The 16th International Architecture Exhibition, entitled “Freespace”, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara and organized by Paolo Baratta, took place from May 26 to November 25, 2018. The Theme this year shows the International Architecture Exhibition focuses on the question of space, with the aim of promoting the “desire” of architecture, the quality of space, open and free space.
The fundamental parameter of reference is indicated with great clarity, the desire to create Freespace can become the specific individual characteristic of each individual project.To understand architecture to be “thinking applied to the space where we live, that we inhabit”, and offer examples, teachings, and topics of discussion.
The discovered invention and creativity at the micro and macro scales historic buildings liberated by the intelligence of the architects; forgotten buildings re-visited and brought to life; transformative typologies of habitation; infrastructural needs translated into public and civic facilities.
A key component in attending to the continuity of tradition in architecture is the practice of teaching. Many of the invited practitioners are actively engaged in teaching. The world of making and building merges with the imaginative world that is highlighted within the Exhibition.
The Exhibition FREESPACE develop from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale, and include 71 participants. Gathered in two Special Sections: the first, numbering 16 participants, is titled Close Encounter, meetings with remarkable projects and will present works that originate in a reflection on well-known buildings of the past; the second, which counts 13 participants and is titled The Practice of Teaching, will collect projects developed as part of teaching experiences.
The Exhibition also includes 63 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. 6 countries are participating in the Biennale Architettura for the first time: Antigua & Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Pakistan, and the Holy See (with its own pavilion located on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore).
The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, sponsored and promoted by the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane, is curated by Mario Cucinella and titled Arcipelago Italia.
Architects from all over the world, joined by the special sections Close Encounter and The Practice of Teaching, make responses to the Manifesto by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, in order to reveal, to lay bare, the freespace ingredient embedded in their work.
The natural history of Churchill college
The work of 6a is a litany of disciplined materials, transformations of existing structures, weavings of new and old, always inventive, always sensual. Their South London Gallery exposes structure, controls light, folds space and absorbs landscape. The 18th-century building, which houses the Contemporary Art Exhibition Centre Raven Row, has been awakened through their skillful understanding of history and subsequent layering. Bringing materials to life seems to be a central ingredient of their work: timber in various forms; a green oak staircase of the Belvedere Zollikon enabling views across Lake Zurich; the concrete of Jürgen Teller’s Photographic Studio; the cast-iron facade of Paul Smith’s Albemarle Street store. A sumac and a eucalyptus tree are active participants in their space-making, as a pair of 1830’s cottages are modified.
For this Biennale Architettura, 6a focus on their student residence for Churchill College, University Cambridge, where un-treated, reclaimed oak forms the new ‘bark’ of the building, where new oak contrasts with old, adding refinement. The newly-planted birch forest in the courtyard, resonates with the Greek Proverb embedded in the FREESPACE manifesto.
Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza, Museo-Fundación Oteiza, Alzuza, Spain
A2 ARCHITECTS is the outcome of an iterative exploration of the shared work of architect Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza and sculptor Jorge Oteiza. The proposal is an abstracted representation of the Fundación Oteiza in Alzuza, Navarra, Spain. A fundamentally spatial and energetic artefact that has darkness and mystery at its core.This circulatory or in-between space of the Foundation building: indirect light and ramped circulation; central darkness of the main hall; and inclined roof-lit galleries above. To make this manifest, an ‘external dark space’ within an inside layered space to explore the gap between, thickness, depth and intimacy.
Oteiza sets out to make these sharp and silent, vigilant and empty. In their successive states they can be seen to mutate with absolute autonomy, like an animate being. These works are living artefacts; protective and defensive instruments. With controls light to form atmosphere; how he sets up relationships with Oteiza’s work and how he guides movement.
Francisco Aires Mateus, Manuel Aires Mateus
The island of Laputa (Gulliver’s Travels) suggesting the image of the Mateus Atelier as a floating island inhabited by intellectuals obsessed by mathematics, astronomy, music and technology. The built work of Aires Mateus manifests a refinement of thought, of form, of architectural language. The work is very much grounded in reality, in real issues, in real places, in the use of real materials with respect and sensitivity. Their sketches describe what the Smithsons called the “charged void”, the in-between spaces where anything can happen as in their museum of photography and applied arts in Lausanne.
All the sketches showed the scale of a human being, either as a spectator or as an inhabitant. This reflects their ethical belief that “architecture works principally for life”. The installation made with their students they describe as “a sensitive reflection, poetic and mathematical, about space”. Embedded in the love of the physicality and materiality of architecture, this space produced by their students exerts a poetic purity and presence so appropriate in the wonderful space of the Artiglierie.
Alison Brooks Architects
When Alison Brooks speaks about architecture, she uses terms including generosity, civic-ness, the quest for authenticity and beauty. She sees beauty as objective, saying that it speaks to the senses. It is an expression of care, an example of craft and the value of citizenship. In this Biennale Architettura exploring freespace, she presents ways of experiencing “dwelling space as civic infrastructure that enables human potential”, clustering elements to heighten experiences, using timber as the binding, versatile material.
Referring to the benign influence of beauty, she confirms that moments of beauty offer safety, hope, attachment and identity. Beauty is a language that has been lost. She understands and interprets history and culture, materials and structure, spanning scales from the urban scale to the intimate. She takes on challenges. Diagnosing contemporary life so that change, modification and growth form part of her housing propositions, she sees housing as the most hard-working form of architecture. Aiming for generosity in volume and height, she advocates for 2.6 m high ceilings to ensure natural light, believing that if proportions are mean, then the expression will be mean. For her, proportion, craft and beauty are intertwined. Versatility in housing invents future possibilities of use.
Álvaro Siza’s exhibit is this very personal poetic response expresses the basis of the FREESPACE manifesto. A curved screen placed opposite a curved bench forms a gentle embrace, implies an enclosure, a niche reflecting the light and shadows throughout the day, with a piece of sculpture on which to contemplate in a moment of repose. There is also a sense of irony added with the placement of a ladder in the space, and in the title, Evasão, evasion, or escape. This imparts the value of freedom, the value of making space which encloses but does not trap the user, of making space which liberates the spirit.
This feeling of implying enclosure without defined boundaries is a quality inspirational in Álvaro Siza’s work; first experienced by us while standing under the cantilever of the Galician Centre of Contemporary Art in Santiago de Compostela, where space is held just enough to mark a space to stand, a space from which the surrounding context is framed and made more present.
Amateur Architecture Studio
How to ‘legalize’ spontaneously-built illegal structures in the city by means of design
Amateur Architecture Studio teach, test materials, build prototypes, change people’s opinions and seek to give people time to see another way to progress. This does not involve the obliteration of the past, but which finds a way to weave contemporary wishes with re-assessed crafts, valuing culture. Kenneth Frampton writes in the exhibition entitled The Architect’s Studio at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark: “Based in Hangzhou, Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu have witnessed first-hand the juggernaut of maximising Chinese modernisation from its impact on their own city. Three decades ago, Hangzhou had been expressly chosen by them as a desirable place in which to live and work, largely because of CP01 its venerable artistic traditions and its harmonious rapport with nature…”.
Amateur Architecture Studio brings Chinese landscape paintings to life and into life; they are enriched by them, observing that these paintings invite you to come in, to enter them spatially. Using pencils, not computers, they are guardians of place and atmosphere. ‘Found’ gaps within the evolving urban fabric of the village of Guashan provide Amateur Architecture Studio with the research opportunity to develop prototypes within tiny slivers of FREESPACE. Here, they intelligently manipulate space to provide the migrant worker and low-income earner with invention and considered dignity.
Andra Matin’s own house with its platforms of interweaving spaces, synthesises contemporary craft, merges modernity with a fluent understanding of spatial tradition. His work searches for ways to value and merge tradition into contemporary work. As an expression of humanity on this fragile planet, traditional building forms are evidence of imagination and invention.
With a population of over 265 million people, Indonesia has the 4th largest population in the world, of which over 55% of the population live in urban areas. Throughout this extensive archipelago, traditional construction has been a tried, tested and accepted method of enclosing daily life by building. Over long periods of time, it has responded to climate, beliefs, social norms and available materials. Andra Matin takes a distance of over 5,000 kilometres in the Indonesian archipelago from Sabang to Merauke – which are places positioned 6 degrees above and 8 degrees below the Equator – and presents research into the local architectural languages, which grew naturally in this tropical climate. This research reveals relationships to the ground, to the sky, to breezes, emphasising the versatility of human thought, traditions, material and technical skill that form these enclosures. It represents the wonder of human inventive skills.
Angela Deuber Architect
Exploring a theme of overriding the border between inside and outside, of dissolving boundaries, of being aware of integration and continuity of space and contexts, Angela Deuber uses drawing as the method of overlap, to merge the boundaries of traditional architectural drawings; a speck of white in the sea of colour becomes the anchored place for the project; site plans and site sections carve into landscape; plans and sections of buildings hover; three-dimensional drawings fuse plans and sections; large scale colour modifications refer to construction methods.
What Deuber calls Analytiques is a type of palimpsest, which merges and layers the varying scales of architectural drawing. In the school in Thal, Switzerland, Angela Deuber liberates space with structural clarity. The Cluer House on the Isle of Harris, Scotland modifies the stony, evocative landscape, claiming new territory. Distant views are captured between a new roof and attic landscape. “Being in this house is to be forgotten but perfectly secure and free” (Divisare). We would like the visitor to stop and search these panels and give each of them time, because as you search these drawings you learn to unravel the stories of the buildings they depict.
Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu
Unless Ever People – Caritas for Freespace
The project which de Vylder Vinck Taillieu present in this Biennale Architettura is CARITAS, the intervention in an old psychiatric clinic in Melle, Belgium, where originally each department had its own villa, forming a unique place united by its particular style of architecture. Two particular components of our manifesto resonate deeply with the work of architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu. The first is: “FREESPACE encourages reviewing ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world, of inventing solutions where architecture provides for the well-being and dignity of each citizen of this fragile planet”. The second is: “FREESPACE can be a space for opportunity, a democratic space, un-programmed and free for uses not yet conceived”.
Over the years, buildings were demolished, destroying the composition of this campus. A new director stopped the process of demolition, initiating an architectural competition. Luckily, it was won by de Vylder Vinck Taillieu and with their architectural intelligence, skill and humanity take the story of this place forward from that point. They asked a pivotal question: What do you do with a half-demolished building? The radical free strategic thinking employed by these architects lead to a completely unexpected and wonderful solution, where the past and the present, tactile materiality and ephemeral memory intertwine.
The Factory Floor
The group named “Assemble” represents values profoundly opposite to those of the current directions of property and planning and of the architects who serve them. Where high land values in southern England and other parts of the country are squeezing out most things to which a price cannot be attached, they champion the unquantifiable benefits of, in particular, human society, of people enjoying life together because it is better than doing it on their own.
They present a number of their projects: the 2015 Turner Prize winning Granby Four Streets, Liverpool; the Cineroleum; and Folly for a Flyover – a motorway undercroft in London, which forms a new public space. They re-think situations, they invent. Their exhibit, The Factory Floor, presented in the Sala Chini involves thousands of clay tiles, which creates a distinctive territory through material alone. Developed by Granby Workshop Liverpool, each tile captures a moment of chance in the act of making. After this Biennale Architettura, these unique tiles will be installed permanently in the garden at the V-A-C Foundation in Venice.
Atelier Peter Zumthor
Dreams and promises – Models of Atelier Peter Zumthor
Steeped in Heidegger, his thinking is fundamentally connected to the experience of place. For him, places and spaces are stored in our bodies and are the fertile ground and starting points of his work… “the thought process is not abstract, but works with spatial images. It has sensuous components”. His highly articulated haptic sense allows him to be in his future-imagined spaces, while simultaneously being in previous experiences. He invents spaces that he hopes someone “… will remember with pleasure…”.
In this Exhibition, Zumthor sets out a workshop of his models for us to enjoy, allowing us the opportunity to explore his own journey from thoughts and memories to actuality, to his spaces that nourish the soul. In a society that celebrates the inessential, architecture can put up a resistance, counteract the waste of forms and meanings, and speak its own language. I believe that the language of architecture is not a question of a specific style. Every building is built for a specific use in a specific place and for a specific society. My buildings try to answer the questions that emerge from these simple facts as precisely and critically as they can.
The house of Paros and the transmission of knowledge
Aurelio Galfetti made a film recording a wonderful lecture he gave to students and colleagues, using white chalk drawings on a blackboard, describing both his human values and his architectural philosophy. The lecture describes the design process for his house on a Greek island. Through his chalk sketches, he describes and weaves his earliest experiences of living in a deep valley in Switzerland, and his search for his dream site in an idealised landscape with a big horizon. The house forms a large collective space within the scale of the extended landscape.
Aurelio Galfetti has had a key role as professor, as head of school and as founder of the Accademia di architettura di Mendrisio, USI. His built work has had enormous influence within the culture of architecture and on us as young architects. Galfetti’s buildings describe his continuing belief in the necessary harmony between architecture, social infrastructure and the territory it occupies, both physical and cultural. The simplicity, generosity and openness of his style of presentation represents for us the epitome of how to communicate the true values of architecture. For us, this lecture brings together the creative imaginative energy of the practicing architect with the ability to fire the imagination and enthusiasm of students and colleagues.
