Ireland’s participation in the 11th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale, this autumn, was announced by Minister for the Arts Martin Cullen yesterday. Nine Irish architectural practices are heading to the exhibition, starting on September 14th, with projects that will explore the central role of space in our society and show aspects of Irish politics, society and culture. It will include films on the dismantling of the Maze prison, by Dara McGrath and Robinson McIllwaine, and a study of how Irish church buildings have changed since medieval times, by Gerry Cahill Architects. “Buildings speak of us as a society and define us,” said the Minister, promising that the new Abbey Theatre would “go ahead in my time”. As well as showing the world a bit about Irish society, the “Lives of Spaces” exhibition gives Irish architects a rare enough chance to show their work on a world stage and most of the nine practices are basing their projects, which comprise films, on their own built work, or on family homes.