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Monocle 24's 'Section D' Reports from 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 24 June, 2016

In the latest edition of Section DMonocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, Chiara Rimella reports from the Veneto in northern Italy for a report on the best at the 15th International Architecture Biennale – La Biennale di Venezia. Covering Aravena's central exhibitions, Reporting From the Front, and the designers and curators of the 61 national pavilions, the show seeks to understand how architecture can tackle some of the pressing social and political concerns of our time.

Spotlight: Alejandro Aravena

06:00 - 22 June, 2016
Spotlight: Alejandro Aravena, Innovation Center UC - Anacleto Angelini. Image © Nico Saieh
Innovation Center UC - Anacleto Angelini. Image © Nico Saieh

As founder of the “Do Tank” firm ELEMENTAL, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena (born on June 22, 1967) is perhaps the most socially engaged architect to receive the Pritzker Prize. Far from the usual aesthetic-driven approach, Aravena explains that “We don’t think of ourselves as artists. Architects like to build things that are unique. But if something is unique it can’t be repeated, so in terms of it serving many people in many places, the value is close to zero.” [1] For Aravena, the architect’s primary goal is to improve people's way of life by assessing both social needs and human desires, as well as political, economic and environmental issues.

Video: Living with History in the Russian Pavilion of the 2016 Venice Biennale

15:30 - 21 June, 2016

In his latest video, Jesús Granada visits the Russian Pavilion, “VDNh”, at the 2016 Venice Biennale. In the clip, viewers are introduced to the pavilion’s curator, Sergey Kuznetsov, who explains that “VDNh” is an acronym for a large area of Moscow known as Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva or Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy. Kuznetsov describes the territory as “[an] advertisement for the Soviet Union lifestyle…[meant] to meld lots of people and one nation."

Inside "The Baltic Pavilion" at the 2016 Venice Biennale

07:00 - 20 June, 2016
Inside "The Baltic Pavilion" at the 2016 Venice Biennale, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.

Architecture deals not only with form. It is about data and material flows, the organization of resources, the mobilization of capacities; it organizes not only static things, but it is also a design of processes. It would be great to understand architecture as an agent with which to communicate processes of material space for the public in a coherent way. Architecture has great tools to present and explain assemblies in sections – plans, maps; architects are capable of processing quite complex flows of information.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +13

A Floating Timber Pavilion Takes Center Stage at Manifesta 11 in Zurich

06:00 - 20 June, 2016
A Floating Timber Pavilion Takes Center Stage at Manifesta 11 in Zurich, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

On June 11th, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, also known as Manifestabegan its 100-day stint in this edition's host city, Zurich, Switzerland. The festival's center-piece is a timber raft floating on Lake Zurich, known as the Pavilion of Reflections. The temporary structure was designed and realized by Studio Tom Emerson and a team of thirty students from ETH Zurich. Constructed primarily of timber, Christian Jankowski, curator of Manifesta 11, describes the exhibit “as a floating multi-functional platform with a giant LED screen, a stand for spectators, a swimming pool and a bar.”

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +14

Gallery: Wolfgang Buttress' Relocated Expo Pavilion, The Hive, Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

06:30 - 19 June, 2016
Gallery: Wolfgang Buttress' Relocated Expo Pavilion, The Hive, Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

Wolfgang Buttress’ The Hive, a Gold Medal-winning UK Pavilion originally built for the 2015 Milan Expo, has been relocated to the Kew botanical gardens in central London. The striking (and photogenic) "beehive" was designed by the British practice to provide visitors with a glimpse into the life of a working bee; its 169,300 individual aluminium components—reaching 17-meters tall and fitted with hundreds of LED lights—created a multi-sensory experience that shed light on the importance of the pollinator. Following its relocation, photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has turned his lens to this installation and its new home.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +23

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro Meets Aldo / Inside Portugal's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

09:30 - 18 June, 2016
NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro Meets Aldo / Inside Portugal's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro meets Aldo / Curators Nuno Grande and Roberto Cremascoli. Portuguese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu.
NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro meets Aldo / Curators Nuno Grande and Roberto Cremascoli. Portuguese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu.