Barclay & Crousse
The Presence of the Absence
The projects searching like archaeologists, they position contemporary architecture as the silent testimony of landscape, movement and materiality, as tender and abstract human enclosures in front of oceans and deserts with infinite space. When speak about building in Peru, it is possible to “nurture imperfection”, by which they mean that it is possible in Peru to harness local building methods in a way that liberates architecture and allows architects “a chance to wonder”, with limited resources, with the freedom to invent. When they observe the world, they speak about building in Europe, where the focus is on detailing, the illusion of control and efficiency.
Discussing their Museum of Sitio Julio C. Tello, the architects describe “the patina left by builders in the polished cement gives the museum a ceramic look that resembles the pre-Columbian ceramics that are exposed inside”, where a red-hued pozzolan cement merges the new building with the tones of the surrounding desert.
Bc Architects & Studies
The Act of Building
Modified earth, human labour and thought build a library in Muyinga, Burundi, Africa. It is an inclusive school for children with hearing disability. Beginning with deep research into its climate of intense sun and heavy rains, as well as studying culture and building techniques, a construction method with local involvement was developed. Compressed earth-block masonry and baked clay roof tiles respond to a simple structural system. Volume and simple cross ventilation gives comfort.
At an upper level, a hand-crafted sisal-rope hammock acts as an independent and inventive suspended world for the children. This is the type of thinking and making that is central to BC architects & studies’ method of architectural research: find the need; research a way of achieving which involves participation; encourage people to feel empowered by planning; imagining something new and making it real. Under the title The Act of Building, these action-based researchers present four projects using five methods to convey their strategies of investigation, the use of tools and the construction technique.
Bearth & Deplazes Architekten
Amurs – Microcosmi
This tiny exhibit located in the big heroic space of the Corderie. It raises the question of presence, intimacy and discovery in architecture. Bearth describes the two parts as practice (Amurs) and teaching (Microcosmi). What is also intriguing, is that the work of the professor, Microcosmi, exhibited in this tiny space, strong enough to survive the big landscape and the harsh climate of the Swiss mountains.
The duality of the structure is also intriguing. The world of the professor and the work of Bearth & Deplazes in one half of the little box, the world of the student in the other. The work of the students is a continuing exploration of ways of living, forms of habitation and the microcosm of intimate everyday life for which architecture is the framework. This exhibit celebrates both the separate and the interactive worlds of teacher and student. While connections are not obvious in terms of the work produced, what the visitor enjoys are the different energies of both. The shared qualities are more to do with curiosity, rigour, construction, materiality, space-making and synthesising. A ‘small cabin’ full of rich treasures to be discovered.
Benedetta Tagliabue – Miralles Tagliabue Embt
Making a new metro station in an eastern suburb of Paris, Tagliague describes the area as lacking identity. The new station and adjoining square are an opportunity to transform the grey and abandoned place into a colourful square, where the shapes of the pergola roof, based on the decorative patterns and colours of Africa, bring new life to the space. This pergola forms part of the Biennale Architettura, where the architect weaves meaning into repeated pattern, fusing handcraft with architecture, the personal and the general.
The natural wonders of the world are seen as sources of inspiration, woven into the work of this architect. By observed the movement of flocks of birds as they flew over the surrounding landscape. Drawings of these murmurations, the birds’ flight patterns, became the inspirational basis for their proposal, where movement, building and landscape fused.
Big-Bjarke Ingels Group
Big U: Humanhattan 2050
In collaboration with New York City, the BIG U proposal developed to protect Lower Manhattan from floodwater, storms, and the consequences of climate change. The project forms a ten mile ‘necklace’ around a low-lying area of Manhattan forming a protective system, a system that also provides locally-needed community amenities. The resilient, salt-tolerant trees and plants, positioned in the new public park add protection, while also providing pleasure for citizens in the newly, constructed areas for recreation.
The project inventive and thought-provoking, as well as providing much-needed infrastructural investment, capture a civic component with generosity. We hope that this project in New York can be inspirational to the many places around the world that have to deal with similar issues, either immediately or in the near future and that we can all benefit from their shared experiences. This wide-ranging team with interconnecting expertise are researching solutions to real problems, simultaneously provide future-proof, civic components.
Boyd Cody Architects
Eileen Gray, E-1027, Roquebrune & Tempe à Pailla, Castellar, Alpes Maritimes, France
This project is an exploration of the siting or grounding of two of Eileen Gray’s houses, E-1027 and the lesser known Tempe à Pailla. There is a contextual understanding demonstrated in the design of these two houses that further affirms Gray’s innate ability as an architect.
Two of original site drawings, one section and one plan, as the spatial templates for two large wall pieces, translating her exquisitely rendered lines into material space. Each house is absent from the studies; what remains is the ground or the FREESPACE that she manipulates for them. These models are not only representations, but when seen from another perspective and read at another scale, they become grounded spatial experiences in themselves.
Bucholz Mcevoy Architects
Frederick Law Olmsted, Delaware Park, Buffalo, USA
The underlying intent of Olmsted’s work in Buffalo references the placing of a City in a Park as opposed to Parks in a City. Nature is considered as a nourishing underlay to the city. It is also a foreground which is complex, multifaceted, revealing and choreographed, supporting living systems, offering spaces and places for engagement with nature-city, providing a structure for a future in sync with time, embodying change. Creating a rich palette of green civic places, diverse, democratic, egalitarian, formal and informal, greenways, pastoral landscapes, ceremonial spaces, vantage spaces, landscaped places supporting recreation and socialising, supporting the ideal of a healthy living city.
The proposal in its composition seeks to explore the qualities of Olmsted’s work in Buffalo through methods of crafting, joining, weaving, layering, transforming and expressing some of the spatial, haptic and experiential qualities of Olmsted’s landscapes. Collaborating with natural systems, calibrating the passage of time, witnessing stories of the city over time, embodying cultural memories, adapting to new patterns of use. The connected system: a series of park spaces, parkways, green circles as connective tissue, a necklace of green spaces, accommodating movement paths (pedestrians, cyclists, carriages, skaters), all creating a cohesive green infrastructure. Careful weaving of topography, intertwining natural and built systems, with a layering of the ground plane to accommodate surface paths, ground water, and drainage, whilst creating and directing views.
Burkhalter Sumi Architekten with Marco Pogacnik
Konrad Wachsmann – The Grapevine Structure
Burkhalter Sumi combine building and research with a fascination with modernity and the tectonics of architecture. Their recent book focuses on the section as the DNA of space. Their work ranges from complex projects to visceral chalk drawings that carve paper and claim space. Theirs is an ability to ‘crack open’ the essence of historic structures, describing origins and sources, placing work within its historical framework.
At the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, they present a work by Konrad Wachsmann, considered to be one of the leading exponents of industrial prefabrication, like Alberto Mangiarotti, Marco Zanuso, Buckminster Fuller and Jean Prouvé. With the Grapevine, Wachsmann invents a system similar to a grapevine, where knots and support structures make one entity. This is possibly one of the most radical construction designs of Wachsmann’s time, which until now, only existed as a drawing. Made especially for the Biennale Architettura 2018, a 1:1 scale construction, placed in the Giardini, will allow this massive sculpture, this ‘double column’ to be understood and enjoyed.
Cedric Price wanted to create an image of the future, her intention was different because she was dealing with what was possible to do, with a direct connection to reality, This radical, ephemeral containment scaffolding structure of 90,000 m2 was not a study of form, but a type of abstraction.
When her 2012 pavilion opened to the public, there was a queue of people one kilometre long to access this free building. Her projects build with a clarity of construction, discussing the type of soil below foundations, the construction industry where drawings are sometimes not necessary, in a climate where luscious nature invades in a very short time. Referencing the historical rope-making in the Corderie and using the nautical term Ballast, Juaçaba brings an idea of the weight and mass of concrete, and the tensile property of rope to the Biennale Architettura, presented as concrete totems in the Giardini.
Carr Cotter & Naessens Architects
Auguste Perret, Salle Cortot, Paris, France
A highly tuned instrument for playing and listening, the Salle establishes a rapport between music and listener which is intimate and intense. The plan is ingenious, a particular response to the constricted site but typologically derived from a rich tradition of assembly rooms – the Greek bouleuterion, the Teatro Olimpico and the Teatro Farnese. The essential experience of this archetypal space is the connection between the music and the audience. The music progresses in its notes, chords and harmonies over time, modified and tuned by the space and form of the building itself, but also by the seated members of the audience. With no seat more than 17 metres from the oval stage, the audience reduces reverberation, while the angles and curves of the enclosure diffract and reflect the sound.
Salle Cortot is renowned for its superb acoustics and intimate space. The building presents a restrained and beautifully wrought frontispiece to the street, revealing little of the surprise of this extraordinary space, moulded of bronzed concrete and plywood. The acoustic environment is finely tuned and the means by which this is achieved, volume, proportion, articulation and layering of materials is completely integrated in the building design.
Caruso St John Architects With Philip Heckhausen
The facade is the window to the soul of architecture
Within the spirit of the theme of FREESPACE, Caruso St John focus on the facade, revealing its historical richness and potential for social generosity. By means of their own work and of selected facades from dierent places and from different time periods which have influenced them, the visitor to the Biennale Architettura may delve, “more deeply into the construction of these facades and into the mysterious relationship between urban image and material reality”.
In all of their work, Adam Caruso and Peter St John discuss the emotional potential and physical qualities of construction. The practice understands and orchestrates materials, twinning the research worlds of teaching and proof by inventive building. Place and the given brief nurture their imaginations, anchoring their buildings sensually. Memory and familiarity are transformed into contemporary beauty and elegance.
A school in the making
A campus by Case Design, which is a collection of simple structures arranged around an informal series of walkways, courtyards, gardens and terraces. Case Design states that FREESPACE is created by thoughtful participants who are willing to engage in the act of making, describing moments of intimacy. In the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, they present models, tables, stools, lights, screens forming scaled spaces in which to sense other places and other lives.
This new school campus, the Avasara Academy, is close to Lavale village near Pune and provides for the education of young women in India. Rooms have been positioned around the perimeter of the buildings allowing the central core to be completely open to serve solely for circulation purposes. This part of India is warm and humid. The natural environmental response is to draw air in from the outside through a series of earth ducts, where it is passively pre-cooled, before being supplied into the classrooms and living spaces. These solar chimneys use the heat from the sun, designed to drive the entire air-flow. A concrete structure provides an open matrix of spaces with bamboo screens providing shade.
Cino Zucchi Architetti
Everyday wonders – CZ reads LCD
The Milanese architect, Cino Zucchi to present Caccia’s work from his own perspective. an architect who would decipher and bring to the community of architects and to a wider audience some specific Italian architecture. Showcase the importance of Italian architecture on the world stage, prompted us to look at recent Italian architecture.
Cino Zucchi replied that architecture is the beloved backdrop to our lives. his method as an architect as a type of mix-and-match approach, where analysis alone will not do and invention alone will not do, where habits and culture filter raw data to make architecture. He declares his values to be urbanity, the beauty of cities and the new environmental responsibility Cino Zucchi explores the work of Caccia Dominioni under three headings. Facades: inhabited screens in the city; Interior Spaces: caves carved by movement and light; and Details: narrative interlaces between material and form.
Clancy Moore Architects
Kay Otto Fisker, Hornbækhus, Copenhagen, Denmark
The Hornbækhus makes a generous architecture of minimal means. It is an architecture of infrastructure. The extended line of its facade marks a territory within which a community has been graciously drawn together. Its success resides in the calibration of its architecture, the careful articulation of various elements. Only six drawings of Kay Fisker’s Hornbækhus survive. These sheets chronicle the making of a city as a conversation between strategy and detail. Their economy and precision describing the minimum required to enable inhabitation. The porject remakes this architecture of relief in three fragments representing the essence of the Hornbækhus. The form of these pieces describes the different corner conditions of the block. Whilst their surface articulation, both inside and outside, is drawn from the building’s different facades.
This attitude lies most potently in the treatment of the building’s facades. Although massive, its external facades are gentle with the windows that face the city expressed forward, accompanied by generous bands of plaster. These catch the light and dematerialise the large brick walls. In doing so this facade becomes a drawn curtain joined at each of its sharp corners by stone seams. It is hung from a cornice emphasising its character as a taut fabric addressing the city. In contrast its internal face is defined by windows that are gently recessed. A stronger face is made to the more intimate enclosure. The internal corners of this communal room are chamfered to make its embrace more complete.
Crimson Architectural Historians
A city of comings and goings
Crimson Architectural Historians are a collective working between historical research, critique and architectural practice, with the contemporary city as their subject. They view history not as a closed event in the past, but as something that can imbue the city with meaning across time, and their projects try to set this latent historical potential to work in the present.
FREESPACE encourages reviewing ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world, of inventing solutions where architecture provides for the well-being and dignity of each citizen of this fragile planet.A City of Comings and Goings captures a new feeling, a new sense of possibilities. They have questions that might get under our skin: What do we think about change? What new policies could accommodate inclusion? How can society become enriched by otherness? How can we see the dynamics of migration as beneficial and enriching both culturally and economically? How can cities respond, absorb and facilitate change and opportunity? At a practical and physical level, how can architecture, urbanism, spatial and economic policies combine to make a better world?
