time, the 10th Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Looks at the Past and Future 50 years of Climate Change - Image 4 of 5It’s About Time, the 10th Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Looks at the Past and Future 50 years of Climate Change - Image 5 of 5+ 5

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.

It’s About Time, the 10th Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Looks at the Past and Future 50 years of Climate Change - Image 5 of 5
© Jacqueline Fuijkschot

While the prospect often seems bleak, the Biennale hopes to show real, hopeful possibilities of a new, more radical, course toward a livable future. The projects and practices gathered for this event offer ambitious, yet widely appliable solutions rooted in long-term research. They have been developed in close collaboration with local actors, take the special aspect of socioecological issues as their starting point, and use time as a tool in the design process.


Related Article

Breaking the Dead Paradigm For Design Exhibitions


The main exhibition showcases the work of 50 designers, architects, and researchers who are approaching issues regarding the future of the planet in an inspiring way. The exhibition identified three design attitudes: 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.

It’s About Time, the 10th Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Looks at the Past and Future 50 years of Climate Change - Image 4 of 5
© Jacqueline Fuijkschot

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.

It’s About Time, the 10th Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Looks at the Past and Future 50 years of Climate Change - Image 3 of 5
© Jacqueline Fuijkschot