Preview of the schedule for the 16th Venice Architecture Biennial
Of walls, islands and abodes
16. May 2018 | Words: Bettina Krause
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 15 seconds
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, curatrices of the 16th Architecture Biennial, had called for free spaces in the public sphere to be reconquered by architectural means, and many of the country pavilion coordinators have taken up their call. Preview of the schedule available to visitors to the Venice Biennial alongside the main Freespace exhibition.
With Unbuilding Walls the German entry by Graft Architects and Marianne Birthler responds to current debate about nations, protectionism and demarcation. It addresses not only the former intra-German border but also the implications of the walls that still separate people and countries today.
The three practices LAAC, Henke Schreieck and Sagmeister & Walsh have devised a spatial installation entitled “Thoughts Form Matter” for the Austrian Pavilion that promises to be conceptually and materially multi-faceted, a site of dynamic encounter between inside and out, the vertical and the horizontal as well as between the Pavilion’s period features and present-day architectural and design idioms.
The public can go on a “house tour” in the Swiss Pavilion under the title “Svizzera 240”. This focuses on unfurnished interiors in contemporary housing. A sequence of interior scenarios to varying scales joins up to form a labyrinthine assemblage of modern patterns of residence that turns the traditional format for architecture exhibitions on its head.
“Island” is the name of the British entry by Caruso St. John Architects, who have joined with artist Marcus Taylor to erect a new “free space” on the roof of the Pavilion. There is no exhibition in the actual Pavilion, which merely serves as a platform for lectures, performances, films, architectural discussion and debate on the issue of “free space”.
The Dutch Pavilion is entitled “WORK, BODY, LEISURE” and addresses current changes in working conditions and the work ethos as well as with how these impact on people. The project simultaneously seeks answers to ongoing processes of automisation in the form of new architectural solutions.
Turkey’s Pavilion takes up the “Freespace” topic by providing an open space in the Sale d’Armi (Arsenal) as a participative platform for creative encounters, workshops and cooperative ventures. Here, 122 international Architecture students reflect upon fundamental questions raised by the event under the title “Vardiya” (Layers). Why and for whom, they ask, does the Biennial exist and what does the world’s most important architectural event actually achieve?
“Happenstance” is the title of the Scottish entry, which allows a free space to take shape in the garden of the Palazzo Zenobio as an “active archive” (Living Library of Ideas) in which artists and architects playfully reflect upon and demand repossession of the value of free spaces.
Pavilion of the Vatican
This is the first time the Vatican has been represented with an entry in Venice. Ten prominent architects – including Foster + Partners, Eduardo Souto de Moura and Francesco Cellini – each design chapels of their own that are being built on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore opposite the Giardini.
The “Josef Albers in Mexico” exhibition is running in the Guggenheim Museum Venice until 3 September. It investigates Albers’ interest in geometrical and formal elements as well as the influence on his work of archaeological sites and monuments in Mexico. The exhibition “1948: The Biennale of Peggy Guggenheim” (until 25 November) pays homage to the Peggy Guggenheim Biennial of 1948, which is recreated in the form of documents, photographs, letters and a three-dimensional model of the Pavilion.
Victoria & Albert Museum in Venice | Robin Hood Gardens
London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is displaying an original part of the Robin Hood Gardens – a prominent, recently demolished specimen of brutalist architecture by Alison and Peter Smithson –at the Biennial. The Museum had a three-storey section of the residential structure weighing several tonnes shipped from London to Venice and is sure to further fan the debate on housing today with its aid.
The “Salon Swiss” soirées being held on 24 May, 13 and 15 September, 4 and 6 October and 22 and 24 November in the Palazzo Trevisan at Dorsoduro provides an opportunity to exchange notes on architecture in stimulating surroundings. Included is a cultural experience in the form of either a concert, lecture or performance that serves as a common point of departure for reflections on the scope open to architecture im the 21st century.
FSB again invites those visiting the Biennial to the Points of Contact meeting point right by the Grand Canal. The historical Palazzo Contarini Polignac will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day from 24-28 May. There is more on this at the Points of Contact website.
The 16th Architecture Biennial in Venice runs from Saturday, 26 May, to Sunday, 25 November, 2018. The main “Freespace” exhibition and the country pavilions in the Giardini and Arsenale will open every day except Monday from 10 a.m.to 6 p.m.