The French Institute and the Directorate-General for Heritage of the Ministry of Culture and Communication have entrusted the curation of the French Pavilion of the next International Exhibition of Architecture in Venice to architect and urban planner Yves Lion.

For its thirteenth edition, the Venice Architecture Biennale is under the general direction of the British architect David Chipperfield. The theme is: Common Ground.

Yves Lion will present this theme in the French Pavilion and will propose a reflection based on the major projects, their transformation and their role in the constitution of cities. He will develop his subject from the study of a territory of Eastern Paris, a real laboratory of the metropolis. The national school of architecture of the city and territories of Marne-la-Vallée will be associated with its approach.

'The large estates, which are being largely repaired, must be at the origin of a radical transformation of the territories that house them, thus ensuring a major role in the creation of 'real cities'. What can architecture do to reposition them in the metropolis? This question of transformation, we will address it from a territory of 300 to 400,000 inhabitants east of Paris, today not (re)known except for its few stigmatized cities. The Biennale is an opportunity to reveal to visitors this French and European city, to show its potential, its landscape, its human wealth, and to make it a major place of the Paris region...» - Yves Lion

Born in Casablanca in 1945, Yves Lion is an architect-urban planner and teacher. It participates in the emergence of an «urban architecture» since the creation of its agency in 1974, with nearly 6,000 social or private housing to date. Activist of the city, he carries out urban projects in many territories in France (la Plaine Saint-Denis, the Neuhof district in Strasbourg, the Mediterranean city in Marseille, the Masséna-Bruneseau district in Paris Rive Gauche, the reconstruction of the Villeneuve de Grenoble) as well as abroad, and collaborates in many international consultations (Antwerp, Basel, Berlin, Beirut, Casablanca, Tetouan, Tokyo, Seoul, etc.). With the Descartes group, he participated in the Greater Paris consultation in 2009. Its achievements, including public facilities, are marked by numerous awards (Special mention silver square 1983 for the Draguignan Courthouse, silver square 1989 for the Franco-American Museum in Blérancourt, and 2003 for the French Embassy in Beirut). Grand Prix de l'urbanisme 2007, Yves Lion has also held the position of Vice-President of the Grenelle Group of Climate and Energy of the Environment and is professor at the National School of Architecture of the city and territories of Marne-la-Vallée, which he founded with a group of teachers and ran from 1997 to 2001.

This year, 41 countries will participate to this major event, with, for the first time, the presence of Kosovo, Kuwait and Peru.