Our Amazon Frontline: Inside Perú's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.

The Amazon rainforest is our common frontline: constant battles are being fought to preserve the greatest source of biodiversity, oxygen production and climate regulation of the planet.

The Amazon is also the battlefront between the ancestral vision of its inhabitants and the modern vision that western society has over this territory. If we were to learn from the indigenous knowledge, now endangered by hegemonic “western civilization”, we would open an unforeseen insight about medicine, nutrition, and the sustainable production of the rainforest. The dissolution of this last frontline would have global implications and it would even change the way we see our world.

Our Amazon Frontline: Inside Perú's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale - More Images+ 9

The Peruvian Pavilion tells an unprecedented action in this sense: fighting poverty and preserving the Amazon Rainforest through education. The “Plan Selva”, a large-scale public program in our amazon region that reconstructs and rebuilds hundreds of schools scattered in inaccessible places without services, with a new educational program that favors multiculturalism and rescues the native languages.

Our Amazon Frontline / Pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2016. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

The starting point for the project is an attentive dialogue with the Amazonian communities. It proposes a kit of modular parts that allows adapting to particular pedagogic requirements, topographical conditions and size of communities. The result is a climatic-sensitive modular architecture, respectful to the Amazonian way of life.

Our Amazon Frontline / Pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2016. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

This project sets a unique precedent in a Peruvian public institution:  it relies on architecture for a massive educational program, restores dignity to a population that was historically relegated and offers a space for the balanced encounter between two apparently irreconcilable worlds.

Our Amazon Frontline / Pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2016. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

Accompanying this architectural action, the exhibition immerses us in the Peruvian Amazon through visual actions that show the immeasurable mystery of its inhabitants and give a true " radiography " of the impenetrable lushness of the jungle.

Planta General. Image Courtesy of Barclay&Crousse

The visitors will follow a ribbon printed with the faces of the Amazonian children by Musuk Nolte, and the footprint of the jungle, the “Amazogramas” created by Roberto Huarcaya.  This ribbon is suspended from a wooden canopy, in permanent equilibrium. Also suspended, a group of tables and chairs brought from the Amazonian schools, reveal the precarious and harsh conditions in which teachers and students interact today. The balance of the fragile and undulating ribbon compels us, as in the Amazon rainforest, to be responsible for preserving its balance.

Corte. Image Courtesy of Barclay&Crousse


Venue: Sale d’Armi, Arsenale
Participants: Ministry of Education – Plan Selva Project: Project leader: Elizabeth Añaños Team: Militza Carrillo, Miguel Chavez, Sebastián Cillóniz, Alvaro Echevarria, Gino Fernandez, Claudia Flores, Luis Miguel Hadzich, Daisuke Izumi, Alfonso Orbegoso, Carlos Tamayo, Alejandro Torero, Karel Van Oordt, José Luis Villanueva
Commissioner: José Orrego
Curators: Sandra Barclay, Jean Pierre Crousse
Patronage: Fundación Wiese, El Comercio
Production: Patronato
Photography: Roberto Huarcaya, Musuk Nolte, Rodrigo Adb
Project Managers: Claudia Ortigas, Mateo Eiletz
Graphic Design: Arturo Higa
Supporters: Promperu, Mincetur, Ministerio de Cultura, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores del Peru, Ministerio de Educación, Ministerio del Ambiente y Asociacion de Estudios de Arquitectura

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Cite: ArchDaily Team. "Our Amazon Frontline: Inside Perú's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale" 06 Jul 2016. ArchDaily. (Trans. Sandra Barclay, Jean Pierre Crousse) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/790386/our-amazon-frontline-inside-perus-pavilion-at-the-2016-venice-biennale> ISSN 0719-8884

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