Over 50 Leading figures from architecture, art, film and fashion – Including Norman Foster, the director of London’s National Gallery Nicholas Penny, the director of the Guggenheim Foundation Richard Armstrong, and Hollywood stars Cate Blanchett, Michael Douglas, Julie Christie, Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton and Rob Lowe – have signed a petition pleading Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Italian Minister of Culture and Tourism, Dario Franceschini to keep large cruise ships out of Venice.
The petition, created by the UNESCO-backed Association of the International Private Committees for the Safeguarding of Venice, says is a reaction to both the aesthetic intrusion caused by the cruise liners, but also what it believes is a “probable risk of catastrophe” due to the possible effects that such large ships could have on the fragile Lagoon surrounding Venice.
More on the cruise ship controversy after the break
The much anticipated Time Space Existence collateral event at Palazzo Bembo and Palazzo Mora for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale brought together a diverse group of 100 architects from six continents in an “extraordinary combination.” Summoned by the Dutch non-profit Global Arts Affairs Foundation, the exhibitions the architects were asked to produce documents current developments and thoughts in architecture, highlighting fundamental questions by discussing the philosophical concepts of Time, Space and Existence. Featuring well established architects next to lesser known practices, they all share a “dedication to architecture in the broadest sense of their profession.”
Re-Creation is a two-part installation based on a concept by Anssi Lassila. One part of the installation was constructed by a Finnish master carpenter and his team, and the other by a Chinese team. Together the two parts of the installation strike up a subtle and complex dialogue between the architects and local builders.
Presented by the pavilion designed by Alvar Aalto in 1956, the installation “takes a stand on our relationship with the modern legacy and its tradition of international dialogue, and represents a quintessential product of topical international dialogue while at the same time offering its own unique interpretation of the dynamic between tradition and modernity.” See images of the pavilion and enjoy a statement from the curators after the break.
Germany’s contribution to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale scrutinizes the architecture of representation, its crisis, and potential cessation. Aside from the universal ambition of modernism to break with the past, Germany has undergone a number of decisive political and societal breaks during the last hundred years. Through the question of how the nation “(re)builds and represents itself through architecture, we are able to discuss the friction between national identity and architecture expression—however, architecture is not only a mirror to ideology, but a constituting reality and societal context.”
Architects: O-office Architects
Location: Cannaregio, 30121 Venice, Italy
Architect In Charge: Jianxiang HE & Ying JIANG
Design Team: Thomas ODORICO, Yang LIU
Area: 390.0 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Interpress Photo & O-office
Dutch practice Bekkering Adams Architecten, in cooperation with ABT and BeersNielsen, recently unveiled an installation at the Palazzo Mora, Venice as part of a collateral event with this year’s Venice Biennale. Entitled Form-ContraForm, the sculptural piece reflects on the conceptual and human perception of space – something which they describe as “a space that surrounds and envelops.” Distilling architecture’s fundamentals (which is also the theme of this year’s Biennale) down to the definition of co-ordinates in space, the experience created by Bekkering Adams is akin to the notion of “the mass versus the cavity.”
In this extended interview by the Architectural Review, Charles Jencks provides an in-depth description of the 2014 Venice Biennale and critiques his former student Rem Koolhaas’ overall curation and theme: Fundamentals.
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.”
Australia’s new pavilion for the 2015 Venice Art Biennale will be, in the words of featured artist Fiona Hall, “a minefield of madness, badness, and sadness in equal measure.” Designed by firm Denton Corker Marshall, (who also designed the Stonehenge Visitor Centre), the project will replace the 25 year old temporary pavilion designed by Phillip Cox and will be the first building constructed on the Giardini in two decades.
For CNN’s George Webster, this year’s Biennale is a “bold reminder that architecture is – or at least should be – about a great deal more than blueprints, digital renderings and scale models.” Taking the British Pavilion as a case in point, Webster argues that Koolhaas’ original thematic provocation has paid off, succeeding “because it places people - our history, culture and even our bodies - at the very heart of its thinking.” Travelling through the pavilions of Romania, Germany, the Dominican Republic, and Russia, you can read the article in full here.
Norwegian architect and Pritzker Laureate Sverre Fehn’s original drawings for the Nordic Pavilion in Venice are to be presented alongside Ferruzzi’s monochromatic photographs of the building in an exhibition at the National Museum of Architecture in Oslo. Venice: Fehn’s Nordic Pavilion documents the incredible task undertaken by Fehn who, at the age of thirty-four, won the competition to design the pavilion and subsequently won international acclaim when the building was completed in 1962.
House Housing is the first public presentation of a multi-year research project conducted by the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. Situated in the Casa Muraro in Venice and staged as an open house, the exhibition responds unsolicited to the proposal by Rem Koolhaas, curator of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, that architecture focus on its “fundamentals.”
According to the organisers, “House Housing replies by considering architecture’s economic fundamentals, which locate housing at the center of the current economic regime, with the United States as an influential node in a transnational network. In architecture, economic fundamentals are built from the ground up. The laws of real estate—relating to the acquisition of land, the financing of construction, the cost of building maintenance and services, profit from rent or resale, the value of equity, or the price of credit—inexorably shape any building component (like a window) and any building type (like a house).”
“They are visible even in the residential work of such singular figures as Frank Lloyd Wright, not least because the Greek oikos, or household, forms the root of the word “economy” itself. But look closely and you will see that what seems fundamental, basic, or natural is, like any other law, a historical artifact permanently under construction and subject to change. House Housing narrates nineteen brief episodes from across the last one hundred years in a mixture of domestic media.”
Find out more about the event here.
This year’s Venice Biennale, curated by OMA’s Rem Koolhaas, is “interested in the banal”. In an article in the Financial Times’, Edwin Heathcote discusses the paradox between exploring generic modernism at an event which celebrates the individual. Heathcote raises interesting questions about the extent to which world architecture has developed in modernity, ultimately arguing that, “in a way, architecture is over.” You can read the article, which neatly investigates the curatorial rationale behind this year’s Biennale, in full here.
Architects: Rios Clementi Hale Studios
Location: Venice, CA, USA
Rch Studios Team: Frank Clementi, AIA, principal; Julie Smith-Clementi, IDSA, principal; Huay Wee, architect, senior associate; Anthony Anderson, architect; Carolyn Sumida, landscape architect; Claudia Morello, designer
Area: 2,200 sqft
Photographs: Undine Pröhl