David Chipperfield Architects
Beyond / Purpose
David Chipperfield confirming the total impact that architecture has on the citizens of this world. He describes the beauty of a 14th-century painting depicting Siena as being “spatial and normal” and critiques much of contemporary architecture, especially city development, “as something that happens to us”. In the making of architecture, he masters idea and construction in the production of contemporary work.
As the curator of the 2012 Biennale Architettura under the theme Common Ground, he encouraged participants to declare their sources, to find what is shared. It seems fundamental to the work of his office, that a deep understanding and respect for the past form the springboard to a new view of modernity. Dialogue is seen as an inclusive process, collaboration as being critical to the production of architecture. Building on history, not erasing it, communicating, listening, enriching the physical quality of space: these are values confirmed by his work. In David Chipperfield’s response to FREESPACE, the Karl Friedrich Schinkel drawing of the Altes Museum becomes a focus on generosity of space and public building. The James-Simon-Galerie, which is under construction on Berlin’s Museum Island, becomes the vehicle to discuss and describe the values of developing a civic language.
De Blacam And Meagher Architects
De Blacam and Meagher are masters of the craft of building. For the 16th International Architecture Exhibition they make a wonderful connection with Venice through the painting and drawing by Gentile Bellini, A Procession in St Mark’s Square. Working with the artist Alice Hanratty they have made a drawing, ‘after Bellini’, of the central social space of their building at the Cork Institute of Technology. This drawing sets the scene for the values expressed in their FREESPACE installation.
The Cork project is presented alongside Canada House overlooking St Stephen’s Green in Dublin. The red brick Cork building invents a timeless public space for this institution. The white Roach Bed Portland stone building creates a strong new cornerstone in the city consolidating the 17th-century Dublin square. The red and white walls and the magic of Venice penetrate the thinking of these architects. The red Cork building is an extraordinary ensemble of brick surfaces and spaces. The white stone Dublin building has a classical stillness and poise. The installation shows other works in Ibiza and the combination of drawings, books, and photos, create an atmosphere of calm contemplation where one feels the ability of these architects to deliver an architecture which truly enriches our civic lives.
Giovanni Michelucci, Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista “dell’Autostrada”, Campi Bisenzio, Florence, Italy
A close encounter refers to a classification of experiences of the unknown – top down, in order of proximity: sighting, physical evidence, and contact. Picture the Spielberg poster. These are drawings of the Church of the Autostrada, made from a distance, following an encounter. When are we close enough to know? This is an old dilemma between architecture and its representation, the paradox of exhibition, curation and of course teaching.
Giovanni Michelucci’s Church is an extremely beautiful and effective building. Frowned upon “the wilful pictures queness of the haphazard structure and spaces” – perhaps inevitable when looking at pictures, as we all do and often. Something happened between the first edition and second, between image and text, and space and time. He visited. Michelucci spoke of the challenge of making an eye-catcher on the new A1 from Milan to Naples. He said he wanted to make a “parish for tourists” in a new car culture and so the pilgrimage iconography: the crossing of the Red Sea, the journey of the Magi and donor towns in flying silhouette. He said he wanted to make a building without an end – a knot in the Highway of the Sun.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Post-Occupancy: the Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center
This tower of learning, a school of medicine, offers a way of creating fluid vertical space, breaking the tyranny of the repeated floor plate normally associated with the making of towers. The theatrical quality of the vertical ribbon of spaces made up of staircases, social and study amphitheatres, generous galleries and landings, all work towards unifying this fourteen-storey building into one convivial freespace. This imaginative installation combines the presence of a large physical model with a vibrant method of documenting the life of the building using two drone videos.
This is a dynamic vertical university, optimistic and liberating for students and professors alike, a generous freespace where social interaction is celebrated and where the discovery of knowledge is promoted within the dynamism of the form and the fluidity of the spaces. Citing the influence of Robert Altman’s way of filming The Player and using drones in a similar way to record the life of a finished, occupied building, it is as if the visitor is an invisible presence peering through the windows, or a ‘fly on the wall’, witnessing the activities within.
Dna_Design and Architecture
The Songyang Story
Set in seven villages in Songyang County, Zhejiang Province in China, this series of seven projects represents the diversity of architecture and its capacity to enrich the daily lives of existing communities. The level of ambition driving each of the projects is impressive, as is the imaginative component brought to bear on each specific context. A Tea House, a Bamboo Theatre, a Pedestrian Bridge, a Hakka Museum, a Brown Sugar workshop that is also an entertainment space, and a Traditional Dyeing Studio; each intended to provide new public freespace.
Architecture here is shown as the vehicle for the collective expression of each of these communities. One feels the commitment and ability of the architect to listen, to collaborate, to operate with a true spirit of generosity with the utmost skill and sensitivity. The visitor steps onto the map of this vast area describing a sense of the scale of the landscape in which these projects are realised. What is wonderful is the range of forms, strategies, architectural techniques and materials used. There is an optimistic power in these relatively modest interventions. The overlap of work with entertainment, theatre with collective life, ritual with conviviality, tradition with economics, shows progressive thinking at play.
Dominic Stevens, Jfoc Architects
Alejandro de la Sota, Maravillas Gymnasium, Madrid, Spain
De la Sota creates a three-dimensional arena for action, it is a spectacle that people partake in, they invent and reinvent this action on a daily basis. He conceived the space for this with the brute force of raw structure and simple material. The model for the Biennale Architettura is concerned with people, actors held in previously unimagined space, housed by the structural invention of Alejandro de la Sota. People, structure and spectacle.
Donaghy + Dimond Architects
João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Carlos Cascaldi – Anhembi Tennis Club, São Paulo, Brazil
Vilanova Artigas conceived social infrastructure from Paulista and communist perspectives, drawing upon his initial training in engineering and early practice in architecture. These strands are evident in the nature of space made through structure in relation to a communal idea of society. The process of study is material, testing the equation of weight and its distribution, matter and its myriad qualities in relation to light and air, through which space is charged. Vilanova Artigas stands out as an architect who embraced raw material qualities, whose presence in articulate structures creates FREESPACE in concert with the ground on which they bear.
Here is a study of the exoskeletal field of the roof as a trope in the work of Vilanova Artigas, collaborating here with Carlos Cascaldi: a catchment, a perforate datum draining, sheltering, shading, and modulating light above, while the free-flowing topography of inhabited ground, activities and landscape is played out beneath. Vilanova Artigas creates a grove under and into which accommodation wanders in section. The plan is a counterpoint to the serial structure whose order filters elements and enmeshes gardens to liberate a FREESPACE within its span and backspan.
Dorte Mandrup A/S
Conditions Icefiord Centre, Ilulissat, Greenland
The project located in the extraordinary Icefiord Centre in Greenland. This is a project that deals with the most extreme challenges imaginable in terms of climate. Hence the title chosen by the architects – CONDITIONS. It is also a highly charged building in terms of its ambition and function. The historic significance of the location where “the Inuit people and Europeans (Norse) met”, combined with the making of a habitable place for social interaction within the “superpower of nature” has produced a project robust enough to sit lightly on the earth and to exert a singularly poetic presence.
The body of work produced by this practice reflects many of the values expressed in the Freespace manifesto. The practice profile refers to “having a firm grasp on reality while dreaming out loud”. The work is a product of refreshing, creative thinking producing highly accomplished projects ranging from an Ikea warehouse to complex mixed use urban buildings and schools. Another seam of highly sensitive work is located in the landscape. Projects such as the Wadden Sea Centre built completely of thatch, and the Trilateral Wadden Sea Centre in Wilhelmshaven, built on top of an existing concrete bunker. This work shows the mastery of interpreting the given cultural, ecological and climatic conditions.
Free Space: The Value of what’s not built
Elemental sometimes acts as strategic, inventive thinker and sometimes as active maker of finished buildings. The work ranges from several incremental ‘open system’ housing projects to the sculptural clear form of the Innovation Centre for the Angelini Group. FREESPACE encourages “new ways of seeing the world inventing solutions where architecture provides for the wellbeing and dignity of each citizen on this fragile earth”. Alejandro Aravena of ELEMENTAL continually campaigns for this cause, highlighting the need for architecture to deal with the enormous problem of providing ‘open systems’ rather that finished objects, so as to house with dignity, the growing population of the world and of our cities.
He proposes that Freespace be used as a verb, “a commandment for leaving unoccupied voids” so as to capitalise on the spontaneous initiative of people to extend and build for themselves. His call to leave freespace as a “public space reserve” is laudable. He cites the proportion of private land to public space in developed countries as being 1:1, dropping to 1:10 in underdeveloped countries. His arguments are made through his own hand sketches and text as exhibited here in this Biennale Architettura. Big ideas which cut to the chase are expressed simply and clearly and cannot be ignored.
Elisabeth & Martin Boesch Architects
Reuse, black yellow red
Martin and Elisabeth Boesch present the content of the beautiful book Yellowred. Born out of a need to relate to to a multilingual group of students in Geneva, a clear system of drawing was developed to communicate in a “babelesque” language situation. The colours describe the new and the old elements merging into a “silent new unity”. Exemplary re-use projects are beautifully presented using this technique also describing the rigour, precision, and creative thinking of this architect.
Martin Boesch is a forerunner in progressive thinking about re-use and building within the existing fabric. Building always means re-using, his approach to the evaluation of our built heritage does not exclude demolition and replacement as the ultimate decision, made only following serious analysis of the potential for meaningful re-use. He has mapped how growth in the appreciation of existing buildings, and “as found” conditions have lead architects to a more thoughtful approach in the design of new buildings, finding an equilibrium between old and new. He has taught this approach in many schools of architecture and it is surely A49 influential on the future work of those who study and then practice architecture.
Elizabeth Hatz Architects
Freespace – Line, light, locus
Elizabeth Hatz’s skills and sensitivity positioned her to choose examples of important drawings from history, so that the general public and architectural community could see drawings afresh, could enjoy their impact and could re-assess their legacy. The project wish to show various ways of seeing the world in the freespace of time and memory, building on inherited cultural layers, weaving the archaic with the contemporary. A meaningful examples of architectural drawings. A unique human thread of lines, not only from our contemporary world, but also evidence from previous times.
The visceral energy of a drawing, the power of the human hand and mind to imagine, to record, to represent in a new way, are displayed by Elizabeth Hatz in a side-by-side format, forming new and unexpected relationships. Familiar and less known works are placed close to each other. New understandings, new interpretations are possible. We can be reminded of forgotten treasures. We can take time to scrutinise, to look, to see, to enjoy.
Estudio Carme Pinós
Cube. Office Tower, Puerta de Hierro
Carme Pinós focuses on CUBE I Office Tower, explaining in depth the process of imagining and making, the structure and the life of this exemplary building. When thinking of the wide range of tall buildings in the world, one building stands out for us for its invention, elegance and technique. It is the CUBE I Office Tower by Carme Pinós in Guadalajara, Mexico. Its three, independent curved concrete structures liberate three wedge-shaped, cantilevered platforms forming a central void, a vertical courtyard open to the air. Various levels of its slipped section modify the scale of the overall ensemble. Wooden louvered shutters form an outer layer to protect the office interiors from the Mexican sun. Carved routes absorb cars. Sinuous stairs connect to the ground, forming a generous and welcoming entrance.
In Caixa Forum Museum, Auditorium and Cultural Centre in Zaragoza, Spain, enormous concrete structural beams liberate the edges and provide free space. Her refined stone and glass Rio Blanco Pavilion perches on its panoramic site, while its roof timbers are held in place by their “stirrups” detail. Hernán Díaz Alonso describes Carme Pinós as being truly radical, challenging the status quo, observing that in her mind there is no distinction between the architectural sketch and the construction drawing.
Flores & Prats
The housing project in Terrassa, near Barcelona, Edificio 111, has a social and spatial complexity which enriches the lives of the occupants with the same intention of making a loose organism as a framework for living. The new Sala Beckett theatre in Barcelona, which occupies an existing abandoned building once a social worker’s club. A hole in the roof of the existing semi-derelict building revealed an opportunity to allow the ‘liquid light’ to leak into the interior. The exhibit traps light within the sinuous form and takes the visitor on a journey of discovery.
The work of Flores & Prats has the same layered quality as their beautiful drawings. In two buildings of Flores & Prats in Palma de Mallorca, Casa Balaguer and the Museu dels Molins we witnessed the rich vocabulary of their architectural language. The work is rigorous and precise but also feels loose and organic, designed to fit into existing contexts. These contexts might be a new window or doorway in a wall, a cut in an existing floor or roof to allow movement or light, the transformation of a left-over space into an intimate public space. Their structural know-how, their knowledge of materials produces a wonderful collage of new and old.
Francesca Torzo Architetto
Z33, house for contemporary art
Francesca Torzo goes back to first principles in her exploration of architectural language and the language of materials and construction. She combines invention and practicality, with intellectual fluency and rigour, and with a love of making and building. She has, in the past, studied concrete in an in-depth way, pushing the capacity of certain concrete mixes to the limit, through hands-on model making and laboratory testing.
