Paraguay means “water that flows toward the sea” in the language of the country’s indigenous Guarani people. It is no surprise, then, that Paraguay’s entry for the 2014 Venice Biennale uses water as the primary structural member. Titled “Aqua Alta,” the Paraguayan pavilion responds to the Biennale’s focus on modern fundamentals by stating that modern architecture must achieve more with less. Pavilion curator Sergio Ruggeri states: “Modernity is a tension of exceeding, a willingness to change. In a society where the waste is a problem, particularly in a context where resources are poor, the architecture must seek the minimum possible to obtain the maximum result, through a technological, spatial and aesthetic research that becomes a tension towards a synthesis of structure-function-form… which seeks to cultivate [a] state of Modernity.” To that end, architects Javier Corvalan + Colectivo Aqua Alta have designed a series of curved wooden shells, formed using only tension applied to the material via water weight.
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