On May 28, Beirut-based firm 109 Architectes unveiled Notes on a Tree at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. The interactive installation is part of the GAA Foundation’s annual “Time – Space – Existence” exhibition and commemorates Lebanon’s lost public spaces.
Notes on a Tree tackles the role of the architect in countries like Lebanon, where developers often dictate urban planning. The firm uses its own projects as examples of successes and disappointments in preserving public space, which is symbolized by specific trees. Some trees were saved and some were lost, but each one represents a community’s history and collective memory.
The Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in Ljubljana, Slovenia has announced that the project, Home at Arsenale, will be presented in the Slovenia Pavilion at the 15th International Biennale in Venice.
The project, curated by Aljosa Dekleva and Tina Gregoric, responds to the Biennale’s title, Reporting From the Front, by creating a "curated library" that addresses topics of home and dwelling as social and environmental issues.
On the eve of the Venice Biennale, The New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman sits down with Alejandro Aravena in an intimate profile for T Magazine’s Beauty Issue. Visiting a number of projects by the architect and his office, Elemental, Kimmelman experiences socially minded architecture in an age of informal growth, income inequality, and mounting threats linked to climate change, all while learning about Aravena’s own path and growth as a practitioner. Although told by colleagues that he might be standoffish, Kimmelman finds Aravena to be “earnest, open, a little nerdy –– and deadly serious.”
An installation of nearly 100 books in the James Stirling-designed Book Pavilion at the Venice Biennale serves as a collection of documents that asks us to consider how climate intersects with architectural ideas.
Few have ever considered what the Giardini—the park of national pavilions for the Art and Architecture Biennales in Venice—is like during the winter months. In light of the fact that, during their "off-season," the gardens are often left in a state of disrepair,RAAAF—a Dutch multidisciplinary studio based in Amsterdam, alongside architect Marcel Moonen—have proposed a series of installations in an attempt to "reclaim valuable public space" which sits at the heart of an often overcrowded city.
Three were originally invited to draw up plans for a ‘Nordic’ pavilion: the Finnish partnership Reima and Raili Pietilä, Sverre Fehn from Norway, and the Swede, Klas Anshelm. Following the selection of Fehn’s proposal in 1959, Gotthard Johansson wrote in the Svenska Dagbladet of the project’s “stunning simplicity [...], without too many architectural overtones” – a proposal for a space able to unite a triumvirate of nations under one (exceptional) roof.
Detroit Resists has released a statement questioning the ambition of the US Pavilion’s “The Architectural Imagination” exhibition at the 2016 Venice Biennale. The exhibition consists of twelve teams of designers who will present newly speculative projects that can be applied not only to various sites in Detroit, but also to other cities around the world. Yet while the exhibition aims to understand Detroit’s political, social, economic, and environmental context so that “the power of architecture” can be of service to the community of Detroit, Detroit Resists’ statement claims that in the past this “architectural power” has been indifferent to the political context.
“This architectural power has been manifestly apparent in architecture’s recruitments against indigenous, impoverished, marginalized, and precarious communities across the globe, usually in the name of “development” or “modernization” in the second half of the 20th century,” reads the statement.
Designed by Odile Decq and Benoit Cornette, the BPO Building in Montgermont, France is now being threatened by a demolition permit. Inaugurated in 1990 and having won no less than 12 awards in its lifetime - including a Golden Lion at the 1996 Venice Biennale - the building has been widely lauded for its technical innovations, including a double-glazed suspended façade and panoramic elevators. It has appeared as the focus of theses internationally, and is featured at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine and Palais de Chaillot, illustrating its pivotal role in architectural growth. It was one of the first buildings in the 90s to demonstrate an acute response to the quality of workplaces, and stands as an example of conscious, thoughtful design.
A temporary pavilion designed by London-based firm Adjaye Associates is housing a selection of works for the 56th International Art Exhibition, "All the World's Futures," in Venice. Curated by Okwui Enwezor, the exhibition explores the numerous ways in which art can be experienced in "an unfolding of typologies." Adjaye Associate's temporary museum seeks to parallel Enwezor's curatorial vision, and is nestled within a 316-meter-long, 16th-century ship-building warehouse in the Arsenale district.