The project is the extension of Z33, house for contemporary art in Belgium, is a labour of love. Bespoke bricks have been fabricated to her ‘recipe’ in order to achieve a certain colour and size, and in order to make a wonderful solid brick wall, with a uniquely beautiful surface texture and colour. The collage of existing and new spaces come together to form an ensemble of rooms, which appear to have been drawn together from some personal storehouse of diverse experiences. This way of choreographing spatial sequences may appear random and entirely intuitive, but it results in a very precise cohesive totality. This is one of her first buildings and shows a level of skill, talent and poetic sensibility as refreshing as it is inspirational.
Gion a. Caminada
Visiting the work of Gion A. Caminada, embedded deep in the mountains of Switzerland, is to experience a weave of contemporary and ancient, where existing patterns are reinterpreted, enlivened and transformed. On the remote village of Vrin which was affected badly by migration. Beginning in the 1980s, the Pro Vrin foundation initiated a project to improve the village’s infrastructure and to try to reduce the loss of its population. In order to prevent speculation, the municipality bought all the available building land. For over thirty years, Caminada, the son of a local farmer, has been building projects on this land.
Caminada use history for the moment people into architecture, immerses in enriching experiences and multiple influences. He uses the term ‘cosmopolitanism’, which differs from ‘globalism’, defining the former as focusing on a specific location while at the same time being fully informed about how the world functions. Interested in everything, he refers to bricolage as a method of synthesis. Focusing on place, he strengthens difference in order to register and respect separate identities. This strategy of reinforcing the local has consequential ecological beneficial repercussions.
José Antonio Coderch de Sentmenat, Edificio Girasol, Madrid, Spain
Edificio Girasol or ‘The Sunflower’ exemplifies architecture’s embrace of what FREESPACE describes as “nature’s free gifts of light – sunlight and moonlight; air; gravity; materials – natural and man-made resources”. The building turns at an angle to the Madrid street to receive the afternoon sun deep into the plan. It is made of thin lines of steel structure, sinuous lines of terracotta-tiled walls, shimmering vertical lines of teak shutters. The lines vary in thickness and density to hold space and give different degrees of transparency and privacy. The tiled walls seem to defy gravity and hang above the street.
The installation comprises a stepped platform and two sinuous screens that together evoke the deep threshold space of the Girasol. This space allows dwellers to be in the city and secluded at the same time. The layers of lines between inside and outside create a sense of what Sáenz de Oiza describes as a ‘half-open organism’. On approach through the galleries of the Central Pavilion, the curved screens present a closed enigmatic boundary that evokes the urban presence of the building. The visitor passes behind these, turns and steps up into a small room held by the curved screens and by a series of staggered transparent screens that rise from the platform, setting up diagonal views back out to the gallery space.
GrupoSP’s Biennale presentation is entitled Unnamed Spaces, where they share remarkable spaces of architecture that are sources of inspiration to them. Searching for connections within the FREESPACE manifesto, they intertwine a selection of eight of their projects, dating from 2004 through to 2017, with the works of Oscar Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi, Roberto Burle Marx, Vilanova Artigas and Paulo Mendes da Rocha.
GrupoSP’s school in Votorantim, outside São Paulo, Brazil, positioned at right angles to the street, the organisation divides the programme into two parts while a ramp connects the landscape into the building and is itself the landscape of the school. The sports facility is embedded in the heart of the complex as well as being carved into the ground. Timber slats form an outer layer that protects from the sun. Keeping the ground free, space flows beneath their SEBRAE Headquarters (Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises) in Brasilia, which is a type of campus organised around a square into which the public functions face. The building is wrapped in adjustable metal sunscreens.
A linear festival along the Transcaucasian Trail
This collaboration between the architects and an adventurer is focused on forging a 750km long walking trail from the north to the south of Armenia, called the Transcaucasian Trail. The architects see their role as catalysts, as makers of public spaces along this route, generating places where cultural experiences will engage with the local communities. The ambition of this project is pertinent to the spirit of the Freespace theme in the way it promotes culture over consumerism and promotes an alternative to the “dead hand of conventional tourism”.
This will be a labour of love, built up patiently over time, in six stages. There is a conviction in the proposal made by the architects that small interventions in this enormous landscape will bring people together. The idea is that such a project would both value the past and look to the future and that its implementation will engage the creative activity of the young. There is a refreshing feeling of impatience to move away from the sentimental and the opportunistic approach to both the culture and the landscape of Armenia and to facilitate a way of looking at resources and at historic legacy with fresh eyes. They describe this work as “a gentle architectural manifesto with an ambitious cultural objective”.
Unique Instruments: Expectant Spaces
The project presented as an ensemble, cross-referencing a number of their projects including re-imagining new civic spaces from a variety of different perspectives. Metaphor, simile and story-telling are at the heart of Hall McKnight’s work. Their competition-winning Vartov Square, a sequence of new public spaces adjacent to the City Hall in the centre of Copenhagen, includes a new woodland of 120 cherry trees and a new public space. This square is overlooked by the oldest of the neighbouring buildings. A character in a little-known Hans Christian Andersen story looks out over the space from a window in one of these buildings. The pattern of the new square’s surface is generated by the windows of this same building.
Their housing in Greenwich, London is based on an idea of the spatial study of compositions of three forms, just as in still life paintings. They interpreted their own observations of the human interaction on the campus of Gallaudet University at a different scale, using a piece of furniture carrying a collection of vessels, each of which was made by a carpenter, a ceramicist and a metalworker. This ensemble asserts the values of making and experience above image and effect.
Hassett Ducatez Architects
Angelo Mangiarotti, Bruno Morassutti, Edificio per abitazioni in Via Quadronno 24, Milan, Italy
The project combined the interpretative pieces of this building into one object. It is the exact dimensions and shape of the building at 1:25, set on a plinth. We wanted it to look like a building but also like an abstract object. By explaining the great entrance sequence and ground relationship, it becomes more legible. Materials are those common to Italian design of the 1950s and 60s; shiny opaque black and a small amount of semi-sheen white plexiglass, steel and walnut. We are using the sculptural fluted towers of Mangiarotti’s concept. Parts are cut away. An abstracted version of the wardrobe wall device, which is a key enabling element in the plan’s looseness is revealed. It is a device here to convey human occupation and scale.
This is a generous and memorable work. An inhabited cliff that is loose and lyrical. Formed of grids, it is high and narrow, more tower than slab, though it lacks the domineering presence of some towers. The mix of masculine/feminine is equally weighted. All elegant verticals, like Mies van der Rohe’s glass skyscraper drawings (1922), it can be read as a set of slim volumes. It does not exert its weight when it lands on the earth, it sits gently down, disappearing in an arrangement of worked-out accommodations around the street and park edge. With a remarkably light, facade grid, scaled to a person size, tall again, elegant, with shadows and fluting and timber, like a beautiful, resonant burnished piece of furniture. Behind all of this well worked out modelling, this urbane and generous character, living spaces are arrayed and splayed in a cranked grid. They seem full of possibility and nuance, big and small moments.
Heneghan Peng Architects
Gordon Bunshaft ‘Skidmore, Owings and Merrill’ (SOM), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, USA
The Vierendeel truss is an architect’s solution to an engineering problem; the project exposes the invisible forces behind the facade, a segmented Vierendeel truss.The premise begins by taking a “reactionary” posture against predictable techniques employed by architects to make “things”, namely, the senses, with the visual dominating. Therefore, the translucent stone is ignored in totality as it is at the core of architectural technique, visibility. Look at geometry but invisible geometry; note, regulating geometry/lines such as proportioning systems i.e. golden rectangle, consider visible.
Nês Lobo, Arquitectos
A bench for a hundred people, Piazzale Marconi
Lobo’s project for the redesigning of Piazzale Guglielmo Marconi in Bergamo, Italy is an act of transformation. It is in a very particular location, with layers of the pre-existing, nature and artifice. The ambition of the project is to re-state urban meaning and re-articulate urban relationships. A circular bench, surrounded by eight Sour Cherry trees and scented vegetation, that affects space in a special way, forms the new focus of energy. For the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, elements of the Piazzale Guglielmo Marconi project are presented in such a way as to communicate to the visitor the logic behind the project.
In the Francisco Rodrigues Lobo Secondary School in Leiria, Portugal, and the many schools and other projects which she has made, invention and elegance are the characteristics of the work of Inês Lobo. The main purpose of architecture is to build a better world for all. She refers to the words of Lina Bo Bardi: “Deep down I see architecture as a collective service and poetry. Something that has nothing to do with art, a sort of life between discovery and scientific practice. It is a hard road, but it is the way of architecture”.
Jensen & Skodvin Arkitekter As
Protective roof over Moya spring water source
Jensen and Skodvin are, for us, an important presence in architecture since the 1990s because of their imaginative, unpredictable, and highly sensitive approach. Their Liasanden Stop Point, which formed part of the National Tourist Road Project in Sognefjell (Norway 1997), showed an original combination of landscape, architecture and engineering skills in one simple design solution. Their commitment to the humanistic, tectonic and ecological components in architecture, has made them important participants in Freespace.
The project of Jensen and Skodvin presented in Venice, the Protective Roof over Moya Spring Water Source, Changbai, China, shows the resolution of the considerable practical challenge of building in a forest reserve, part of a conservation area where no machinery is allowed.The shape of the roof, the structure and the path are determined by precise mapping of the site; by the mapping of the tree positions and the preservation of these trees; by the shape of the water source; and by finding a way of mediating between these complex geometries. The resultant sophistication and beauty of the forms reflects a deep respect for this environment and of course the very basis of the whole endeavour is to protect a drinking water source, one of the key challenges for architects globally both now and in the future.
John Wardle Architects
The project reflect on the issue about Australia being “upside down at the bottom of the world”, with strong intellectual and creative thread which both liberates. The idea of reversing the Scamozzi trompe-l’œil street scenes in Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico as a means of focusing outwards and capturing an audience, as well as being cross-cultural, showed an openness and a wish to spatially engage with the visitor.
They have constructed a series of three-dimensional lenses as a way of describing their view of the world from their particular location on the earth, using light, colour, craft, and the architectural elements of frames and portals. These characteristics in their built projects, which show that feeling of continually manipulating space, zooming in and zooming out, even at the scale of infrastructure such as the beautiful Tanderrum Bridge.
Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / Sanaa
The idea of the project being a spiral, with no beginning and no end; the idea that it is an almost invisible coil, barely forming an enclosure, a thin film of material suggesting a separation between inside and outside. This somehow describes an alternative view of the world. An alternative to mass and weight. An invisible structure, the form itself being the structure. This poetic, precise response to the theme of FREESPACE touches another note, expresses another sensibility, which differs from our own perception of space.
The work of SANAA always evokes for us, this feeling of spaces and buildings sitting lightly on the earth. The Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne with its big undulating concrete underbelly, feels like a cloud or a wave washing over the site on its way to somewhere else. The ambition expressed by SANAA for many of their projects, is that the building should not draw attention to itself. Buildings such as the Louvre Lens Museum in northern France or the Grace Farm Building in the United States, are so finely tuned that the thinness of the elements of roof and columns endows the buildings with a wonderful, luminous ethereal quality, as has their installation here.
Francis Diébédo Kéré makes architecture through building. He teaches his community in Burkina Faso to build his buildings. He teaches his students to make architecture through the act of building. He is a symbol of hope, exuding passion and belief in the power of architecture to inspire. He empowers communities, always using local resources. He teaches the value of invention, transforming ordinary materials into sophisticated pieces of architecture. All those who collaborate with him feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. With the task of building something which will improve people’s lives. His inventive pragmatic creativity is driven by a sophisticated sense of structure, materials, and interpretation of cultural influences.
Atelier Kéré makes a built project, firstly in an asylum seekers refugee centre located in the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and then transported to Venice. Made in wood, this adaptable ‘magic box’ has multiple configurations, sometimes forming an enclosure, sometimes opening outwards. The structure has a playful light-hearted quality like a child’s toy, which is so apt in a restrictive emergency environment. A modest architectural intervention intended to stage and host unexpected and unprogrammed social interaction.
Kevin donovan, ryan w. Kennihan architects
Jean Prouvé, Eugène Beaudouin, Marcel Lods, Vladimir Bodiansky, Maison du Peuple, Clichy, France
The Maison du Peuple (Clichy, 1936-1939) is an exercise in programmatic, material and operational synthesis, providing plural and adaptable spaces for a working-class constituency. The complex requirements of market, auditorium and cinema occupy the same set of spaces sequentially, through the deployment of mobile screens, a stacking floor, collapsible balustrades, a sliding roof and other moving elements. The project is made through assembly: of elements made in thin metal sheet strengthened by a combination of craft and quasi-industrial methods, but also of ideas and groups of invested individuals (architects, fabricators, engineers, clients and users).
In similar ways, our exhibit also demonstrates freespace characteristics. The space and mobile surfaces, layered with original drawings and photographs of the Maison du Peuple, may be reconfigured at will by visitors, who make walls out of doors and seats out of marble counterweights as they read the information. As the space is remade, new combinations of information are formed, retelling the story in an ever-changing context. The exhibition object, crafted using a combination of artisan and industrial techniques, was assembled and transported to site through an act of collaboration between architects and fabricators.
