VENICE (AFP) - Canadian-American star architect Frank Gehry may hold top billing at the 11th Venice Biennale of architecture when he receives the Golden Lion award for his career later this week. But the man behind the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, is unlikely to eclipse new presentations offered up by the exhibition which opened Sunday morning in Italy. Under this year's theme of "Out There: Architecture Beyond Building," around 20 teams of architects from around the world are displaying designs aimed at changing perceptions of their industry. The exhibition's organisers deliberately chose an ambiguous title to encourage people to look differently at a building's purpose. "Architecture is not about the building per se," said the event's director Aaron Betsky. Instead it is concerned with "the way we think or talk about it," he stated. Gehry, 79, who won plaudits for creating the curvy, titanium-clad Guggenheim , which is considered a prime example of deconstructionism, will receive the Golden Lion Saturday. But the exhibition's focus will rest on the hundreds of architects from 56 different countries, whose designs are intended to provoke and inspire. Among those showcasing their work are English-Iraqi Zaha Hadid, who has designed a structure that is both a home and a piece of furniture. Under their plan to "release the plumbing," Croatian designers Penezic and Rogina present a kitchen and bathroom that are separated only by visible pipes. Meanwhile, Russian Totan Kuzemdaev is unveiling a grassland yurt (a tent-like dwelling of the Mongol and Turkic peoples of central Asia). Made with traditional materials, its adds a garage and car parked inside. Different countries have also been tasked with "questioning reality," with the United States concentrating on urban scenery, France examining public space and Germany and Denmark promoting ecology. For Danish architect Kolja Nielsen, promoting the environment is the key task facing his profession. Even though people may think about switching off a light when they leave a room, he believes "we have to translate words into actions. Enduring development is a necessary step." At first glance the Danish pavilion may look austere, but its press-room design with Internet posts and photos of landscape images dotted about is intended to tap into everyday issues such as transport, farming and culture. "Architecture is surrounded by many subjects. We need all this information when we construct something," Nielsen said. Visitors can connect to Internet sites, whose addresses are written on the walls along with posters detailing information on various projects, such as the planting of orchards in Tanzania's capital Dar es Salaam. Similarly, a young Chinese team has chosen to highlight human fraility in light of the May 12, 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan, which left over 87,000 people dead or missing. Its "Paper-Brick House," designed by architects and students, offers a building in which to live, meet up and read in. Built with especially large cardboard boxes and waterproof bricks, the house has two floors and a small staircase. It is then placed on dozens of gravel-filled bags to absorb any shocks from a possible earthquake. The Venice Biennale exhibition is being held from September 14 to November 23 and comprises 12 contemporary art events as well conferences, work studios, book signings and art exhibitions.