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Nico Saieh

Architect and Architectural Photographer based in Santiago, Chile


Infrastructure, Data and Progress: Ireland's Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

The Irish pavilion's response to the theme of the 2014 Venice Biennale captures the tumultuous history of the Ireland's past hundred years through ten infrastructural projects which highlight the country's progress. Ireland's relationship to the theme of "Absorbing Modernity" was colored by their independence from the United Kingdom in the early 1920s, with modernism and infrastructure seen as the way to leave this past behind. The pavilion examines the outcomes of this approach, with Ireland treated as "a launch-pad and testing ground" for everything from concrete infrastructure to data centers. Read the curators' take on their pavilion after the break. 

Inside "Places of Power": Austria's Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

The 20th Century was a time of significant political unrest, seeing two World Wars and the 70-year rise and fall of a major superpower, the Soviet Union, among countless other conflicts. In some ways, "modernity" could be characterized by the rapid creation and crystallization of huge numbers of nation states since the outbreak of World War One a hundred years ago.

The Empowerment of Aesthetics: Denmark's Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

Denmark's exhibition for the 2014 Venice Biennale focuses on the country's history as a pioneer in the development of a welfare state, and the role that architecture, in connection with art, literature and science had in creating an aesthetic manifestation of this 'better life for all'. By exploring the output of a range of fields in connection to a wider social movement, Empowerment of Aesthetics comes to a fuller understanding of how modernity affected architecture in Denmark.

Ideal/Real: The Argentine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

The Argentine pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale analyzes modernity in terms of the IDEAL and the REAL by looking at how the country has used “ideal” modern ideas to construct the reality of its cities.

The curators, Emilio Rivoira and Juan Fontana, structured the exhibit around eight periods, selecting cinema clips to represent the ideal and the real. 

Enjoy photos from the pavilion and read the description from the curators after the break. 

Rem Koolhaas' "Elements": Uncovering Architecture's Origins, Assuring Its Future

ArchDaily has been asking architects "What is Architecture?" for over 6 years. It's a question that few interviewees answer without hesitation or bristling. But after asking over 200 architects, we've noticed a pattern: even though many people start very similarly, the answers soon diverge in a way that demonstrates the promise of the profession. And no matter how architecture is defined, the strong majority of architects hold an underlying belief in its ability to influence. 

When the ArchDaily team visited the Venice Biennale and entered the Central Pavilion of the Giardini, home to the Elements exhibition, we saw it as a dynamic, immersive, exhaustive response to the question "What is Architecture?" Visitors to the Biennale are introduced to architecture through its elements--the pieces, parts and fundamentals that comprise built structures around the globe. 

When Koolhaas chose to focus on Elements, he produced a text (in both book and exhibition format) that gives us the tools to understand what architecture is and how is it has evolved (or stagnated). Even though he didn't invite people to show projects in the traditional sense, the AD editors saw a hopeful undertone to Elements -- it is a resource that can be revisited over and over again, one that will arm the current and future designers of our built world with the knowledge they'll need to address the issues they have yet to even confront.

After the break, see images of the exhibition and read Koolhaas' curatorial statement. 

Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh Library of Historial Elemental Studies of Architecture. Elements of Architecture. Image © Nico Saieh

Craftsmanship: Material Consciousness - Inside Indonesia’s Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2014

At its debut at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014, Indonesia offers a peek into the country’s past 100 years of architectural history in its pavilion: “Craftsmanship: Material Consciousness.” Moving images projected onto glass panels tell Indonesia’s story through the development of six materials, traced over time: wood, stone, brick, steel, concrete and bamboo. See images of the pavilion and enjoy a statement from the curators after the break.

Inside "Open: A Bakema Celebration" - The Dutch Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale

"We consider Bakema not so much an architect of buildings, but an architect of a new idea of what Holland could be--a new national identity, a new national landscape…with an architect in the center of this particular ambition." - Guus Beumer, co-curator of the Dutch Pavilion at the 14th Venice Biennale

Fogo Natural Park Venue / OTO

  • Architects: OTO
  • Location: Fogo, Cape Verde
  • Project Team: André Castro Santos, Miguel Ribeiro de Carvalho, Nuno Teixeira Martins, Ricardo Barbosa Vicente
  • Area: 3200.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Fernando Guerra | FG + SG

© Fernando Guerra | FG + SG © Fernando Guerra | FG + SG © Fernando Guerra | FG + SG © Fernando Guerra | FG + SG

China's Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2014: Mountains Beyond Mountains

From the Curators. By making space the manifestation of content and content an insight of the space, space and content are correlated in the China Pavilion in that content provides an explicit timeline of China’s 100 years’ of architectural thinking (dual theme threads), while space presents an implicit theme of Yi Xiang (imagery-scape) through the history of Chinese architecture.

"Visibility (Imposed Modernity)" - Kosovo's Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

"Poi piovve dentro a l'alta fantasmi." ("Then rained down within the high fantasy...") Dante Alighieri (Purgatorio XVII.25)

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Herzog & de Meuron, & Atelier Bow-Wow's "Stroll Through a Fun Palace" - Switzerland's Pavilion for the Venice Biennale 2014

"We often invent the future with elements from the past."

"Forms of Freedom: African Independence and Nordic Models" - The Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

From the Curators. The exhibition at the Nordic Pavilion has been titled FORMS OF FREEDOM: African Independence and Nordic Models. The exhibition explores and documents how modern Nordic architecture was an integral part of Nordic aid to East Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. The resulting architecture is of a scope and quality that has not previously been comprehensively studied or exhibited.

© Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh

The "Urban Interior" of Jimenez Lai's Biennale Pavilion for Taiwan

UPDATE: We've added our interview with Jimenez Lai.

Jimenez Lai
, leader of Bureau Spectacular and curator of Taiwan's Pavilion for the 2014 Venice Biennale, claims that "domesticity is possibly one of the origins of architecture" and that "the standardization of the domestic program was...a very modern development." Thus, Lai built nine single-program houses within the Palazzo della Prigioni, each dedicated to one specific domestic act--such as sleeping, eating, etc. The result is a vibrant, colorful response to Rem Koolhaas' unifying theme: "Absorbing Modernity."

Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan, delves into the part-to-whole relationship and political implications of our domestic lives. But Lai also believes that, from this relationship, we can learn something about the way that cities function. See more images from the exhibition and read on for the curator's statement.

House of Social Dining. Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan. Image © Nico Saieh Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan. Image © Nico Saieh House of Alchemy. Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan. Image © Nico Saieh House of Social Dining. Township of Domestic Parts: Made in Taiwan. Image © Nico Saieh

"Places of Memory" - Turkey's Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

From the Curators. Rather than conducting a historical account of modern epoch in Turkey, presenting an exhaustive catalogue, or trying to capture its unique local attributes, “Places of Memory” attempts to explore the main theme of the biennial via perceptions and experiences.

© Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh

"Lest We Forget" - UAE's Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

From the Curators. Responding to the theme ‘Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014’ set by the curator of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Rem Koolhaas, ‘Lest We Forget: Structures of Memory in the United Arab Emirates,’ presents the seminal findings of a larger initiative to archive the history of architectural and urban development in the UAE over the past century. With a concentrated emphasis on the 1970s-1980s, the exhibition examines how public and residential architecture, built within a rapidly expanding urban context, shaped the newly established federation and prepared the foundation for its emergence on a global stage.