Venice Biennale 2014: “Anatomy of the Wallpaper” to Present Layered History of Cyprus’ Capital

© Michael Hadjistyllis, Stefanos Roimpas / Anatomy of the Wallpaper (2014)

has been shaped by a tumultuous history. Power struggles between invaders, conquerors and colonial powers have all left indelible marks on the landscape, much of which can be witnessed in the island’s capital of Nicosia. 

Uncovering this history, the curators of Cyprus’ fifth participation at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale will expose the island’s layered past and the story of Nicosia in allegory form with the Anatomy of the Wallpaper. 

Learn more and read Cyprus’ full curatorial statement, after the break…

Venice Biennale 2014: UAE Unearths “Structures of Memory”

National House - My father’s friend Ahmed Abdulla Al Jassasi, Al Shahama, 1980; Courtesy of Houreya Naser Musabah Khamis Al Kalbani

Within the rapidly changing landscape of the United Arab Emirates, much of the nation’s vernacular and modern architecture is being quickly replaced by “iconic” contemporary structures. Despite this, many of the ’s previous landscape remains a vivid memory within the minds and mementos of its people.

Thus, for the UAE’s 2014 participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Lest We Forget: Structures of Memory in the United Arab Emirates will bring to light seminal projects of the last century that expose the transmission of architectural traditions in a way that addresses the nation’s current cultural identity. 

Preservation of pre-oil vernacular architecture and a special focus on 1970s and 80s modern architecture will both serve as highlights of the

The UAE’s full curatorial statement, after the break…

Venice Biennale 2014: NRJA to Establish First-Ever Database of Latvian Post-War Modernist Architecture

Restaurant “Sēnīte” (1967); Vidzeme highway 37.km / Linards Skuja, Andris Bite, G. Grīnbergs, R. Ozoliņš – Courtesy of The Museum of Architecture of Latvia

The architects of NRJA have been chosen to curate Latvia’s participation at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. Based on the assertion that “there is (no) modernism in Latvia,” the pavilion’s Unwritten will confront the lack of research and evaluation of Latvian post-war modernist architecture.

Venice Biennale 2014: The Evolution of Brazilian Architecture to be on Display

© Cristiano Mascaro

Chosen to curate the Brazilian contribution at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, diplomat and architecture critic André Aranha Corrêa do Lago has revealed plans for an that will chronologically illustrate the evolution of Brazilian architecture.

180 projects will be exhibited, all of which have either played a significant role in the country’s architectural evolution, such as the pre-Colombian (Indian shacks), vernacular constructions and baroque designs, or have displayed a strong international influence, like the Capanema Palace, Pampulha and Brasília. In addition to this, 50 important personalities, including Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi, and Paulo Mendes da Rocha, will be highlighted for their assistance in spotlighting the importance of Brazilian architecture.

Venice Biennale 2014: Dutch Pavilion to Rethink the Open Society

Housing scheme Lekkumerend in Leeuwarden , 1962, collection Het Nieuwe Instituut, BROX_1337t339- 1, Van den Broek en Bakema Architects

This year for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, the Dutch entry Open: A Bakema Celebration will reflect on the idea of an open society through the work and research of (1914-1981).

The Dutch architect, identified as a “compelling exponent of the Dutch welfare state,” was a leading voice within the international avant-garde movements CIAM (International Congresses of Modern Architecture) and Team 10. Inspired by the belief that “architecture should accommodate the emancipation of the masses while allowing for the self-realization of the individual citizen,” his portfolio includes some of the Netherlands’ most important postwar projects, such as the Rotterdam shopping street Lijnbaan.

Venice Biennale 2014: Japan Pavilion to Examine Radical Experiments of the 1970s

Pavilion Installation Image. Image © Keigo KOBAYASHI

The influence of Western civilization and the birth of modernization following World War II lead Japan to become the world’s second largest economy by 1968. With this came a host of problems, namely environmental pollution and the oil crisis, which triggered the reexamination of in Japanese architecture and a series of radical experiments by young architects that inevitably lead to a new vision of the city. 

Highlighting the work of these young architects, as well as historians, urban observers, artists and magazines of the 1970s, Japan’s participation at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale will spotlight the “independent, fundamentally innovative responses” that “unfolded a new fertile field of architecture” and revealed the “essential power” our profession has in the real world.

Sold! 100 Design Relics from Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, FLW and More

Alvar Aalto: Early cantilevered armchair with stepped base, model no. 31, designed for the Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Paimio, 1929-1933 (Sold for £23,750). Image Courtesy of Phillips

UPDATE: The auction has concluded and more than £5.6 million was made. Find out how much the famous, architect-designed relics went for after the break.

Next week, a rare collection of over 100 relics designed by some of architecture’s most significant practitioners from the last two centuries will be auctioned off at the Phillip’s in London. Ranging from a full-scale paper tea house by this year’s Pritzker laureate Shigeru Ban to the Peacock chair designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, the items being showcased and sold are an ode to the ideas in which have had a profound impact on our built environment.

An exhibition of the items, appropriately titled “The Architect,” is already underway, prior to the auction on April 29.