Kieran Long; Johan Örn; James Taylor-Foster With Arkdes; Petra Gipp; Mikael Olsson
The entire archive of Sigurd Lewerentz is held in Sweden’s National Centre for Architecture and Design: ArkDes.Responding to particular lines of the FREESPACE manifesto, “additional spatial gifts” and “unexpected generosity”, three chapels, dating from 1925, 1943 and 1960 demonstrate the development of Lewerentz’s thinking and making. These three chapels are presented using original and new work, focusing on fundamental interests of Lewerentz: material for place, ritual and landscape.
What for lesser mortals is called ‘detail’ was a means of heightening and transfiguring the mundane, and in that he is of the company of Hawksmoor and Borromini. The way a brick was laid, a pair of beams straddle a column, a piece of glass is clamped across an aperture in a wall, a path is cut through a forest.
Lacaton & Vassal
Freedom of use
A generous ramp in the école nationale supérieure d’architecture joins two new public spaces, linking the city to the sky. An abandoned building in Paris is injected with life, as their refurbishment transforms it. For Lacaton & Vassal, 1960’s and 1970’s buildings are not failures of history. Lacaton & Vassal dig deep into each project to find a new understanding, a way to release latent, undiscovered components, so that each project is refreshingly inventive, simultaneously joyful and serious.
Their work is consistent and surprising. Theirs is a sort of matter-a-fact honesty, twinned with absolute intellectual rigour. Researching their strengths, avoiding demolition, transformations change lives. For them, generosity of space, freedom of use and economy are inseparable values. Their freespace is the one that does not cost anything and yet it is essential. It changes everything: use, relationships, and climate.
Laura Peretti Architects
Rigenerare Corviale_The Crossing
The project showcase topography is carefully manipulated transforming what the architect describes as the “kilometre-long ‘dam’ building into a ‘filter’ building”. The resultant FREESPACE forms an intermediate scale between the heroic built form, and the intimate world of the apartments and inhabitants. 7000 occupants inhabit this social megastructure, originally conceived as a protective boundary between the sprawling city and agricultural land. Basic tools such as earthworks, paths, roads, ramps, biodiversity, sunlight and biology are employed to form public democratic spaces, and to establish a connection with nature and with the surrounding agro romano.
Laura Peretti has completed extremely refined smaller work to date but has continually shown a commitment to the idea of the transformation of place at the scale of the territory and this is evidenced in her many competitions and works outside of Italy. This experience and skill has borne fruit in this exemplary Rigenerare Corviale project. The ambition of this project is real, it is imaginative and a heroic undertaking for all involved. Working only with the FREESPACE between and under buildings, a whole new territory is proposed. The circulation and movement therefore becomes more porous, more convivial, more secure, and more pleasurable.
Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo
DIP / INTO
Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo designs buildings, structures, architecture installations and teaches. She has a wide open mind which leads her to collaborate with many different disciplines. Known for her impressive, small-scale, highly sophisticated work in Sicily, she is also known for her ability to often execute these works with the minimum of means. A case in point is the Holiday House in Noto, where she assumed the role of architect, engineer, inventor, water-diviner, cost-controller and site manager, with a wonderfully fresh and inspirational piece of work.
She is also known for her imaginative exhibitions where she reveals her diverse interests and skill in communicating often complex and more abstract ideas.The project presents a film of an installation made by her which relates to the theme of Entrance. This piece brings together sound, movement and materiality. It feels as though one is entering into, and moving through, a musical instrument, a musical curtain or a threshold, where the motion of the human body creates a current of air, activating the musicality of the jangling pieces. This very original architect is continually exploring and moving forward; always surprising us with the pleasure of her new discoveries.
Marie-José Van Hee Architecten
Feel free, take a seat
When Yvonne Farrell visited the house of Marie-José Van Hee, she experienced an atmosphere which reminded her of a Samuel Beckett play. It transpired during a conversation with Marie-José that indeed she very much admires the work of Beckett. This observation somehow touches on the intangible mysterious component of Van Hee’s work which is pleasantly quite difficult to put a finger on. Van Hee’s work ranges from thoughtful small interventions into domestic contexts to the making of new public spaces and rich ground surfaces which gather people together. There is always a sense of care present, a depth of thinking, an exploration of the language of construction, an atmosphere of stillness and calm embedded in the spatial language.
The Stadshal building in Ghent is one of the most relevant poetic urban projects we had seen in a long time. For this exhibition she focuses, through her drawings, on the search to find architecture in each project. The energy of the drawings expresses an almost frantic impatience to find that space she is looking for. What is very important for us as curators is that the visitor will appreciate the process and the journey of the architect in the making of architecture.
Marina Tabassum Architects
Wisdom of the Land
Marina Tabassum has completed a beautiful mosque in Bait Ur Rouf, in Dhaka, Bangladesh as well as a number of other highly crafted, sophisticated and striking buildings. She has chosen for this Biennale Architettura to present a component of her work which gives an in-depth insight into building vernacular and habitation structures focussing on the Bengali Courtyard. She explores the existence of freespace within the organic morphology of the Bengali courtyards and documents the daily life of these communities.
She records their techniques of space making, of creating enclosures and of creating a sense of community. It is an ever-changing adaptable architecture which at the same time is precisely attuned to the lives of the inhabitants. This process of keen, sensitive, patient observation allows the architect to make thoughtful minimal interventions. Architecture is made in a modest way in the absence of prescriptive impositions or design solutions. Seeing with innocence and curiosity we believe is the key to the architect finding a solution which is not pre-determined but comes out of consultation and mutual respect, often leading to wonderful results, unexpected by either the architect or the user.
Mario Botta Architetti
Mario Botta: introduzione all’architettura
Botta presents a tactile, timber, circular enclosure, which responds to the structural mass of the Corderie, in which work of students of the Accademia di architettura enrich the interior with tabernacle-like architectural research. The abstract and physical presence of the Secondary School in Morbio Inferiore and the vertical tower house with the red metal bridge by Mario Botta were impressive.
There was a time when the importance of place, context, and culture were not highly valued. There was an exhibition of the work of architects in the Ticino Canton of Switzerland in the 1970s that produced an A4-size, horizontal, blue-covered catalogue, which recorded built and proposed projects in the Ticino region. The influence of this catalogue should not be underestimated. Contained within were radical and contemporary architectural responses to place. This document with its powerful contents, combined with Kenneth Frampton’s writings on critical regionalism, were significant influences on young architects in Ireland.
Mary Laheen Architects, Aoibheann Ní Mhearáin
Jean Renaudie, Centre Jeanne Hachette, Ivry-sur-Seine, Paris, France
In the 1970s, in his dream for high-quality living environments for everyone, the architect Jean Renaudie created an architecture that is humane, generous and beautiful, in the Communist-run Parisian suburb of Ivry-sur-Seine. At the Centre Jeanne Hachette, Renaudie’s architecture puts spatial complexity in the service of collective and connected urban living and a close relationship between domestic life and the natural world. The multiplicity and individuality of the forty apartments, each unique, along with the planted terraces and the way they interconnect and overlook each other, reflect these core ideas.
The project focuses on the “gift of the terraces”. This generosity of space and connection with nature is a gift to the apartment dweller, while the abundant planting is a gift to the city. A partial model of the building (scale 1:25) shows terraces, screen walls and four apartments; it starts at street level and rises to roof level, showing the important exterior stairs from the street as well as the central circulating interior stairwell and lift core which serves twenty-seven apartments. The viewer is invited to look through these apartments, from the rear of the model across the terraces, and also, from “outside” through the terraces and the screen walls. The translucent, textured terraces represent the planted elements and the visual effect they have of screening the apartments, of constantly changing the light internally, and of offering a counterpoint to the solidity and resoluteness of the concrete construction.
Notion of Motion
Architects as primarily space-makers, be it at the scale of the city, the landscape or the profile of the facade. The work of Matharoo Associates is represented here by a project which concerns itself with the making of freespace within a tight urban plot using economical means. The architects talk about liberating structure from its load-bearing role, using it rather as a space-making element, forming a series of interlocking planes, bent and folded into each other. The effort is to eliminate perceived boundaries and to allow small spaces to be perceived as being bigger than they really are.
This project is important to freespace because of its focus on structure, one of the basic elements of architecture, and also because it imbues and overlays a sense of play and delight on what might otherwise be conceived as a mute and silent component. We see this quality in much of the work of Matharoo Associates which is both serious and playful such as the House with Balls, or the Moving Landscapes House. Perhaps this is a product of how they describe their aspiration for architecture and structure to be “liberated from this theoretical burden”.
Michael Maltzan Architecture
Michael Maltzan built his reputation with commissions for prestigious museums and luxury private houses, he also known for providing shelter and other accommodation for his city’s poor. In Maltzan’s Star Apartments, which house long-term homeless people, the freespace component creates a world where individuals can find the space to experience a new view of themselves, a space where a new community can evolve. Existing single storey buildings at street level are modified and incorporated. On the roof of these retained street buildings, 102 apartments hover. The space between forms an invented freespace opportunity for the new community. Confirming Maltzan’s belief that good design is part of the healing, this project enriches people’s lives, as well as the city of Los Angeles.
Michele Arnaboldi Architetti
Into the Territory
Michele Arnaboldi is committed to the integration of the scale of the territory with the scale of individual projects. Having worked with Luigi Snozzi, he carries on this philosophy that architecture, landscape, culture and community are intertwined. He has promoted the idea of ‘Città Ticino’ as a way of confronting the urbanisation of the Ticinese landscape.
In this exhibit he makes a direct connection between the thinking behind the making of buildings and the making of strategic territorial interventions. Large scale plans and photos of models describe the immensity of the scale of the student work stretching their capacity to analyse, to find new interpretations and readings, to imagine new possibilities. He then switches scale and views the big landscape from the inside out. Through the windows, from under the canopies, the cantilevers of his own built work, he frames, captures and focusses outward from within. This contrast of focus and scale is reflected spatially in the design of the installation. The detached rational tools of architectural drawings and models are used as a reference point from which one zooms right into a domestic space creating a real enjoyment of the dynamic reciprocal relationships.
Miller & Maranta
Thoughtscape, described by Quintus Miller as a “vast topography of interrelated thoughts”. As practitioners Miller & Maranta have a unique ability to advance ancient building techniques rendering them relevant in the making of contemporary buildings. This imbues their buildings with a sense of culture and a sense of memory. This connection with memory is something they believe necessary to make present. The means used in their work are inventive, tactile, and sophisticated. This obviously comes from the cultivation of what they have called their ‘thoughtscape’, which is a combination of the random, the intuitive, the scholarly and the precise.
By presenting this ‘unfamiliar constellation’ of fragments, of spaces, of materials, the curious visitor is taken on an exciting trip, activating their own memories or experiences and lending some insight into the wonderful capacity of architecture to envelop and give form to unexpected associations. This exhibit which represents the FREESPACE of thought and creativity, reminds us of the way that A. S. Byatt describes the making of poetry where she talks about “a kind of musical rhythm of firing cells with sensory content, a combination of the precise and the random”. The exhibit displays beautifully the inner world, the driving force in the making of architecture.
Níall Mclaughlin Architects
Architects to think about the materials of architecture as being the free gifts of nature; air, daylight, sunlight, moonlight, wind, gravity. Here the architect has made a platform, an orrery, where the rhythms of daily life, of weather, of use, of social gathering, can be mapped and overlaid on spaces of the buildings. Buildings are seen here as artefacts which channel, gather and facilitate life, and which can develop an active life of their own by virtue of this patina of use.
This is a profound position to which we subscribe, and this work presents a view of freespace which is open in its thinking, rigorous and poetic in its making. These are qualities which are reflected in the wonderful built work of this practice.
Luis Barragán, Casa Luis Barragán, Mexico City, Mexico
Luis Barragán is a master of light. He creates spaces shaped by light with surfaces that contain and alter it. Light is a free resource, and the most important building material of architecture. The project focus on it by making large scale physical models, use them to explore beyond ideas of space, to its experience. Luis Barragán have visited Mexico to gain a deeper understanding of these spaces and found was a rich and compelling human spatial experience.
The model in the Exhibition is a personal translation of this experience of a number of his houses, specifically the hallway at Casa Luis Barragán. It captures the character of light I found there. It considers the source and its geometry; aperture detail and their orientation; surfaces and their reflectance; their texture and my relationship to them. Its light – ambient and direct – is filtered, reflected and coloured within a series of interconnecting spaces. This is an instrument for looking, training the eye to see. Its exterior is secondary and inconsequential, essential only to suspend the interior. A second translation occurs between the light of Mexico and the light of Venice. This model becomes a device, a register of two places, orientations and times.
Operating as an architect, landscape architect, historian and professor, Bonnet has a uniquely broad and scholarly overview of the world which manifests itself in the richness of his own work and in the work of his students. Addressing the lack of welcome received by millions of migrants and refugees as they entered into Europe, the project respons towards others, curiosity and the desire for otherness
For this Biennale Architettura he presents a piece of the Ticino landscape in model form, a kind of detached organism under scrutiny. The student Atelier provides a much-needed alternative method of masterplanning where “each intervention sometimes modest, sometimes heroic, sometimes monumental and singular, sometimes quite ordinary, fulfils its own precise goal”. The work of the Atelier and of OBRAS presented here together, is a wonderful testament to the capacity of architecture to concurrently “gather all territorial dimensions” and to address and promote a sense of humanity and generosity at all scales, from the most modest to the heroic.
