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The Not for Sale! exhibit, organized by Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA), at the Biennale Archittetura 2023

The Canada Council for the Arts is proud to support Canada’s participation in the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

From May 20 to November 26, 2023, the Not for Sale! exhibition will be open to the public at the Canada Pavilion, where it will draw attention and encourage dialogue on potential solutions to a range of challenges caused, and/or aggravated, by the housing crisis in Canada.

Read the Press Release

Watch video interviews about Canada’s entry, by Marie-Espérance Cerda

A red winged lion appears in the upper left with the words “La Biennale di Venezia” written inside a red box underneath. To the right are the words “18. Mostra Internationale di Architettura, Partecipazioni Nazionali”.

Official Entry from Canada: Not for Sale!

Not for Sale! is an architectural activist campaign for non-alienated housing.

Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA) have transformed the Canada Pavilion in the Giardini into a campaign headquarters for equitable housing that rejects this concept of property and the financialized form of architecture that it implies. To address these issues, they will work with interdisciplinary and geographically dispersed teams comprised of activist organizations, advocates for non-alienated housing, and architects. They will collaborate to develop demands and create architectural projects to address housing alienation, presenting bold visions for equitable and deeply affordable housing in Canada. The AAHA goal is to mobilize all Canadians to join the call for safer, healthier, and more equitable housing.

Aerial perspective of the Not for Sale! headquarters within the Canada Pavilion floorplan, Illustration by AAHA

“The presentation of the AAHA collective’s Not For Sale! exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia highlights crucial issues related to affordable housing access in Canada. It reminds us that architecture is an art and practice that can choose to engage in concrete dialogue with social movements and by doing so contribute to the advent of a better world. The analyses, ideas and proposals that will be presented and developed in Venice by AAHA are part of an international drive for just and sustainable human development as an alternative to the greed, plunder, and exclusion that globalization promotes. Art and architecture are once again called to the bedside of a society that is suffering from destructive drifts and I am convinced that this is a source of hope and comfort that we all need.” 
– Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts (2014–23)

“We believe that the roots of the housing crisis lie in the capitalist and colonialist dispossession of people from their land and homes. In Canada, this started with the appropriation of land from Indigenous peoples and the transformation of homes into commodities, objects of real estate speculation rather than places defined by deep community and cultural ties. We are witnessing the consequences of dispossession today. We are fighting for a system of housing that is fairer; we are showcasing not only the fundamental aspects of the housing crisis but also proposals for positive change--ways of legislating, financing, and designing that empower communities. We hope that the projects we show in Venice and our campaign at large will educate and inspire not only Canadians but people all over the globe impacted by the housing crisis.” 
– Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA) collective

About Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA)

The collective Architects Against Housing Alienation (AAHA) was formed and came together to communally shape a grassroots architectural movement founded on shared principles and intentions to put an end to housing alienation. Through the Not for Sale! exhibition and campaign, the collective aspires to inspire architects, activists, and advocates to join a growing movement that will make housing more equitable and accessible for everyone.


From top left to bottom right: Adrian Blackwell, David Fortin, Matthew Soules, Sara Stevens, Patrick Stewart, Tijana Vujosevic
From top left to bottom right:
Adrian Blackwell, David Fortin, Matthew Soules, Sara Stevens, Patrick Stewart, Tijana Vujosevic

Adrian Blackwell is an artist, designer, theorist, and educator, whose work explores the relationship between physical spaces and political economic forces. His art and design have been exhibited across Canada, in the United States, and internationally at the Shenzhen and Chengdu Biennales, Shanghai Urban Space Art Season, the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the Toronto Biennial of Art. In 2022 Adrian and David Fortin co-edited issue 12/13 of the journal Scapegoat–c\a\n\a\d\a: delineating nation state capitalism. He has taught architecture and urbanism at Chongqing, Michigan, Toronto, and Harvard Universities and is currently an associate professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.

David Fortin is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario and a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) Indigenous Task Force that seeks ‘ways to foster and promote indigenous design in Canada’. From 2018–2019, he coordinated a community-led housing design project with the National Research Council for remote northern communities and has also participated as a mentor and architect for the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative administered by Indigenous Services Canada. David is a professional architect who runs a small architectural office working primarily with Métis and First Nations communities across Canada. He is currently a professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture.

Matthew Soules is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and the founder of Matthew Soules Architecture. Matthew’s research focuses on contemporary capitalism and architecture. His latest book, Icebergs, Zombies, and the Ultra Thin: Architecture and Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century, examines the rise of finance capitalism and its relationship with architecture. Matthew’s work has been funded by numerous organizations, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the British Columbia Arts Council, as well as receiving a wide range of awards, such as the AIA/ACSA Housing Design Education Award in 2012. He has been visiting faculty at Harvard University and SCI-Arc.

Sara Stevens is an architectural and urban historian. She is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Her research focuses on real estate developers of the twentieth century, exploring the cultural economy of architectural practice, finance, and expertise in Canada and the United States. Her book, Developing Expertise: Architecture and Real Estate in Metropolitan, studies real estate development in twentieth century American cities, and how developers, investors, and architects worked together to build subdivisions and superblocks, cul-de-sacs, and towers. Sara was awarded a 2019 Research Fellowship with the Canadian Centre for Architecture that supports her second book project, titled Building Capital.

