Venice Biennale 2012: Estonian exhibition looks into the fate of Linnahall

The Estonian exhibition for the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale investigates the relationship between time and space by discovering how venues once important have been abandoned and how these tendencies may carry on today and in the future. The exhibition poses a question as its title: “How long is the life of a building?”. The answer is sought based on the example of Linnahall – a dignified Modernist legacy in the heart of Tallinn that only a few decades ago was a renowned and requisite construction, yet is closed today. What’s happening to Linnahall speaks volumes in a more general context as well – similar tendencies are becoming prominent everywhere in the world where multitudes of architectural masterpieces less than 50 years old stand unused.

Venice Biennale 2012: Strelka Institute to host discussions on shaping tomorrow's cities

Russia’s leading creative think tank, Strelka Institute, is hosting a series of discussions with preeminent voices in architecture and urban design in the pre-opening days of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale. Inspired by the Biennale’s theme of Common Ground, the conversations will focus on how architecture and design can drive the physical, social and economic regeneration of urban environments. Using Russian cities as a starting point, the talks will explore wider issues in urban design around global metropoles. Featured speakers include OMA’s Reinier de Graaf, Teddy Cruz, Stefano Boeri, and more.

Venice Biennale 2012: “Lars Müller Publishers - Book Fever”

Courtesy of Lars Müller Publishers
Courtesy of Lars Müller Publishers

Join the authors and editors of Lars Müller Publishers for a rare book signing opportunity with architects Wang Shu, Sou Fujimoto, and Steven Holl on August 28th at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale! This event will kick off the exhibition Lars Müller Publishers – Book Fever, which will feature sixty publications – new releases, bestsellers, milestones from the past, and rare treasures – for the public to explore.

Founded thirty years ago, Lars Müller Publishers’ carefully edited and designed publications on architecture, design, and contemporary art has lead them to become a renowned international publisher. One milestone you may remember was their release of Peter Zumthor’s Works (1998), which was the first survey of the oeuvre of the architect now known worldwide that set new standards for the monograph as a book genre.

Continue after the break for more details on the book signing and exhibition.

Venice Biennale 2012: Greek Pavilion

Point Supreme Architects, Athens as an island.
Point Supreme Architects, Athens as an island.

The Greek pavilion for the 2012 Venice Biennale will focus on the particular dynamics of Athens during a period of economic meltdown by addressing the deterioration of Athenian urban space, plummeting standards of living, and the need to redefine the priorities of architectural design. Architects and creative groups have already begun to shape a new “common ground” within Athens. With the exhibition “Made in Athens”, the Greek pavilion aims highlight these positive forces emerging during this crucial present moment in an effort to foreshadow a better future for the city and its architecture.

Continue after the break to learn more about “Made in Athens”.

Venice Biennale 2012: ‘Freeland’ and 'Porous City' / MVRDV + the why factory

Freeland / MVRDV and The Why Factory
Freeland / MVRDV and The Why Factory

By invitation of Director David Chipperfield, MVRDV and The Why Factory will participate in the 2012 Venice Biennale. The main contribution consists of the collaborative project ‘Freeland’ forming part of the single exhibition in the Central Pavilion at the Giardini. Further contribution is made by Winy Maas and The Why Factory with ‘Porous City’ to the EU CITY Program, initiated by the European Forum for Architectural Policies (EFAP) representing Europe for the first time at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

More details on the two exhibitions after the break.

Venice Biennale 2012: Danish Pavilion presents 'Possible Greenland'

Migrating. Sports Plaza, Winter / Possible Greenland; Courtesy of DAC
Migrating. Sports Plaza, Winter / Possible Greenland; Courtesy of DAC

The Danish Pavilion for the 2012 Venice Biennale will feature a collaboration between Greenlandic and Danish Architects called “Possible Greenland”. The exhibition will address the current development of the Arctic Region as Greenland undergoes a shift towards political independence and business development in the midst of dramatic climate changes. “Possible Greenland” attempts to look optimistically at the climate changes that are causing ice melts throughout Greenland. The shifting planes result in the exposure of vast mineral resources that can kickstart new industries and allow new urban cultures to emerge.  The team of architects that designed “Possible Greenland” were led by internationally renowned Professor in geology at the University of Copenhagen, Minik Rosing and the young Danish architect firm NORD Architects of Copenhagen.

Explore the possibilities with us after the break.

