In Western thinking the notion of void, or emptiness is a usually considered a negative state of affairs, absence or lack of something. As an existential term emptiness, coupled with our contemporary condition with unforeseen wealth, is associated with the sensation of uneasiness and alienation in the midst of our plenty. This spiritual emptiness may be filled on its surface with busyness and entertainment, cultural hipness and formal styles. This obsessive behavior or fear of emptiness, well exploited by commercial interests, is a trap that enforces us to produce, to consume and to fill the seemingly meaningless gaps, rather than allowing things to evolve in a natural and sustainable way.
Only a heavier mental shock is able to place us again in the real reality where accepting and observing the indifferent emptiness around us is not a problem but rather part of the answer. Meanwhile in Eastern philosophies as in Taoism, attaining a state of emptiness is viewed as a state of stillness and placidity which is the ‘mirror of the universe’ and the ‘pure mind’. In Buddhist mantra ‘Form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form, the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness.’ Thus architecture is not just defined by its physical presence; but also by the condensation of stories of the encounter with the place. The space is 600 x 600 x 600 millimeters, defined by the floor and two walls of Sverre Fehn’s Nordic pavilion, and the bottom of the podium created especially for this exhibition by professor Juhani Pallasmaa. The space is empty, devoid of any designed objects, but still full of untold stories. Designed and submitted by Rintala Eggertsson Architects as part of the Nordic Pavilion for the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.