Patrick Stewart is a member of the Killerwhale House of Daaxan of the Nisga’a Nation. He is an award-winning architect with 26 years of architectural experience. Patrick was the first architect of First Nations ancestry to own and operate an architectural firm in British Columbia and elected as President of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia. Patrick is founding Chair of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Indigenous Task Force, Co-Chair of the RAIC Truth and Reconciliation Task Force and Chair of the Provincial Aboriginal Homelessness Committee in BC. He has also been a mentor for the Indigenous Homes Innovation Initiative administered by Indigenous Services Canada as a different way to develop, design and fund projects with Indigenous communities.

Tijana Vujosevic is assistant professor at the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Tijana is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the MIT Presidential Fellowship, Gerda Henkel Foundation PhD Fellowship, American Association of University Women International Fellowship, and, more recently, a two-year Fellowship with the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Strasbourg. Recently, MOMA re-published her 2013 essay on Soviet 1930s bathhouses on its site as essential reading during the pandemic. Tijana’s book on communist domesticity was reviewed in nine scholarly journals and was on Owen Hatherley’s list of most important books of 2017 in the Architectural Review.


Chris Lee (Graphic Designer); Ali S. Qadeer (Web Designer); Vincent Tao (Campaign Strategist); Marie-Espérance Cerda (Film Producer and Editor); Cory Zurell (Structural Engineer); Ryan Sudds (Documentary filmmaker); Tamara Andruszkiewicz (Project Logistics)

Partners and Sponsors

The presentation of Not for Sale! is made possible by the support of School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of British Columbia; the University of Waterloo School of Architecture; the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada; the Ontario Association of Architects; and the Architecture Foundation of British Columbia.


A Better Tent City Waterloo Region; Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia; Alex Wilson, University of Saskatchewan; At Home in the North; Atelier Big City; Bâtir son quartier; Blackwell; Canadian Cohousing Network; Centre d’écologie urbaine de Montréal (CEUM); Comité logement Ville-Marie; CP Planning; David T Fortin Architect Inc.; FBM architecture • interior design • planning; Gentrification Tax Action; Grounded Architecture Inc.; Haeccity Studio Architecture; Idle No More; Interloge; Ipek Türeli, McGill University; Katlia Lafferty, National Indigenous Housing Network; Keele Eglinton Residents; L’OEUF Architecture; Lancelot Coar, University of Manitoba; LGA Architectural Partners; Luugigyoo, Patrick R. Stewart Architect; Maison du développement durable; Maison du Savoir et de la Littérature; Navigator Street Outreach Program; Nisga’a Nation; One House Many Nations; Ouri Scott, Urban Arts Architecture Inc.; Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust; Sarah Silva, Hiy̓ám̓ Housing; SOCA (Studio of Contemporary Architecture); SOLO Architecture; SvN Architects + Planners; Sylvia McAdam, Windsor University; Table de concertation du Faubourg Saint-Laurent; This Should Be Housing; Toronto Tiny Shelters; tuf lab; Xalek/Sekyu Siyam Chief Ian Campbell, Skwxwu7mesh Uxwumixw, Squamish Nation.

About the Venice Biennale of Architecture 

The Venice Biennale is, and has been, one of the most important cultural institutions in the world for over 120 years. The International Architecture Exhibition consists of a central exhibition with over 100 international participants, 60 national pavilions, and collateral events throughout the city. It is a prestigious exhibition and international platform that engages critical conversations about contemporary architecture that attracts 300,000 visitors annually - among them architects, artists, designers, critics, politicians, students, and cultural leaders from around the world.

A red spiral expanding upwards

About the Commissioner, the Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities.

The Canada Council has proudly supported Canada’s representation at the Venice Biennale for many years. Continuing its commitment to enhance the presence and profile of Canadian artists and arts professionals abroad, the Canada Council, as Commissioner, oversees Canada’s official participation and contributes $500,000 towards the exhibition production.

Past Exhibitions

2021 Impostor Cities, T B A / Thomas Balaban Architect

2018  UNCEDED, Douglas Cardinal Architect

2016  Extraction, Opsys

2014  Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15, Lateral Office

2012  Migrating Landscape, 5468796 Architecture + Jae Sung Chon

2010  Hylozoic Ground, Philip Beesley Architect Inc.

2008  41° to 66°: Architecture in Canada – Region, Culture, Tectonics, Cambridge Galleries

2006  SweaterLodge, Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design

2004  Found Objects, Saucier & Perrotte Architectes

2002  Next Memory City - Toronto: Venice - Michael Awad, Eve Egoyan and David Rokeby, Inter Access: Electronic Media Arts Centre and Alphabet City

2000  Melvin Charney’s UN DICTIONNAIRE..., Canadian Centre for Architecture

The selection committee for the 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture is comprised of the following members:

Brigitte Shim, FRAIC, CM, RCA, Hon. FAIA, OAA, Architect, Principal, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects (Toronto) ǀ Professor, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto (Toronto)

Neeraj Bhatia, RA, OAA, SM.Arch, B.Arch, B.E.S, Architect and Urban Designer, Principal, THE OPEN WORKSHOP (Toronto and San Francisco) ǀ Associate Professor, California College of the Arts (San Francisco)

Annie Lebel, MOAQ, LEED Green Associate, Architect, Principal, in situ atelier d’architecture (Montreal) ǀ Lead of Practical Training, Faculty of Environmental Design, Université de Montréal (Montreal)

Alison Brooks, RIBA, FRSA, RDI, Doc Eng (hon causa), Architect, Principal and Creative Director, Alison Brooks Architects (London, UK) ǀ Visiting Professor, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (Spain) and Loughborough University School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering (UK)

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