Venice Biennale 2012: Museum of Copying / FAT

© Nico Saieh

The Museum of Copying, curated by British architect’s FAT, was one of my favorite exhibitions at the Venice Biennale. The subject of copy in architecture has always interested me, in relation to how the series of copies in the form of iterations are what make architecture evolve. The concept is explored in this exhibit with three installations, starting with Villa Rotunda Redux, the iconic Palladio building copied (or reinterpreted?) through history now digitally fabricated and casted.

During the Biennale we had the chance to talk with Sam Jacob (@anothersam) from FAT, who explains us more about the Museum of Copying on this video (full interview coming soon!).

More about the Museum of Copying from the architects after the break.

© Nico Saieh

The exhibition, curated by FAT, uses a series of installations to explore the concept of copying in architecture. Historically, copying was the means by which architecture was disseminated – it was, in short, a common ground of the discipline. Yet the copy has also been considered the enemy of progress and an inauthentic dead end. The copy can therefore be schizophrenically characterized as architecture’s perfect, evil twin, at once fundamental to architecture’s mode of production and a source of its inspiration, yet also its nemesis. The installation comprises five projects that explore the significance and possibilities on the copy in architecture.

© Nico Saieh

FAT’s Villa Rotunda Redux installation fabricates a large facsimile of Villa Rotunda, which is itself arguably the ultimate example of architectural copy, a building composed of copies that has become the subject of multiple copies across time and space. It is represented here through two iterations: one a mild, and the other a cast of the structure. Together they explore the transformation of architecture through technologies of reproduction.

© Nico Saieh

In Ines Weizman‘s installation Repeat Yourself: Loos, Law and the Culture of the Copy, the function of copyright in architecture is investigated through examining the ownership disputes surrounding Adolf Loo’s archive and through, ultimately, the author’s proposed real size copy of the Baker House.

© Nico Saieh
© Nico Saieh

The Book of Copies is a publishing project produced by San Rocco where participants are invited to produce a library through photocopying other books.

Architectural Dopplegängers, a project by a research cluster at the Architectural Association in London, presents a series of examples of existing architectural copies and their originals alongside texts that explore the strange narratives of the copy.

Cite: Basulto, David. "Venice Biennale 2012: Museum of Copying / FAT" 04 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 17 Sep 2014. <>

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