As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.

As a response to the 15th International Architecture Exhibition’s challenging theme, Portugal presents a “site-specific” pavilion, occupying an urban front in physical and social regeneration on the island of Giudecca: Campo di Marte. In actual fact, the installation of the pavilion on-site triggered the completion of Campo di Marte’s urban project designed by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza thirty years ago. 

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro meets Aldo / Curators Nuno Grande and Roberto Cremascoli. Portuguese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu. NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro meets Aldo / Curators Nuno Grande and Roberto Cremascoli. Portuguese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu. NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro meets Aldo / Curators Nuno Grande and Roberto Cremascoli. Portuguese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu. NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro meets Aldo / Curators Nuno Grande and Roberto Cremascoli. Portuguese Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Images © Laurian Ghinitoiu. +16

The Worst Thing About the 2016 Venice Biennale Was the Response of its Sanctimonious Critics

09:30 - 16 June, 2016
The Worst Thing About the 2016 Venice Biennale Was the Response of its Sanctimonious Critics, "Reporting from the Front" Arsenale Exhibition. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
"Reporting from the Front" Arsenale Exhibition. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

To many, it might seem that the goals of Alejandro Aravena's 2016 Venice Biennale—as he describes it, "to understand what design tools are needed to subvert the forces that privilege the individual gain over the collective benefit"—are beyond reproach. In spite of these aims, a number of commentators nevertheless have emerged, perhaps led most vocally by Patrik Schumacher, criticizing the biennale. In this article, originally published on The Architecture Foundation's website as "Holier than thou," Phineas Harper responds to those criticisms.

The most surprising turn of the 2016 Venice Biennale was not the exhibition itself, but the reaction of its critics. Within hours of kick-off, the internet was filling up with derogatory mutterings of the show being '"worthy," "moralizing," "holier than thou’," "earnest," "’virtue-signaling" and "right on" (which apparently is an insult). The architectural Twitterati, it seemed, were unimpressed.

But what exactly were they hating on? The biennale principally exhibited practices which saw some form of suffering in the world and, through their work, in way or another, were trying to lessen it. How did such a compassionate brief generate such a miserly push-back?

NLÉ's Makoko Floating School at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Gabinete de Arquitectura’s “Breaking the Siege” – Winner of the Golden Lion. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu UNFINISHED, curated by Iñaqui Carnicero & Carlos Quintáns, the winner of the Golden Lion for a national contribution (Spanish Pavilion). Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu In Therapy, curated by David Basulto and James Taylor Foster (Nordic Pavilion). Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu +16

Gallery: Herzog & de Meuron's Tate Modern Extension Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

10:15 - 15 June, 2016
Gallery: Herzog & de Meuron's Tate Modern Extension Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

Herzog & de Meuron's ten-storey extension to London's Tate Modern, which officially opens to the public this week, is the latest in a series of ambitious building projects pursued by the internally renowned gallery of contemporary art. Sitting above The Tanks, the world's first dedicated galleries for live art and film installations, the building's pyramidical form provides 60% more exhibition space for the institution. Two days before its doors welcome art-lovers from around the world, photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has captured a collection of unique views on this highly anticipated addition to London's skyline.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +46

Aravena's "Reporting From The Front" Is Nothing Like Koolhaas' 2014 Biennale—But It's Equally as Good

09:30 - 14 June, 2016
Aravena's "Reporting From The Front" Is Nothing Like Koolhaas' 2014 Biennale—But It's Equally as Good, The "Reporting From the Front" exhibition. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
The "Reporting From the Front" exhibition. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

As director of the 2016 Venice Biennale, Alejandro Aravena has sought to shift the very grounds of architecture. Rather than an inward-looking interrogation of the profession's shortcomings, as Rem Koolhaas undertook in 2014, the Chilean Pritzker Prize-winner asks us to gaze in the opposite direction—to the vast swathes of the built horizon that traditionally lay beyond the profession's purview: urban slums, denatured megacities, conflict zones, environmentally compromised ports, rural villages far off the grid.