Earlier this year San Rocco, recipients of the inaugural Icon Award for Emerging Architectural Practice of the Year in 2013, published a limited single-edition run of a new publication: the San Rocco Book of Copies. Within five volumes of 4120 pages lies what they describe as "a database comprised of images that may be copied in order to produce architecture; a receptacle of a collective form of knowledge that we can provisionally call 'architecture'."
Australia’s new pavilion for the Venice Biennale has been officially completed by the Australia Council for the Arts. Designed by Australian practice Denton Corker Marshall, the granite-clad building is the first pavilion to be built in Venice in the 21st century, and replaces Philip Cox’s 1988 structure. The pavilion is to welcome its first visitors from May 9, as part of the 56th International Art Exhibition, with the work of artist Fiona Hall comprising its inaugural exhibition.
Learn more about the pavilion and view selected images after the break.
A ClockworkJerusalem, the exhibition showcased in the British Pavilion at last year's Venice Biennale, will make it's UK debut at London's Architectural Association (AA) next month. Commissioned by the British Council and curated by Sam Jacob, co-founder of FAT, and Wouter Vanstiphout, partner at Dutch practice Crimson Architectural Historians, the exhibition shines a light on the large scale projects of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s by exploring the "mature flowering of British Modernism at the moment it was at its most socially, politically and architecturally ambitious - but also the moment that witnessed its collapse."
Lateral Office'sArctic Adaptations exhibition, which was recognised with a Special Mention at the 2014 Venice Biennale, will travel make its debut in Canada at the Winnipeg Art Gallery this week before heading to Whitehouse, Vancouver, and Calgary. The exhibition "surveys a century of Arctic architecture, an urbanising present, and a projective near future of adaptive architecture in Nunavut" though interactive models, photography, and topographical maps of the twenty five communities of the area, as well as Inuit carvers’ scale models of some of the most recognised buildings in the territory. In addition, it proposes a future of adaptive and responsive architecture for Canada's northern territories.
Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaasrevealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas' earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”
In June of this year seven architecture students came together to film the vernissage of the Venice Biennale. Undaunted by the unrelenting Venetian sun and the prospect of being faced by some of the world's greatest living architects and curators, the team - spanning four nationalities - spent three days feverishly talking to anyone and everyone (in between pasta and espresso breaks). Having built up a comprehensive picture of the opening days of the Biennale in a series of short, uninhibited filmed interviews, Mies. TV proudly presents their alternative, slightly shaky coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale.
In this extended interview between Bernard Tschumi and The Architectural Review's Paul Finch, the pre-eminent Swiss-born architect discusses his education, writing, design and wider critical position. Speaking candidly, Tschumi explains how a visit to Chicago when he was seventeen years old sparked a life-long passion for architectural design - something that had been somewhat repressed due to his father who was, at that time, one of the world's most highly respected architects. His friendship with British architect and theorist Cedric Price led to the start of a career that saw his proposals for Paris's Parc de la Villette foreshadow the age of Deconstructivism. Ending with his take on the future of the profession, Tschumi also offers advice to students and young practices looking to make their mark.
House Housing, "An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Nineteen Episodes", was recently exhibited at Columbia University'sCasa Muraro in Venice. Staged as an "open house" organised and funded by the Buell Center, the exhibition responded unsolicited to Rem Koolhaas's call to exhibitors at the 2014 Venice Biennale to focus on Fundamentals by exploring housing in nineteen "discrete episodes." In narrating these episodes, brought together from across the last one hundred years in a mixture of domestic media, the exhibition brought together a collection of excerpts from global processes.
Arguing that the previous thirteen Biennales have, "more or less, tried to predict what is going to happen over the next five years," "Rem Koolhaas has changed the paradigm:" Rem's Biennale is about "the past of the present". Jencks, who describes Koolhaas as "the Corbusier of our time", suggests that his Biennale is about analysis rather than total synthesis. He has, however, "shown that research can be creative."