O’donnell + Tuomey
Folding Landscape / East and West
By comparing and combining two projects of completely different scale, location and use, in a kind of ‘Siamese twin’ form, O’Donnell and Tuomey forcibly demonstrate the wonderful capacity of architecture to transcend scale, to encapsulate values spanning through time and distance, and to feel absolutely appropriate to their use, and to their diverse cultural and geographical context.
The cross-fertilisation of cultures in architectural language is also expressed in this exhibit. As practicing architects, we are free to draw from the rich legacy of the architecture of the world, both ancient and contemporary. The task is how to adapt and fine-tune these influences, to merge and weave them into the local language, to refresh and renew the familiar by absorbing the energy and inspiration of the unfamiliar. These architects have developed a unique skill in this ability to make work which is both local and universal. A small picturesque project in the west of Ireland sits comfortably in the big landscape of Connemara. A big City of Opera in Shanghai forms a new landscape at a bend in the Huangpu River. Both have an innate sense of craft, a richness of form and material and above all else, a sense of belonging.
Paredes Pedrosa Arquitectos
The dream of space produces forms
The architectural tool which explores the spatial form, the height and depth of the volume to be created, to be occupied by light, by time or by sound, key design tools in our daily practice. This idea of “nothing” as being the in-between spaces, the spaces not determined by need, the spaces which act as the cartilage that holds everything together, what Alison and Peter Smithson describe as “the charged void”. The sophisticated body of work produced by these architects is a testament to their exemplary skill as space makers.
The exhibits appear like instruments used to determine the measure, the scale, the surface quality of the spaces to come. There is a sense of sculpting, of manipulating space, and in their projects the architects seek to use freespace as the void that links rather than separates. Freespance is dominated by the material of the horizontal plane and by the spiritual of the vertical dimension.
Paulo Mendes Da Rocha
Paulo Mendes da Rocha description of Venice as being “the capital of the imagined world” is forever in our minds as we get to know this city better; as we are continually renewed and challenged by its beauty. Paulo Mendes da Rocha shared his work with us by giving us complete freedom with regard to how we interpreted it and how we presented it. His generosity and openness was a revelation and a lesson to us. He clearly sees the culture of architecture as a freespace, where architects can freely wander, search, discover and learn from each other. His architecture has that same feeling of openness and generosity, always welcoming the outside world into the interior, always connecting with the bigger territory, always reaching for the big horizon.
Peter Rich Architects
Landscape Architecture | Architecture Landscape
Peter Rich seems to think and see with his hand. His fluent, vibrant drawings show a keen observation of the world around him, picking up the tiniest of detail in the wall, on the ground, in the contour of the land, in the loose-fit organic forms of the vernacular buildings, the enclosures, the habitation clusters of South Africa.
This exhibit creates a world with his hand-drawn sketches. There is a force of energy embedded in these drawings which communicates respect and sensitivity for the land, for the resources, for the occupants, for the communities. In his own works Rich embraces this tradition with open arms and creates highly crafted sophisticated exemplary buildings enriched by the deep understanding of his specific cultural context. The land feels bound up with the buildings; the buildings are formed by the weft of the land; the daily lives and rituals of the communities are given shelter, protection, respect, making an architecture absolutely in tune with the culture, the climate and the ancient legacy of this place. Rich’s drawings show relentless curiosity and passion, uncovering secret hidden qualities released by the depth of his relentless exploration and searching.
Spazio pubblico_Continuità e fragilità
As landscape architects, João Nunes and João Gomes da Silva offer a very special perspective on the world. They bring this to Venice in the way that they describe the public space of the water as a “public space coming from the Sea”, or a “calm body of water which is the real public space connected with a larger body of water which is the Mediterranean”. The public space is described as being alive and moving with the flow of the water. They describe the natural elements “water and fog are the same material… there is an absence of gravity, of clear memory of physical limits”. This sensibility results in the capacity to re-present a place to oneself afresh, re-imagining it each time with new words, new images, new observations.
In this exhibit we witness the presence of this key creative skill needed in the making of new imaginary worlds. A space is made within which the visitor can view student work side by side with the non-academic professional work of the professors. One glimpses two worlds, both enriched by the sharing of ideas, observations and research work. They present projects within a blue enclosure conjuring up the mysterious atmosphere of Venice.
Rafael Moneo, Arquitecto
Rafael Moneo teaches us a lesson in restraint, in thoughtfulness, in making space to contemplate and be still. This brings to mind Laurent Beaudouin who describes architecture “as a machine for slowing time down”. At the Biennale Architettura 2012, on the wall beside the beautiful original pencil drawings he exhibited, Rafael Moneo included some text on the theme of Common Ground which we found both moving and memorable.
The idea of a ‘tablet’ on the wall matched by a ‘tablet’ on the floor, immediately brings to mind sacred spaces where memorials are placed and people or events are remembered in stone. This apparently modest gesture displays the authority of such an accomplished architect who can conjure up moments in architectural history with such a deft touch. The inclusion of his Murcia Town Hall project inscribed on the floor panel, again, in one project, touches on all the values we express in our Freespace manifesto. This project, together with many others by Moneo, has influenced, inspired and shown the way to many generations of architects.
Seven automatic architectures and other exercises
Riccardo Blumer, architect and professor, operates in the manner of an inventor, a choreographer, a builder of mechanisms and beautiful functioning objects. Our first introduction to the work of his atelier was a series of bird cages made by students in wood and laid out in a line approximately 30 metres in length. Each student had to make a gap in the cage which would allow the bird to connect with its neighbour. The result was that birds flew along the full length of the interconnected cages which felt more like pieces of architecture, all different; a street terrace of birds.
Blumer’s atelier collectively construct inventions and display them to the school as a performance, a grand finale of their great efforts and achievements. These explore architectural phenomena such as gravity, light, liquid and movement. For this Biennale Architettura you can directly experience one of seven mechanised inventions created by students, ‘metamorphosing’ given elements of architecture, in this case the liquid wall. This wall is so thin it hardly exists and indeed when it does exist it is momentary. It is intriguing and beautiful, provocative and playful. Reminiscent of the Bauhaus experimentations and of the mechanical sculptures of Jean Tinguely, the magic of the metamorphosed butterfly, teaching us to wonder afresh.
Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Corte del Forte
Designed by Rintala Eggertsson, the building is optimistic, joyful, built by the architects and their assistants. Located at the edge of the water, a building made of wood creates a courtyard surrounded by a covered walkway, a stage, a bar, places to sit in the shade. It can be used by small groups to gather, to perform, to dance, to socialise.
Architecture offer people atmospheres, feelings, experiences that are meaningful and necessary, to create surroundings for a good life. The unique ability to design and build beautiful buildings and bridges, and because of their natural ability to engage with people and with the specifics of each place. In the Corderie you will get a sense of the thought process and work behind this building, experience Rintala Eggertsson’s freespace for dance and convivial life.
Rahul Mehrotra is a practicing architect and academic, whose wide experience involves cultural heritage conservation projects in highly sensitive historic areas, strategies relating to the development of cities, as well as building contemporary buildings.
Rahul Mehrotra presents three projects. One identifies a method of spatial layering in an office complex where new overlaps are created, where the world of the office worker and the world of the gardener become intertwined. Hierarchical divisions created by class differences in India may somehow be adjusted by this architectural layering. In the second project, low-cost housing structures the landscape of a former sand quarry, creating a series of water bodies to harvest rainwater. The third project is a new library, where trainee architects experience the impact of architecture, where they can activate responses to local climatic conditions.
Freespace in place: Four unrealized modern architectural designs for Venice
Robert McCarter is an architect and academic who has written extensively on Scarpa, Kahn, Wright, and other architects.The project discuss freedom to imagine the freespace of time and memory, binding past, present and future together, building on inherited cultural layers, weaving the archaic with the contemporary. We review the past by means of buildings that were actually constructed, but it is also possible to view the past through cultural layers of architectural propositions, which did not become realities.
In 1972, Carlo Scarpa curated and designed for the 36th International Art Exhibition Quattro progetti per Venezia, which presented projects by masters of modern architecture: The Masieri Memorial by Frank Lloyd Wright; the Venice Hospital by Le Corbusier; the Palazzo dei Congressi by Louis Kahn; and a park between the sea and lagoon at Jesolo by the Japanese-American sculptor and designer Isamu Noguchi.Each of these projects had been proposed for Venice between 1953 and 1970 but none were built. At a global level, how do we inform our attitudes in relation to historic urban environments? The passage of time allows us the distance to assess and evaluate decisions made, learning lessons from the experiences of others. After forty-six years, McCarter re-presents Carlo Scarpa’s 1972 exhibition of these works in Venice.
Room 11 Architects
You Are Here
The work of these architects reflects on how we should occupy this planet, expressing the theme of “the Earth as Client” as represented in the FREESPACE manifesto. Their practice is driven by an ambition to make work which is meaningful, sincere, and serves humanity. There is a resistance to making interventions which would erode the valued resources of the given landscape. While the project designs are quite familiar in their language and materiality, there is obviously another level of perception afoot. Our curiosity is aroused about how this difference in perception affects the experience of space, of light and shade, the relationship with the big horizon, and with terra firma.
In this exhibit the visitor is invited to discover Tasmania through the eyes of Room 11. Using three projects they present the perception of the landscape from within the spaces, merging with the spaces, and receding from the spaces. They describe the sense of the landscape receding from our feet, “like silt sand beneath your toes… the wave falls back towards the sea…creating a pleasurable insecurity that resonates with the existence of an isolated island 45° South”. A barely perceptible awareness of one’s location on the Earth, some kind of reversal of the pull of forces of gravity, heightened by the simplicity and openess of the architecture.
Rozana Montiel Estudio De Arquitectura
Rozana Montiel’s work is highly sophisticated, free of indulgence, with a palpable determination to build a form of architecture that she describes as “social construction”.The work ranges from private houses, low cost social housing, playgrounds, a circle sanctuary forming part of a pilgrim path, to prototypical designs for incinerating stations and water harvesting domes. This rootedness in the belief that architecture must respond to what are extreme needs in Mexico, is driven by the belief that architecture always has to provide “more”.
This exhibit communicates the values of the practice, the desire to “change barriers into boundaries” to open up new horizons, giving a sense that this section of the Corderie wall is removed and replaced by bringing the life of the outside world of Venice into the assigned space. What is so engaging about this work is the refusal to separate beauty from need and function, and to continue to create and promote the “oneiric” dreamlike possibilities of architecture.
Salter Collingridge Design
Peter Salter’s and Fenella Collingridge’s exquisitely detailed and beautiful drawings describe a world and a sensibility which is often feared to be lost. This is a world where construction, craftsmanship, scholarship, sublime skill and invention are all inextricably linked. The sensual attention to the tiny detail, the hollowed profile of the chair for comfort, the bullnose edging to the table, the splices, flitches, welds, bolts, skateboard wheels, copper shoes, and felt blinkers, all come together to make what they describes as a space of intimacy for gossip and chat.
The building feels like a kind of contemporary medieval construct built with love and dedication, by uniquely creative and original architects. A built testament to their position, a work of radical resistance to the contemporary pressure to obliterate craft. The piece presented in Venice is influenced by the traditional kissing-gate which allows people, but not livestock, to pass through, but it brings to mind works by Jean Prouvé and by Pierre Chareau, and the inventions, machines and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. This exhibit is playful, the moving parts to be enjoyed, all designed to encourage social interaction. The tiny scale of the piece still manages to encapsulate the breadth and scope of architecture.
Sauerbruch Hutton’s project, for example, the early GSW office building in Berlin, the Jessop West building for the University of Sheffield, the ‘Woodie’ student housing in Hamburg, the many museums and office headquarter buildings, which show the ability to create a palpable sense of well-being within their spaces. This is achieved by their innate skill in the making of pleasurable, physical environments which exude a sense of calm and comfort.
This exhibit is inviting to the visitor, offers a place of repose, and reflects the generosity of spirit of the M9 Museum building in Mestre, where they open up spaces to the community, and use “exposed concrete and ceramic to provide a haptic materiality that corresponds with the cocciopesto finishes of the existing historic buildings”. Sauerbruch Hutton are known for their use of colour as an inherent part of their architectural language. They say that colour blurs the physical limitations of space, provides visual delight, and enriches perception and haptic experience. This colourful celebratory exhibit represents their own work, but is also reminiscent of the festive banners, flags, masks and costumes of Venice, and so it succeeds in transporting a piece of this wonderful city into the Corderie.
Sergison Bates Architects
Sergison Bates are known for a body of finely crafted impressive work throughout Europe and recently in China. Describing themselves as a research-based practice they are also committed teachers and writers. This exhibit opens the doors into two parallel worlds, that of the Sergison Bates’ practice and that of the teaching atelier. The exhibit shows us these two worlds and presents what Jonathan Sergison describes as “both forms of practice”, side by side. Architecture here is explored as a “creative, reflective practice”, where critical exchanges and collaborative activities are shared.