Venice Biennale 2012: StudioMK27 represents Brazil with "Peep"

Representing Brazil at the 2012 Venice Biennale will be StudioMK27 and Lúcio Costa‘s 1964 installation “Riposatevi”.  The exhibit takes an intimate look at the lives of multi-generational households in modern Brazilian architecture.  Curated by Lauro Cavalcanti, the Brazilian pavilion will investigate the intersections between traditional and contemporary artistic tendencies and will feature the movie installation, “Peep”, by Lea Van Steen and Marcio Kogan, with photography by Cleisson Vidal.  The event will take place between August 29th and November 25th in the Giardini and Arsenale buildings in Venice.

More after the break. 

Venice Biennale 2012: Russian pavilion presents Innovation city "Skolkovo"

Inspired by the great potential of advanced information technology providing architectural solutions, the Russian pavilion of the 2012 Venice Biennale will feature the innovation city of Skolkovo. Skolkovo is one of the largest, most innovative Russian projects of today and has been worked on by many international architects, including Biennale director David Chipperfield. The exhibition will allow visitors to enter into the world of innovation city and use the newest IT-technologies to contribute to the research. Over the Biennale’s three month period, participants will be able to watch the exhibit’s virtual city of Skolkovo evolve as each international visitor leaves their mark.

Venice Biennale 2012: Poland Pavilion

The Poland Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale will feature a design exploration into the interaction between sound and architecture in creating our environment.  The project, by Katarzyna Krakowiak, is a sound sculpture that presents architecture as a primary system of listening.  The sculpture collaborates with neighboring pavilions and echos the sounds that reach the Polish Pavilion, highlighting its acoustic qualities.  The exhibit will be on view from August 29th through November 29th.

Venice Biennale 2012: Mexico Pavilion restores Venetian Church

One of the main idea’s behind the 2012 Venice Biennale’s “Common Ground” theme, as stated by director David Chipperfield, is “to reinforce our understanding of architectural culture, and to emphasize the philosophical and practical continuities that define it”. With the exhibition “Culture Under Construction | The Collectivity of Cultural Space”, Mexico aims to develop an understanding of the distinct contribution that architecture can make to define the collectivity of cultural spaces while strengthening the connection between existing buildings and emerging architecture.

Venice Biennale 2012: Dutch Pavilion

Collage Re-set, new wings for architecture. Inside Outside / Petra Blaisse, 2012 - Image courtesy of NAi
Collage Re-set, new wings for architecture. Inside Outside / Petra Blaisse, 2012 - Image courtesy of NAi

The social issues of today has changed the course of architecture. Once “good” architecture spawned from untouched sites and endless budgets; now, the trend is shifting more towards affordable and sustainable alternatives, such as adaptive reuse. As the epidemic of vacant buildings continues to flourish, the creators of the Dutch pavilion for the 2012 Venice Biennale continuously work to evolve their understanding of these desolate spaces and offer an array of possibilities that can successfully reanimate them.

Curated by Ole Bouman, Director of the Netherlands Architecture Insitute (NAi), the Dutch exhibition Re-set, Inside Outside / Petra Blaisse will remain in constant flux as a “mobile, tactile intervention” visually transforms the 1954 vacant building of the Dutch pavilion throughout the entire length of the Biennale.

Continue reading to learn more.

Venice Biennale 2012: Taiwan Pavilion

Courtesy of The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
Courtesy of The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

For Taiwan’s seventh year at the Venice Biennale, the Taiwanese team will present Architect/Geographer – Le Foyer de Taiwan. The exhibition will embody the main theme of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale which is “Common Ground”. The aspects of Taiwanese culture and architecture will be presented through the perspective of a geographer as mapping that can uncover a new understanding of Taiwan through international eyes. The team is supervised by the Ministry of Culture, organized by the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, and curated by Ke-Fung Liou. The exhibit will be displayed at Palazzo delle Prigioni.

Follow us after the break for more on the exhibit.

Venice Biennale 2012: British Pavilion presents "Venice Takeaway"

Although the UK has not shortage of architectural talent,Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture responds to David Chipperfield’s ‘Common Ground’ theme for the 2012 Venice Biennale by seeking out imaginative responses to universal issues worldwide in an ambitious global research project. The British Council sent ten architectural teams around the world to research inspiring places and subjects that could generate discussion on what is great architecture while injecting new ideas into the UK. The Venice Takeaway exhibition charts the course of these teams and shares the ideas they discovered throughout Argentina, Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand and the USA.