"We believe that the advancement of architecture is not a goal in itself but a way to improve people’s quality of life," states Aravena in his introduction to event. In other words, his biennale does not ask what architecture ought, yet often fails, to be, but rather what it could, yet often forgets, to do.

The "Reporting From the Front" exhibition. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Gabinete de Arquitectura's contribution to the "Reporting From the Front" exhibition. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Vo Trong Nghia's contribution to the "Reporting From the Front" exhibition. Image © Francesco Galli The Spanish Pavilion. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu +13

Home Economics: Inside the British Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 14 June, 2016
Home Economics: Inside the British Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.

Britain is suffering from a terrible housing crisis – one that is an incredibly predictable outcome of decades of neoliberal economic policy. The Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena has become well-known for building “half a house” – only completing core infrastructure in social housing, then encouraging residents to finish the other half with their own money over time. In effect, the first generation get a significantly cheaper home, but once the house has been doubled it could be sold at market rate. The discount, and profit, only applies to the original owners.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +19

From Chile to the World: Reporting From the Venice Biennale 2016

06:00 - 10 June, 2016
Grupo Talca. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
Grupo Talca. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

In early March, at the Presidential Palace in Chile, a never before seen event took place for Chilean architecture. Architects, government officials as well as the media gathered for the first Venice Biennale press conference to be held in Spanish.

As the first South American selected to curate the Biennale, Alejandro Aravena was excited as he delivered the latest news on “Reporting from the Front,” the XV International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, which opened its doors to the public on May 28:

“The Biennale, the invited architects, as well as the curators, did not intend to do anything other than open a debate in which architecture can be used to improve quality of life through the sharing of knowledge. This debate holds more significance since we are speaking at the Presidential Palace because it conveys the message that these issues are important. Thank you so much for the opportunity and the chance to be here.”

The President’s presence at an event like this is a symbol that consolidates a chapter of progress and achievements in Chilean architecture. In the last two decades, Chilean architecture has positioned itself in the world as a force to be recognized, and Chilean architects are now obtaining international recognition, which would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

Interview with the Curators of the Golden Lion Awarded Spanish Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

14:45 - 8 June, 2016

This video is part of a partnership between ArchDaily and the Spanish photographer Jesús Granada. Granada's stock images of the Biennale can be obtained on his website, here. ArchDaily’s complete coverage of the 2016 Biennale can be found, here; with coverage focused on the Spanish Pavilionhere.

In an interview conducted by Jesús Granada, the curators of this year’s Spanish Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, Iñaqui Carnicero and Carlos Quintáns, discuss their reasoning and intentions for the Golden Lion awarded national pavilion’s design. Titled “Unfinished,” Quintáns describes the project’s influence as “the detection of reality that we show only through photography, of what happened (in Spain) after the housing bubble, first the real estate boom and then the crisis, and how we can offer solutions thanks to the many talented architects of the many projects which have been realized in Spain and have been partially obscured.” The pavilion answers Director Alejandro Aravena’s call for national pavilions that identify domestic responses to architectural dilemmas that could be the solutions for other places facing similar issues.

LifeObject: Inside Israel's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

12:00 - 8 June, 2016
© Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show. Here, Arielle Blonder, one of the curators (along with Dr. Ido Bachelet, Bnaya Bauer, Dr. Yael Eylat Van-Essen and Noy Lazarovich) of the Israeli Pavilion, gives us an insight into one of the exhibited works in the pavilion: LifeObject, "a freestanding structure inspired by a 3D scan of a bird's nest." The essay was originally published in LifeObject: Merging Biology and Architecture.

