DOWN TO EARTH, the 9th edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, the IABR, is a biennale in times of pandemic. It is an anti-biennale, averse to peak hour tendencies, with a program that will incrementally unfold over the next ten months, until the summer of 2021, in a series of exhibitions and activities, their form and planning adapted to the challenging circumstances.

DOWN TO EARTH will start on 19 September with a first exhibition, DROUGHT IN THE DELTA. The second exhibition, WHOSE ENERGY IS IT, ANYWAY?, will open on 30 October. Both exhibitions will take place in the IABR’s new home, the Keilezaal, in the Merwe-Vierhavens District in Rotterdam.

artist impression of the animation of Droogte in de Delta in the Keilezaal


IABR director and DOWN TO EARTH lead curator George Brugmans: ‘Without wishing to detract from the seriousness of the current pandemic, these two exhibitions show that the IABR is on point with regard to what we see as today’s most pressing challenge: that of climate change. Insidiously, yet almost daily, it confronts us with new challenges and their consequences. Take the Netherlands. After three extremely dry summers in a row, the Dutch suddenly realize that freshwater shortages are imminent and that we have to re-design our delta. And we know we have to stop using natural gas in our homes. However, we don’t really know what to do to meet these challenges in a way that keeps everyone on board and ensures that people will get to co-own the transition rather than just be presented with the bill. These are issues that our research has been focusing on.’

DROUGHT IN THE DELTA and WHOSE ENERGY IS IT, ANYWAY? present the results of research by design carried out over the past two years by the IABR and its many partners. As the exhibitions include concrete proposals and striking imaginations of practical solutions, the IABR, as a knowledge institute and cultural platform, purposefully contributes to real change toward more sustainable cities.

You can download the full press release at the bottom of this page