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: Nordic Pavilion

Anttila Oiva Architects © Museum of Finnish Architecture and Ilari Järvinen
Anttila Oiva Architects © Museum of Finnish Architecture and Ilari Järvinen

In celebration of the Nordic Pavilion’s fiftieth anniversary, thirty-two architects born after the year 1962 have been invited to present a model of a conceptual “house” that reflects their personal philosophy of architecture at the 2012 Venice Biennale exhibition “Light Houses: On the Nordic Common Ground”. Eleven architects from Finland and Sweden, along with ten architects from Norway will each respond to the sobering economic constraints and diminishing environmental resources that challenge architects today. Contemporary Nordic architectural culture offers both exemplary approaches and significant constructed works addressing these challenging circumstances. The classic hallmarks of Nordic architecture – simplified form, frugal use of materials and sensitive treatment of daylight and the natural setting – embody the basic principles of responsible, sustainable architecture. Continue after the break to learn more.

Venice Biennale 2012: Finnish Pavilion presents “New Forms in Wood”

Kilden Performing Arts Centre; Kristiansand, Norway / ALA Architects  © Ivan Baan
Kilden Performing Arts Centre; Kristiansand, Norway / ALA Architects © Ivan Baan

Wood has always been Finland’s preferred building material, as both nature and the forest has long provided a livelihood and enduring source of inspiration for Finnish artists and architects. Now, with the use of modern technology and new treatment methods, Finnish architects are pushing the boundaries of this conventional material to unleash new creative potential. To celebrate the reopening of the newly restored, Alvar Aalto-designed Finnish pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale, “New Forms in Wood” will highlight the work of young Finnish architects who have used wood inventively in their recent works. Continue after the break to review the exhibition’s featured projects and architects.

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: “Álvaro Siza. Viagem sem Programa”

Ritratto di Álvaro Siza © Teresa Siza
Ritratto di Álvaro Siza © Teresa Siza

Recent award recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement and Portuguese master architect, Álvaro Siza, will be honored with an exhibition exclusively dedicated to his most personal aspects as one of the leading players in the international design scene at the 2012 Venice Biennale. The collateral event, “Álvaro Siza. Viagem sem Programa”, will feature an exclusive collection of 53 works, personally selected by the architect himself for this event, that were developed from travel notes and sketches. The exhibit will be organized in sequential order as a narration of Siza’s work in architecture and concept of life. It will be seen as “a succession of prospects, dreams, memories and the faces of unknown persons and friends encounters in that extraordinary “Journey without a plan”, which is life itself.” Continue after the break to learn more.

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

Images of the pavilion have yet to be released! © SPeeCH
Images of the pavilion have yet to be released! © SPeeCH

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. Continue reading for more.

Venice Biennale 2012: Arum preview / Zaha Hadid Architects

With their early work inspired by Russian Suprematism, Zaha Hadid Architects’ pays homage to the historical lineages of collective research that has led to the major works of today’s contemporary architecture at the 2012 Venice Biennale with the installation ‘Arum’. The pleated metal structure is derived from the work of German architect Frei Otto, who paved the way for material-structural form-finding processes. This installation is a response to David Chipperfield’s belief that the theme of ‘Common Ground’ is meant to “reassert the existence of an architectural culture, made up not just of singular talents but a rich continuity of diverse ideas united in a common history.”

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: Archipelago Cinema / Ole Scheeren

Courtesy of Buro Ole Scheeren
Courtesy of Buro Ole Scheeren

German-born and Beijing-based architect Ole Scheeren will reconstruct the wooden Archipelago Cinema within the old harbor basin Darsena Grande of the Arsenale, Venice’s historic shipyard, as an official collateral event for the 13th International Architecture Exhibition. This unique, floating architectural experience became wildly popular when it was first conceived for the Film on the Rocks Yao Noi festival in Thailand. Serving as a mobile stage for public events, the modular outdoor theater will feature a world premiere of the film Against All Rules. Continue after the break to learn more.

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. Mexico will exhibit thirteen projects that reveal the significance of contemporary Mexican culture of architecture in one of the most emblematic buildings in Venice, the Church of San Lorenzo, which they will restore as a contribution to Venice’s built heritage. Continue reading to learn more.

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. Continue after the break to learn more.

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: Uruguayan pavilion presents 'Panavision'

Uruguay has been invited to be one of the Latin American countries participating in the 2012 Venice Biennale. Located in a former warehouse of the Biennale, which has belonged to the Uruguayan State since 1960, the Uruguayan pavilion will present their curatorial proposal, Panavision – an exhibition that will feature six diverse and emergent Uruguayan practices that will not exhibit their work, but rather their practices as a way to spark a discussion on contemporary Uruguayan architectural agenda. The practices representing the young generation of architects for the 2012 Uruguayan pavilion are the following: