“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
Guus Beumer and Drik van den Heuvel, curators of “Open: A Bakema Celebration,” sat down to speak with us about this year’s Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. With the help of graphic designers Experimental Jetset, Beumer and van den Heuvel created an emblematic, stripped-down, research-focused display of a particularly Dutch idea: the “Open Society.” This was all conveyed within and around a 1:1 model of architect Jaap Bakema’s Lijnbaan Shopping Centre (Rotterdam 1954), constructed within the Netherlands Pavilion.
The hope, as Dirk van den Heuvel explains, is that “the elements of Bakema…may be useful, inspiring for our own practices today. Elements that he developed in questions to housing, planning, modernizing… I think when you come here you will recognize that there’s lots of affinities, interesting things that we still work with and that we will work with in the future.”
After you watch the video, make sure to read the curator’s statement, and see images of the pavilion, after the break.
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.
“Poi piovve dentro a l’alta fantasmi.” (“Then rained down within the high fantasy…”) Dante Alighieri (Purgatorio XVII.25)
From the Curators. Kosovo has never absorbed modernity. Modernity has been a synonym of destruction and foreign aesthetics.
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
From the Curators. Within the Biennale’s context of re-examining the fundamentals of architecture over the past century, the Swiss Pavilion focuses on the English architect Cedric Price (1925–2003) and the Swiss sociologist Lucius Burckhardt (1934–2003), two great visionaries whose work resonates with and continues to inspire the new generations of the 21st century.
Both were serial inventors. The trans-disciplinary cultural centre designed by Price, Fun Palace, for example, which was never realized, is emblematic of our own era. It lends itself more to the choreography of 21st century time-based exhibitions than to the object-based displays of the 20th century; it fosters a more communal experience, largely free to operate outside its material limits, and ventures into other realms of human experience. In Price’s own words, “a 21st century museum will utilize calculated uncertainty and conscious incompleteness to produce a catalyst for invigorating change whilst always producing the harvest of the quiet eye”.1
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.
From the Curators. The exposition with the project title Unwritten highlights issues regarding the perception, research, and conservation of Latvian post-War architecture. Unwritten chronicles, in fact, inexistent research on this.
Design Consultant: Herzog & de Meuron
Location: Rua Camaragibe – Mãe Luíza, Natal – Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil
Executive Architects: Plantae
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Ascan Mergenthaler (Partner in Charge), Markus Widmer
Project Team: Tomislav Dushanov (Associate, Project Director), Mariana Vilela (Project Manager), Melissa Shin, Diogo Rabaça Figueiredo, Kai Strehlke (Digital Technologies), Edyta Augustynowicz (Digital Technologies), Daniel Fernández Florez
Client: Ameropa Foundation, Binningen, Switzerland, Centro Sócio Pastoral Nossa Senhora de Conceição, Natal, Brazil
Area: 1964.0 sqm
Photographs: Iwan Baan