Venice Biennale 2012: Serbian Pavilion

Serbian Pavilion © Marija Strajnić
Serbian Pavilion © Marija Strajnić

As a response to David Chipperfield’s “Common Ground” theme for the 2012 Venice Biennale, the authors of the Serbian Pavilion have created JEDAN:STO / 100 - an installation that brings the archetypical object of a table to its extreme meaning by stretching it to a monumental scale that allows its surface to overcome the rectangular interior of the pavilion. This “minimalistic gesture” breaks down the “common” table into a “plethora of metaphors” that initiates thinking and encourages visitors to observe what is happening around it.

Continue after the break for the an abstract by the project authors.

Venice Biennale 2012: Architecture Dolomiti Pavilion

Courtesy of Dolomiti Architetture
Courtesy of Dolomiti Architetture

Although the city is seen as a place of meetings and exchanges, many urban centers have become over-saturated with cars and car parks. This phenomenon has created a series of “non-places” that have claimed “common areas” from city dwellers. Occupying a space no larger than a typical parking spot, the Architettura Dolomiti Pavilion reflects on David Chipperfield’s “Common Ground” theme and explores ways on how to exploit these common areas currently occupied by parking places. This wooden pavilion reinterprets and reintroduces the “larin” – a traditional space found in the rural houses of Belluno where the family meets to eat, drink and share stories – in an effort to create an intimate space within the city that offers an escape and an opportunity for interaction amongst city dwellers. With this pavilion, Dolomiti Architetture explores the possibilities of “a new life free from cars” within the city center that also reflects their values of environmental sustainability by using disassemblability techniques, recycling methods and renewable raw materials.

The Architecture Dolomiti Pavilion is currently being occupied by the city dwellers of Belluno, Italy. Continue reading for the architects’ description.

Venice Biennale 2012: Wall house / Anupama Kundoo, University of Queensland

Photomontage by: Jessica Spresser
Photomontage by: Jessica Spresser

Anupama Kundoo‘s Wall House, originally built in Auroville, India in 2000, will be partially reconstructed at a 1:1 scale at the Venice Biennale this year for the theme of “Common Ground” by director David Chipperfield.  This portion of the exhibition is supported by the University of Queensland, whose students and staff will assist with the construction of the replica alongside Indian craftspeople and Italian builders.  The house has been described as a testing ground for spatial and technological innovation.  In its debut at the Venice Biennale, it will afford Kundoo the opportunity to further explore these experiments.

Follow us after the break to see the innovations behind this widely acknowledged piece of architecture.

Venice Biennale 2012: Aircraft Carrier / Israeli Pavilion

Aircraft Carrier: The Textile Compound, Tel Aviv by Fernando Guerra; Courtesy of Aircraft Carrier
Aircraft Carrier: The Textile Compound, Tel Aviv by Fernando Guerra; Courtesy of Aircraft Carrier

This year’s Venice Biennale will kick off on August 29th and run through November 25th and will feature a pavilion from Israel called “Aircraft Carrier”.  The collected work confronts the dramatic changes in Israeli architecture since 1973, and the American influences that made them possible.  The curators of the exhibit, Erez Ella, Milana Gitzin-Adiram and Dan Handel defined four major architectural phenomena that epitomize these changes:  Signals, Emporiums, Allies and Flotillas.  The curators invited five leading Israeli and international artists and architectural photographers to reflect on these ideas.  Participants include Assaf Evron, Fernando Guerra, Florian Holzherr, Nira Pereg, and Jan Tichy and product designer Tal Erez.

Stop by after the break to see some of the work to be featured as part of “Aircraft Carrier”.

Venice Biennale 2012: Catalan and Balearic Islands Pavilion

Restoration of Can Ribas Factory / Jaime J. Ferrer Forés; © José Hevia
Restoration of Can Ribas Factory / Jaime J. Ferrer Forés; © José Hevia

This year’s Venice Biennale will kick off on August 29th and run through November 25th and for the first time, the Institut Ramon Llull will be presenting an exhibition dedicated to Catalan and Balearic architecture entitled “Vogadors”, featuring nine projects from nine different architects that epitomize the contemporary and avant-garde works from the regions. The exhibition is inspired by the Mediterranean Sea, which is the main geographical feature of the regions, and by the words of Jorge Oteiza, “He who forges ahead creating something new does so like an oarsman, moving forward but back-paddling, looking behind him, towards the past, towards what exists, so as to be able to reinvent its underpinnings.”

Follow us after the break to see the projects to be featured at the exhibit.

La Seca / Meritxell Inaraja; © Wenzel
Home for Three Sister in Bullas / Blancafort Reus Arquitectura; © David Frutos House in Bunyola / Francisco Cifuentes; © José Hevia School of Art and Design in Amposta / David Sebastian and Gerard Puig; © Adrià Goula