Works by Gerrit Rietveld, Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer are all available for purchase. Read on for a preview of the highlighted items…

Grimshaw Architects Merge Architecture and Industrial Design at Milan Furniture Fair

The lobby of the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows, New York. At this month’s Milan Fair, Grimshaw Architects collaborated on an exhibition with Poltrona Frau. The show included an augmented-reality app—first introduced on the cover of Metropolis in October 2012—that brings 2-D images to life. / © David Sundberg

Grimshaw Architects‘ dual focus on industrial and architectural design will be celebrated this month in a featured exhibit at Milan Furniture Fair. In this article, originally published by Metropolis under the title “Down to the Details,” author Ken Shulman presents the firm’s evolution in the context of the exhibit, touching on the projects being presented and more intriguingly — on how they are being presented.

Shortly after he joined Grimshaw Architects, Andrew Whalley was tasked with putting together an exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London. Titled Product + Process, the 1988 show was decidedly counter-current—a parade of pragmatic, largely industrial structures Grimshaw realized in the in the face of surging postmodern fervor. Featured projects included the transparent building the then 15-person firm designed to house the Financial Times’ London printing facilities, and a flexible, easily reconfigurable factory Grimshaw built for Herman Miller in Bath. But it wasn’t the selection of projects that caught the public eye. “We asked our clients to take apart pieces of their buildings, and then rebuild them for the exhibition,” says Whalley, now deputy chairman of Grimshaw. “This wasn’t a typical show of architectural drawings and models.”

Venice Biennale 2014: Dominican Republic Seeks Funding for “La Feria Concreta” Documentary

Fair of Peace and Fraternity of the Free World, Santo Domingo, (1955). Image © Archivo General de la Nación

Laboratorio de Arquitectura Dominicana (LAD), curators of the Dominican Republic’s first-ever Venice Architecture Biennale participation, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a short documentary that will reveal the daily life of La Feria. Originally built by brutal dictator Rafael Trujillo as a symbol of power and wealth, the 1950s fairground has transformed into an “architectural protagonist” within the city of Santo Domingo that serves various government bodies by day and illicit enterprises by night.

If successful, award-winning filmmaker Corinne van der Borch will capture the historic center’s dualistic nature, revealing untold stories about La Feria’s turbulent past as well as explore how its architecture changed the city.

Learn more and support the film here on Kickstarter!

US Pavilion Establishes Temporary Practice, Sets Agenda for the Future Production of Architecture

OfficeUS in U.S. Pavilion, Leong Leong, 2014. Image Courtesy of Leong Leong and Storefront for Art and Architecture

The curators of the U.S. Pavilion for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale has unveiled OfficeUS, a “radical experiment” that explores the ways in which “space, structures, and protocols of the U.S. architectural office” have influenced the construction of Modernity.

New York based architects Leong Leong, graphic designer Natasha Jen (Pentagram) and technology consultants at CASE have been commissioned to re-design the U.S. Pavilion in Venice’s Giardini as a modern architectural practice. Eight architects will be selected from an international open call to serve as the ad-hoc practice’s acting principles, collaborating with 90 satellite offices from around the world to revisit and re-envision historical projects from an onsite archive of 1,000 buildings so that they may construct an agenda for the future production of architecture.

Venice Biennale 2014: Romania Discusses Industrial Architecture as Generator of Modernity

Conceptual Cross Sections. Image Courtesy of the Romanian Pavilion

In Eastern Europe the assimilation of modernism proved a rather divergent process, correlated with tumultuous and contradictory socio-political events. The urban space suffered successive destructuring, caused by massive industrial insertions with direct impact at urban and demographic level.

Thus the Romanian Pavilion’s for the 2014 Venice Biennale, Site Under Construction will bring industrial architecture as generator of modernity into discussion. It suggests creating an initiatory journey from inter-war and socialist industrialization to post-industrial urban voids. Glory and void, past and present are mirrored and laid out to be contemplated, to raise awareness and be re-approached. Once industrial sites were closed down, the remaining locations became modern urban ruins, devoid of content, bare of utility, leaving behind an outer landscape, shattering and desolate.

Buy a Piece of the Royal Academy’s Sensing Spaces Exhibition

Eduardo Souto de Moura’s Square Arch. Image © James Taylor-Foster

London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is selling off parts of their blockbuster architectural exhibition, Sensing Spaces. The Great Architecture Fair will see the seven practices behind the enormous installations select objects and materials from the exhibition to be repurposed as beautiful, unique items available to buy. In addition to these, the RA are offering members of the public the chance to experience the spaces out-of-hours “to give you your own exclusive moment in the exhibition.” 

Ranging from a top step from Chilean architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen’s gargantuan installation for £450, to a bag of pebbles (plus certificate) from Li Xiaodong’s Zen Garden for £10, slices of one of the world’s most accessible architecture exhibitions in recent years are up for grabs.

Venice Biennale 2014: French Pavilion to Debate Modernism’s Successes and Failures

Though his Unite d’Habitation remains popular, many other mass housing projects inspired by Le Corbusier were less successful. Image © Vincent Desjardins

With Le Corbusier casting a long shadow over the last century of France‘s architectural history, it is not surprising that, faced with Rem Koolhaas‘s theme of ‘absorbing modernity’ at the 2014 Venice Biennale, the country might have a unique reaction.