In this intimate “temporal freespace”, a film shows the work of highly accomplished practitioners together with that of their aspirants. This temporal space is made of floating stretched canvas frames. One feels a sense of privilege, invited ‘backstage’, where one witnesses and is offered access to a space where imagined worlds are made real. The canvas screens suggest just enough enclosure to focus, but open enough to allow new ideas and influences to enter into this ever-changing process of exploration and design development. There is a generosity and clarity about this exhibit that beautifully describes the overlap and rich exchange which happen in the practice of teaching.
The subject of the Skälsö installation is quite surreal in that they have been working within a defensive military site containing concrete military bunkers, located on an island in the Baltic Sea.
Initially it seemed in our view impossible to humanise the oppressive presence of these wartime symbols and transform them into places where human beings would feel happy to visit or to stay.
Their work shows an absolute confidence in the transformative powers of architecture. While many participants sought the sunlight, Skälsö embrace the dark, the shadows, the soft gloomy north light. Their installation consists of big blocks of concrete sitting on the floor. This is the material that was removed from the concrete bunkers to make habitable spaces. These blocks have an eerie presence which contrasts with the wonderfully inventive spaces made by their absence. The exhibited material describes the engagement with the landscape and with the existing structures. The precision of the interventions releases a new positive energy. The spaces are made free through the process of excavation, opening up the solid worlds of the bunkers to the horizon, to the sky, to the air and to the light. The place is transformed by the power of architecture.
Souto Moura – Arquitectos
Vol de jour
As well as the ground-breaking new buildings produced by Eduardo Souto de Moura, the architect has also worked on the exquisite transformation of ruined buildings for re-use. Completed over twenty years ago, the transformation of the Santa Maria do Bouro Convent into a hotel offered an approach to restoration, possessing a vitality and authority not much evident since the work of Carlo Scarpa in Verona.
In the Alentejo project a transformation happens at a different scale. Souto de Moura describes the “urban nature of the monte”, a mini-universe, with its streets, squares, cloisters and outhouses. The only way to preserve heritage is to live with it and use it – only everyday living transforms it into something and gives it heritage status. The diffect of this kind of work, if too much we will spoil it, if we don’t do enough it won’t work. Olive-press areas become a living room or a bar; a cowshed becomes a restaurant.
Steve Larkin Architects
Kaija and Heikki Siren, Otaniemi Chapel, Espoo, Finland
This chapel emphasises a sacred relationship with the Finnish landscape. There are three principal spaces: the courtyard, the chapel and the apse. The entrance courtyard is lightly sketched in the natural landscape, a bell-tower marking its significance. The main chapel is formed by brick gable walls and a monopitch roof that provides two windows, a high rose window and a view to landscape behind the simple altar. An elegant timber truss, made from small timber sections and slender steel ties, reminds us that it is a space formed both in and from the forest. The most significant space is the apse. This is the forest. Marked by a large white cross, it places the sacred within landscape.
The model re-articulates this view, which is framed by improvisations on the cross, the windows, the timber truss and the gable. The truss drops its legs to make a forest room. The high rose-windows and the roof surface internalise the timber canopy space under white northern light. The cross is placed centrally in the forest interior to form the window between the chapel space and apse. Stacked timber construction is used to emphasise the Otaniemi Chapel’s understanding of its place in the Finnish church-building tradition.
Studio Anna Heringer
This is not a shirt. This is a playground
In Anna Heringer’s work, three fundamental questions was asked : What local materials are available? What are local energy sources? What local skills are available? The answers to these three questions are: mud and bamboo, people and people. One of the most densely populated countries on earth, Bangladesh, with over 163 million people, is a focus of Heringer’s work. Architecture is a tool to improve lives. It is not just a roof over our heads, it makes communities, building self-confidence, caring for beauty and cultural identity, all of which are strongly linked to dignity.
This is not a shirt. This is a playground presents us with the village, its weave, its people. It shows us the implications of what we do, what we accept. It helps us see the world in a different way. Instead of moving to cities where communities unravel, together with the Bangladeshi NGO Dipshikha, Anna Heringer and Veronika Lena Lang initiated Didi Textiles, a group that offers opportunities to tailors to remain in their own village. This then enables people to stay in their own homes, involving older members of the family and children in their daily lives, building and sustaining communities.
Arcus Center for social justice leadership, Kalamazoo, USA
The idea of making a wooden masonry wall was a beautiful combination and an idea we had never considered. Studio Gang have built such a wall in the Arcus Center. It is always so rewarding in architecture to see and feel the big idea resonating with the tactile materiality of a building. The large, urban, technically sophisticated work of the practice sits side by side with projects of a more modest scale which appear to be used as a laboratory of research into the inventive and imaginative use of natural materials, and the making of a direct relationship between materiality, use and context.
In the Arcus Center, we love the exploration of the life cycle of the wood and the belief expressed by the architects that wood has the remarkable ability to connect people and architecture across cultures and time through its ‘elemental resonance’. This is evident in the timber trusses and structural wooden lattice facades of the Glencoe Writers Theatre, or the dynamic undulating roof structure of the Eleanor Boathouse in Chicago. Their work also engages with disadvantaged communities in an inventive way, creating places with unexpected adjacencies of diverse uses so as to act as a catalyst for the integration of such communities into society.
Studio Odile Decq
In Phantom’s Phantom, Odile Decq shares her passion for playing with ambiguity, where mirrors make you reassess dimension and space itself. An impressive list of awards and honours have been bestowed on Odile Decq, including the Golden Lion in the 1996 International Architecture Exhibition. Practicing architect, urban planner, academic and teacher, she is the founder of her own School of Architecture in Lyon, France, called the Confluence Institute for Innovative and Creative Strategies in Architecture. For her, architecture is more powerful than design. It is a unique culture of its own.
To place new uses in existing buildings is a normal part of the work of an architect. To insert a contemporary use into a highly-sensitive, protected structure – the 19th-century, Second Empire and Beaux-Arts opera house in Paris by Charles Garnier – takes creative skill, bravery, and material knowhow. Allowed only to touch the floor, this “breaker of rules” creates a sinuous glass wall, making “no” glass, heightening illusion. The historic cupola was required to be seen, not hidden. Her crafted steel structure, cantilevers, moulded plaster are courageous insertions. The sinuous bench re-interprets contemporary luxury, using colour to add to the drama.
Rogelio Salmona, Centro Comunal y Recreativo Nueva Santa Fe, Bogotá, Colombia
Rogelio Salmona, the most prominent Columbian architect of the 20th century, is known for his mastery of brickwork and of place-making. Salmona draws on Columbian, European, pre-Columbian and contemporary influences to create rich singularities. His work as simultaneously both local and foreign, in terms both of time and of place. He is working within the Freespace of time and memory, building on inherited cultural layers, weaving the archaic with the contemporary.
Loom is an acknowledgment of the generosity of the freespace of a communal cultural heritage, produced and shared when architects make buildings. Loom is a built response to a specific work by Salmona – the Centro Comunal y Recreativo Nueva Santa Fe. The built object weaves together Salmona’s fascination with pre-Columbian architecture and our affection for his work. Looking through the lens of Salmona’s architecture, personal fascinations (both Irish and otherwise) which loom in our memory, are summoned to view and become intertwined with his work.
Talli Architecture and Design
The Tila House in Helsinki, as a transformative typology for habitation in that it provides the freespace for the occupants to inhabit a given volume in a variety of different ways, communicates an extremely inventive framework for living. The common shared facilities and services are provided, but the private living spaces are offered to the inhabitant as an unfinished shell. The strategic moves are the invention of the project and the provision of generous spatial gifts to the user. They communicate a rich story, the end result of a complex and challenging journey for the architects.
The structural skeleton and bones of the building facilitates free habitation. A 5m-high volume is provided throughout. The primary structure is designed so that each inhabitant can build mezzanine spaces. Building regulations are cleverly navigated. Common circulation spaces and covered deck access generate a convivial atmosphere. The exhibit creates an intimate domestic space within which this story is revealed in two acts: the framework for living, and the story of occupation. These architects broke free from the normal restrictive methods of providing places for living, challenging the typical approach to development, determined to show that alternatives are possible.
The Fuji Kindergarten is exhibited in Venice as a living interactive experience, inviting both emotional and intellectual engagement. The Fuji Kindergarten was built in 2007 and Tezuka have gone on to build many play-spaces and schools for children. The subject of play is central to both adults and children alike. This delightful project shows architecture as a tool for the celebration of the limitless energy of children. The oval form of the building, the apparently invisible barriers, the integration of trees, the freespace of the roof, all combine to show the capacity of architecture to liberate the body and the spirit.
The projection of the life and sound of the building onto the oval roof of the model brings the laughter of children into the Corderie. In New Zealand they replaced a school destroyed by earthquake with a seismic resistant wooden structure informed by the wooden buildings of New Zealand. Their Ring Around a Tree project is a poetic lyrical play structure wrapping gently around the tree trunk and the canopy of leaves and branches. Their recent Asahi Kindergarten built on a slope shows children climbing under, over and inside the robust timber structure which must feel like some kind of magic treehouse, a freespace of the imagination.
Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
Toyo Ito always surprised, inspired and refreshed by the continually progressive and challenging nature of the spaces and the buildings. The spaces reflect the architect’s philosophy that architecture is for human beings. He states that his buildings are designed to look good, not when empty, but when inhabited by humans. There is an underlying wish to make connections with nature, through the structure, or through the creation of rippling or reflected light as when surrounded by trees. His structures are extraordinarily innovative as seen in the Sendai Mediatheque for instance, where tree trunk-like tubes create a sort of structural forest.
At the Biennale Architettura 2018 he makes a space “free from the architect’s ego”. He don’t want people to live removed from nature, in responding to the Freespace theme, his project where visitors can feel nature despite the space being artificial. A space which offers peace and calm in the middle of the bustling Corderie exhibition, a space where the visitor can feel a sense of togetherness. This represents the key role of architecture. There is a sense of liberation in his buildings, where people can find their own place within the community of users.
Experience of Space
Valerio Olgiati inserts a loose cluster of white columns into the space of the Corderie. The stoic mass of the Corderie columns contrast with the more ephemeral new columns. Like a Greek temple there is just enough room to move around in the voids. A space already replete with columns is filled with even more columns to heighten the awareness of the existing quality of the Corderie.
This installation is very much representative of the work of Olgiati. Each project is an exercise of intense focus on a specific element of architecture. This element might have to do with a space, an atmosphere, a material, a structure. What results is an artefact which embodies an intensity of thought. Believing in the universality of ideas and concepts as a starting point, and in the ability of architecture to bring a new consciousness to existing conditions, the foreign informs the familiar. Promoting an interest in epistemology – going back to first principles in the study of architectural language and ideas – the distillation of thinking prior to action, the material quality of architecture, the rationale of structure, the Olgiati atelier is presented here adjacent to Experience of Space.
The Seashore Library by Vector Architects, located as it is on a beach, standing alone at the edge of the sea. The fact that it is a library added another level of richness to this dream, since the Library as an institution is one of the most important freespaces in our society. Vector’s project told the wonderful story of how this “small space triggered such a level of social energy”, attracting three thousand people a day from all over the nation.
Beautiful drawings express thinking, searching, making. The drawings are worked, like worn tools, layers of graphite building up an energy of their own. The exhibit is a built space which feels like a cocoon, an amphitheatre space, a place of reflection and calm, of mystery, representing the quality of this wonderful Seashore Library. The architects have witnessed a completely unexpected level of use of this little building, originally intended for seventy-five readers. In this case, architecture reflects and satisfies a “strong thirst for cultural and spiritual nourishment” in a time when commercial values are so prominently promoted.
VTN’s project campaign for the integration of trees into each piece of architecture; their confidence in the positive effect of trees on human beings; their belief in making architecture for the poor and not just for the rich minority in the world; and their use of ecologically economical materials. Their work exemplifies numerous values expressed, in particular the consideration of “the Earth as Client”.
The drawings for the structure of the Bamboo Stalactite are mesmerisingly beautiful especially their drawings of the plan. They appear like steel reinforcement drawings for a concrete tensile roof, which of course coincides with Vo Trong Nghia’s description of bamboo being the “green steel of the 21st century”. The term stalactite is intriguing and suggests that this structure was conceived as hanging from the sky, just touching the ground at points so as not to fly away. The manner in which the bamboo is worked, bent and tied creates an amazing independent strength, needing only to be anchored. Transported to Venice from Vietnam this cultural visitor stands proudly by the water, lending the shade of its dappled light, posing like a light-footed dancer, adding a sense of theatre to this apron of industrial ground. It is a wonderful symbol of an optimistic future in architecture.
Walter Angonese, Architekt/Architetto
Übernahme / Consegna / Takeover
Walter Angonese exerts a force of energy, passion, and ethical belief in his practice and teaching. Known for his crafted, thoughtful, sophisticated buildings mostly carried out in his own region of Bolzano, Italy, a region to which he is dedicated, Angonese believes in the role of the architect within small communities and happily carries out work at all scales. As a teacher he inspires dedication, curiosity and courage.
