Sheffield in Venice
If Sheffield is representative of anything, it is of a post-industrial regional city seeking to regain its footing. There are many such in the world, hence its selection to represent the UK at the biennale, where the theme is the relationship between urban architecture and social dynamics.
Jim Dale, a design lecturer who has lived in and around the city since the age of four in the 1970s, says physically Sheffield is a very strange city.
"It feels the need to tear itself down and rebuild itself every couple of decades. The new buildings that have come in are great, but knowing Sheffield's record, what will we think about them in 20 or 30 years when something else is in fashion?
"But it's funny that the iconic carbuncles that have fallen from favour - the egg box, the wedding cake [a circular 1970s register office] - all had rather affectionate names. That's Sheffield humour for you."