Jean-Louis Cohen‘s initial proposal for the French Pavilion, titled “Modernity: Promise or Menace?” reflects this history: “since 1914 has not so much ‘absorbed’ modernity as it has shaped it with significant contributions made by French architects and engineers in order to meet the requirements of different segments of society. As is the case in many countries, modernity has had to come face to face with social reform and by doing so it has made great dreams such as quality housing and community services for all partially come to fruition. But this encounter has come about in a original way, also generating considerable anxiety.”

Read on after the break for more about the themes explored by the French Pavilion

Venice Biennale 2014: Austrian Pavilion Explores the Power of Parliament

Dalian International Conference Center / . Image © Duccio Malagamba

Parliament, “the place where the power of the people has found its home,” will be the focus of Austria’s contribution to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. With over 200 national parliament buildings from around the world modeled at a scale of 1:500, the , “Plenum. Places of Power.” will explore how the architecture of parliament connects to the public, influences national identify, and more. 

“The idea of democratic legitimation of power is so widespread today that no nation can do without building such a place, at least in name, for a representative popular assembly,” described commissioner Dr. Christian Kühn. “What do these places look like? And how are they connected to a public whose trust in democratic formation of will seems to be dwindling around the globe?”

Venice Biennale 2014: FAT, Crimson Explore the Foundation of British Modernism

Venice Biennale 2012: Museum of Copying / . Image © Nico Saieh

Curators FAT Architecture and Crimson Architectural Historians have released more details on this year’s British Pavilion for the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale. Responding to Rem Koolhaas’ theme, “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014,” A Clockwork Jerusalem will “explore the diverse cultural influences that shaped and were shaped by British in the post war era and over the last 100 years.”

“A Clockwork Jerusalem will offer the opportunity to explore and rethink fundamental aspects of British modernity, beyond architecture,” described Vicky Richardson, Director of Architecture, Design and Fashion at the British Council. “As the Venice Biennale evolves into a global research project, we are keen to make a significant contribution to the cultural debate around the past, present and future of UK and global architecture.”

More from the curators, after the break…

Venice Biennale 2014: Nordic Pavilion to Study Architecture’s Role in East African Independence

FORMS OF FREEDOM. Kenyatta International Conference Center, Nairobi, Kenya. 1966–1973. Architect: Karl Henrik Nøstvik.. Image © David Keith Jones

The National Museum in has been chosen to curate the Nordic Pavilion for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, in collaboration with the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design in Stockholm, and architectural firm Space Group. The , “FORMS OF FREEDOM: African Independence and Nordic Models” will study modern Nordic architecture’s role in the liberation of East Africa during the 1960s and 70s.

Inside the Homes of Eight Famous Architects

Shigeru Ban’s Tokyo house. Image © Hiroyuki Hirai

Originally published in Metropolis Magazine as “Inside the Homes and Workspaces of 8 Great Architects“, this article shows the spaces occupied by some of the best-known architects in the world. Documented for an exhibition that will be featured at the Milan Design Week 2014, the images give a glimpse inside the private worlds of some of our favorite designers.

It’s a cliche that architects have messy workspaces. From chaos comes creation, so the phrase goes. But an upcoming exhibition at this year’s Salone del Mobile intends to dispel the myth. Where Architects Live will present glimpses into the personal spaces of eight significant architects: Shigeru Ban, Mario Bellini, David Chipperfield, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, Zaha Hadid, Marcio Kogan, Daniel Libeskind and Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai.

Curator Francesca Molteni interviewed each of the designers in their private homes and came away with one finding: architects are actually quite tidy. The studios are all pristinely ordered; books are neatly stowed away, figurines and objets astutely displayed, and table tops swept clean. The photographs below are part of the exhibition materials, produced with the help of scenographer Davide Pizzigoni, which faithfully document the physical environments in images, video, and audio. These will be used to recreate the architects’ “rooms” at Salone del Mobile in April.

Where Architects Live is not limited to satisfying our curiosity about what these architects’ homes look like. Richard Rogers’ affirmation that “a room is the beginning of a city” resonates with the project’s aim in trying to articulate its subjects’ personal tastes and obsessions, and how those are reflected in their architectural work.

Read on to see more images of the inside of architects’ homes and studios

Critical Round-Up: ‘Sensing Spaces’ Strikes a Chord With Critics

© , , 2014. Photography: James Harris

As the most ambitious architecture exhibition hosted by the Royal Academy of Arts in a generation, Sensing Spaces was inevitably going to be under a lot of scrutiny from architecture and art critics. According to the Academy’s Chief Executive Charles Saumarez-Smith, the momentous exhibition “represents a shift away from postwar modern architecture where it was about problem solving, to thinking about architecture in terms of experience, material, light and space.”

Fortunately the exhibition seems to have struck a chord with critics, who have almost universally praised the exhibition’s premise and have, to varying extents, been highly complementary about the individual exhibits.

Read on after the break for a round-up of the critics’ opinions