The exhibit involves a strategy for the re-working of a visitor centre he completed some years ago. It is a process of the rectification, reclaiming the dignity of spaces damaged by commercial interests. In parallel the graduate student work of these three architects is contained in the same space. It is a call for the need to care for architecture and that misuse can destroy the heart of a building. The presence of the installation is monumental, stoic, assuming the persona of warriors standing firm, standing proud. There is a poignant sense of battling together in unison for the protection of architectural values.
Weiss / Manfredi
Lines of Movement
Weiss/Manfredi show both historic and contemporary examples of “hybrids connecting multiple disciplines” as opposed to “single-use monolithic infrastructures”. The hybrid in architecture is intriguing because it suggests a kind of organism which can adjust and change without losing its form or its use. The ability of architects to create an open-ended approach to work is both challenging and demanding but the examples which inspire Weiss/Manfredi reveal their thinking: Specchi’s Spanish Steps, Plečnik’s River Walk in Ljubljana, the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade and the Galata Bridge in Istanbul. These wonderful reference points immediately communicate the key message to the visitor, since all these examples are vibrant social connectors be they staircases, bridges or a covered walkway.
The installation forms a ‘drifting’ space where three hybrid projects by Weiss/Manfredi are presented side by side with their chosen precedents. This work confirms Weiss/Manfredi’s philosophy that “there are no boundaries between city and garden, art and ecology, infrastructure and intimacy as habitable opportunities to create enduring public settings.” There is a sense of calm authority both in the work and in the creation of the exhibit. There is also a wonderful sense of conviviality, joy and pleasure in all the projects presented, both old and new.
This edition once again features selected Collateral Events. Promoted by non-profit national and international institutions, they present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice during the 16th International Architecture Exhibition.
Across Chinese Cities – The Community
Università IUAV di Venezia, Promoter: Beijing Design Week
The third chapter of the Across Chinese Cities program explores approaches to planning linked to the development of ‘communities’ as mechanisms that create new systems of social, economic and spatial belonging. Promoted by Beijing Design Week and curated by Beatrice Leanza (The Global School) and Michele Brunello (DONTSTOP Architettura), the exhibition presents a selection of case studies from urban as well as rural Chinese contexts based on integrated planning, and therefore on reconciliation, on policy based and community based approaches to organisation with the aims of inclusivity, empowerment and collective creativity.
As part of the project, the ‘Guest City Suzhou’ chapter presents research carried out by a team of design practitioners which centres around the Pingjiang Road Regeneration Plan which collectively explores the city’s unique context of preserved traditions as a blueprint for future implementation.
Borghi of Italy – No(F)Earthquake
Paradiso Gallery, Promoter: Concilio Europeo dell’Arte
The new exhibition project Borghi of Italy – NO(F)EARTHQUAKE is dedicated to seismic preparedness, to securing the artistic and architectural heritage of our country as well as the revitalization of the architecturally symbolic places: Italian villages. The Freespace concept being launched by the 2018 Architecture Biennale curators is one linked to the idea of a ‘free and safe’ space, in which those who use or live in spaces, especially residents, can feel ‘free’: free from the fear of earthquakes and free to return and live in the most characteristic of Italian places which in this historic moment are at risk of being completely abandoned in favour of the new urban centres – new civitas – typically built far from their places of origin and realized in forms that are completely detached from their historic contexts.
Borghi of Italy also presents the European Council of Art’s “BorgoAlive!” project, which is aimed at the sustainable revitalisation of a village and its surroundings, in which the preservation and restoration of a symbolic village building becomes the means for the reuse and regeneration of a historical centre that has been damaged and/or abandoned. This in turn becomes an opportunity to enhance the artistic and cultural resources of smaller urban centres and their hinterlands as well as an opportunity to kick start economic and social growth, the development of local tourism and the repopulating of Italian villages.
Greenhouse Garden – Reflect, Project, Connect
Serra dei Giardini, Promoter: Swedish Institute
Greenhouse Garden: Reflect, Project, Connect is an event consisting of an exhibition, a temporary wooden pavilion, by In Praise of Shadows architects, and a series of seminars and workshops on architecture, the built environment and the global goals of Agenda 2030, as well as how architecture and wood can be part of it. Plots, Prints and Projections is the title of the exhibition at Serra dei Giardini.
It will house a series of large scale spatial installations that are the result of an investigation of the contemporary and challenged role of architectural representations and their translations to built form, in the meeting with the dynamic material wood and the manufacturing industry. This will entail architectural explorations of the transitions from architectural drawings, measuring’s, notations and virtual instructions for production to their material manifestation using wood as a primary material, and vice versa. Embedded in history of architectural practice, different digital and analogue modes of architectural representation continue to be techniques for understanding and investigating the discipline of architecture.
Primal Sonic Visions
Ca’ Foscari Esposizioni, Promoter: International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Primal Sonic Visions aims to awaken a sense of wonder at the new sounds and forms of energy amongst the public by the primal power and beauty of wind, solar, hydro and thermal energy sources. Renowned international sound artist Bill Fontana, through high-resolution media artwork, explores many of the important types of renewable energy systems from a variety of geographic locations which celebrate the visually and sonically compelling aspects of these systems where the Earth is both client and architect.
As people enter the space, they are met with a stirring experience that at first instills a sense of wonder, and later transforms into a deep reflection of the potential and power of these energy sources being used to secure a brighter future for our planet. This work comes at a particularly crucial point in time as the negative effects of climate change are becoming increasingly evident. This work is a collaboration between the artist and IRENA in a unique aural and visual attempt to focus the public’s insight, and awaken a global emotional reaction to the environment. The exhibition will also include a media artwork with the new flood barrier system for Venice, MOSE.
RCR. Dream and Nature_Catalonia in Venice
Venue: Cantieri Navali, Castello, Promoter: Institut Ramon Llull
The RCR studio was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2017. In the light of this international recognition, we present an exhibition that introduces Rafael, Carme and Ramon’s most intimate universe. The Biennale Architettura acts as a catalyst for all professionals that attend it to pursue inspiration, dreams, and intuitions. For this reason, it’s so fascinating (and such an exercise in generosity) that extremely sensitive minds like those of Rafael, Carme and Ramon share their dreams and most enlightened aspirations. In Venice, for the first time ever, we are presenting the dreams of RCR. An utopia under construction.
Salon Suisse: En marge de l’architecture
Venue: Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi, Promoter: Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
In the long history of architecture, such moments have always proved most fruitful when the discourse opened up to external insights, to ideas and inventions from other scientific and artistic disciplines. Today, in light of the rapid and fundamental changes in society, economy and politics, it is time to set sail again.
If architecture is an island within the archipelago of the artistic and scientific disciplines, then the Salon Suisse 2018 is a ship that has left the harbour. From foreign shores, we will look back at architecture and explore its cultural and social relevance today. On this journey of discovery, we will encounter philosophers and anthropologists, writers, musicians and artists, comparatists and social researchers. By discussing their work and its link to architecture, the Salon Suisse will open new perspectives, not only on the potentials of architecture in the 21st century, but also on the hidden connections that have always existed among the different disciplines.
Collegio Armeno Moorat, Promoter: Scottish Government
The Happenstance establishes a Freespace in the garden at the heart of Palazzo Zenobio, as a place to build new possibilities together for the freedoms we urgently need to claim – and demonstrating what can be built through mapping connections, bringing together needs, resources and ideas of Freespace in both Scotland and Venice. The space acts as an active archive (The Living Library of Ideas), where a team of Artists and Architects, experts in play, encourage everyone into a vital relationship with the built environment, using play as an active agent within the process of rethinking and reclaiming their Freespace.
At the heart of Zenobio you will find a focus on young people, their capacities, their needs and their imagination harnessed to empower this energy in all of us. Our live programme includes animating other spaces out in the city. Likewise the Outdoor Cinema screenings focus on inspiring examples of individuals, organisations and situations that underscore this year’s Biennale Architettura theme. We have a proposition for the visitor to our garden – expect to get lucky. This is the art of Happenstance.
Arsenale, Promoter: Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government; Macao Museum of Art
The word “free space” illustrates the “interactive” changing landscape and the intricate relationship between people and space. Due to the passage of time, the change of social dynamic, and the imagination of space among generations, stagnant spaces have been transformed into spaces with vitality and local aroma. The “interaction” between people and space endue a profound meaning, which we named it Unintended Architecture.
Macao, an increasingly internationalised city densely packed with high-rises, fragments of Unintended Architecture could still be found, which scattered in the densely populated housing, hid in the quiet urban gardens, evaded in the bustling bazaar and flashed in the old stepping stones. Our architecture exhibition purposely selected the “playing cards” as our basic design component, which symbolises the rapid growing economy in Macao. By manipulating “playing cards” in different forms and combinations, Unintended Architecture will be re-illustrated in an abstract manner.
Vertical Fabric: Density in Landscape
Arsenale, Promoter: Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Vertical Fabric: Density in Landscape, demonstrates the urban conditions of Hong Kong and explores the freespace through towers. 100 Exhibitors, including architects from Hong Kong and overseas, are invited to design their towers of freespace, making statements on tower typology in the vertical city. 100 white tower models of 2.0 meters in height are open for the 100 exhibitors to re-define the spatial potential while maintaining its envelope as a collective urban form.
The exhibition manifests innovation within constrains while generating extraordinary spaces from ordinary from. By installing 100 towers marching along the courtyard extending into of exhibition rooms, the venue illustrates the compactness of Hong Kong’s urban form and provides a platform of dialogue with the world, shaping a discourse of Hong Kong’s urbanism and vertical architecture. It also provides architects with opportunities to re-think the design of tower beyond, incubating visions when facing global challenges in technology, environment, and society.
Living with the Sky, Water and Mountain: Making Places in Yilan
Palazzo delle Prigioni, Promoter: China National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
The exhibitor Architect Sheng-Yuan Huang stated that “seeking freedom” served his fundamental philosophy of architecture and was shared with his colleagues at Yilan as the core value standing behind every creation. To them, “freedom” is not an abstract concept, and their “freedom” has allowed them to contribute their efforts to their society within 15-minutes driving distance in their real life.
The exhibition will be presented with the following themes: condensing social memories- interventions via time; setting a datum- canopy as the new reference line; returning to the land- continuum in suspension of time. These three themes were focusing on the making of public spaces, including the unban scale Canopy, Vascular Bundle Scheme and Cherry Orchard Cemetery. The result of these works was based on the learning from local residences and natural environments with a certain period of time for carefully shaping everyone’s everyday life.
Young Architects in Latin America
CA’ASI, Cannaregio, Promoter: CA’ASI Association 1901
The exhibition underlines the important role played by the Latin American World today, as seen throughout its contemporary architecture. On the occasion of 16th International Architecture Biennale, the CA’ASI will open its doors to emerging Latin American architects in order to emphasize the creativity, originality and social commitment of their new architecture, and to help it gain world-wide recognition. Architecture-Studio has set up the CA’ASI Association to promote the dialogue between architecture, contemporary art, and the Biennale visitors.
Young Talent Architecture Award 2018
Palazzo Mora, Promoter: Fundació Mies van der Rohe
The Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA) is promoted by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe with the support of Creative Europe as an extension of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award. The Fundació Mies van der Rohe fosters debate on and awareness of themes related to contemporary architecture and urban planning and, with the YTAA aims to support the talent of recently graduated architects, urban planners and landscape architects who will be responsible for transforming our environment in the future.
The Collateral Event will be a comprehensive exhibition presenting the designs of the YTAA 2018 shortlisted works including the 12 finalists and, among them, the 4 winners. Together with images and drawings, videos will also be used to explain the graduation projects. The winners of the YTAA will be honoured during an awards ceremony that will take place in Venice on September 20th, 2018. The ceremony will be also complemented with a debate on the main topics of the “European Year of Cultural Heritage” organised by the European Commission, and those issues which will arise from the results of YTAA. The debate will count with the winners, the jury members, a number of Future Architecture Platform participants and other guests.
There are two Special Projects at the Biennale Architettura 2018: one is the Forte Marghera Special Project in Mestre, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, consists of an installation by architects Sami Rintala and Dagur Eggertsson, also built to host a series of events scheduled in Forte Marghera.
Another is the Special Project at the Applied Arts Pavilion in the Sale d’Armi in the Arsenale, reflects upon the future of social housing by presenting a fragment of the social housing estate, Robin Hood Gardens, which was designed by Alison and Peter Smithson in East London and completed in 1972. Renewed for the third consecutive year, the collaboration between La Biennale and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has made possible this exhibition curated by Christopher Turner and Olivia Horsfall Turner.
The Biennale Architettura 2018 was accompanied throughout its duration by a programme of conversations: Meetings on Architecture, curated by Farrell and McNamara, are an opportunity to discuss the different interpretations of the Manifesto FREESPACE and to listen to the voices of the protagonists of the Exhibition.
The program of Meetings is complemented by contributions from the Participating Countries and a calendar of conferences organized in collaboration with international institutions such as the London School of Economics/Cities and Alfred Herrhaussen Gesselschaft, and with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Finally, the Historical Archive of La Biennale di Venezia present a meeting focused on architecture in the archives.