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Success for the Huussi Exhibition at This Year’s Venice Biennale of Architecture

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The six-month-long 18th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale recently closed. The Pavilion of Finland’s exhibition Huussi – Imagining the future history of sanitation received record media attention and far exceeded visitor expectations, with more than 140,000 people visiting the exhibition over six months.

The main theme of the exhibition was water conservation and nutrient recycling, and its centrepiece was an architecturally interesting dry-toilet installation made from recycled materials using modern wood technology, with all the necessary functional components: a composting refuse container, as well as a handbasin and a custom-made toilet seat top with a box for cover material. The key message was the potential of new sanitation systems and technologies in urban environments and at an urban scale. It was conveyed through three video pieces, with the main piece being a fictional documentary, or mocumentary, featuring interviews with future researchers.

Arvinius + Orfeus published the book Death to the flushing toilet in conjunction with the exhibition. Edited by Arja Renell and with graphic design by Antero Jokinen, it contains expert articles on the history of sanitation, nutrient recycling, and new sanitation technologies, among others. During the six months of the exhibition, the book sold out several times in the Biennale bookshops.

The theme of the exhibition also caught the media’s attention. Pieces based on in-depth interviews were published by, among others, Bloomberg CityLab, Fast Company, and Monocle’s The Urbanist podcast. Other key media that covered the exhibition include The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, Dezeen, Domus, El Pais, The Telegraph, Wallpaper and Elle Decor.

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