A matter of resilience: LifeObject is an architectural installation, which transposes the resilient properties of a bird’s nest, through scientific analysis, into a spatial form rich with new architectural perspectives. At the core of the installation are free-form volumetric airy surfaces undulating in space that are composed out of over 1500 slender and light components, inspired by twigs; relying on tension only, they form a light-weight, porous and resilient structure. The LifeObject combines smart, composite and biological materials in the formation of a ‘living structure’ that responds to its environment. Human presence around it triggers the opening of ‘cabinet de curiosités’, revealing a variety of innovative biological elements to visitors.

The LifeObject materializes a series of abstract ideas, preoccupations and potentials in present and future architectural field. The concepts proposed by the structure sketch alternative formal and structural languages informed by external disciplines. It hints at future applications and integration of biologically inspired materials that originate from various settings, scales and orientation.

Gallery: Frank Lloyd Wright's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Laurian Ghinitoiu

10:00 - 8 June, 2016
Gallery: Frank Lloyd Wright's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Laurian Ghinitoiu, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which opened in 1959, was controversial for being “less a museum than it is a monument to Frank Lloyd Wright.” Although Wright intended to display paintings on the curved interior walls of the central open space, the concave walls made it unworkable. Instead, the central atrium became a place for procession and the uncovering of space through movement. The continuous ramp overlooking the atrium allows people to interact from different levels.

Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu places people at the core of his photography which perhaps explains how, in this photoset of the Guggenheim Museum to mark Wright's 149th birthday, he captured the essence and vitality of the Guggenheim Museum. While some images depict the museum’s atrium as a place for passing-by, wandering or socializing, others grasp the growing influence of photography and self-representation on visitors’ experience. Some shots also show the building in its urban context with people involved in daily life activities.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +30

Gallery: The Serpentine Pavilion and Summer Houses Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

17:40 - 7 June, 2016
Gallery: The Serpentine Pavilion and Summer Houses Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

Earlier today, the 17th Serpentine Gallery Pavilion was unveiled with a press preview ahead of its public opening this Friday. With its 13-meter tall "unzipped wall" of square fiberglass tubes, the pavilion is an impressive presence in Hyde park, standing next to the single-story Serpentine Gallery. As described by Bjarke Ingels in his design statement, the pavilion is all about its visual effects from various angles - going from an expansive, transparent rectangle when viewed from the side, and an opaque, curving sculptural shape when seen from either end.

With so much visual intrigue, the project offers plenty to be explored through photography - and accordingly, photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu was there at the opening to investigate the project's visual effects. He also captured the pavilion's neighboring Summer Houses, by Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ, Barkow Leibinger, Yona Friedman and Asif Khan. Read on to see the gallery.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +72

Pezo von Ellrichshausen's Vara Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is a Maze of Circular Forms

16:20 - 7 June, 2016

Pezo von Ellrichshausen’s Vara Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Biennale is described by the architects as “a series of exteriors within other exteriors.” Breaking down this crypticness, what emerges is a maze-like complex of circles – ten of them – formed with steel, cement, and painted plaster, which collectively create a series of walls, but no roof, thus forming a pavilion that is open to the elements from above. The 324 square meter pavilion’s title, “vara,” refers to an imprecise and obsolete Spanish unit of measurement, that was employed during the country’s conquering of America to trace and measure cities. Each of circles of the Vara Pavilion is a diameter of the unit, ranging from two to eleven.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu +38

12 Things You Need to See at the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 6 June, 2016
"Reporting From the Front". Image © Italo Rondinella
"Reporting From the Front". Image © Italo Rondinella

There is an enormous intensity of information, knowledge and ideas on display at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, Reporting From the Front. With all the Executive Editors and Editors-in-Chief of ArchDaily's platforms in English, Spanish and (Brazilian) Portuguese in Venice for the opening of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale—plus co-founder David Basulto and European Editor-at-Large James Taylor-Foster, who curated this year's Nordic Pavilion—we've pooled together twelve of our initial favourite exhibitions and must-see shows.