Werner Sobek's 2016 Venice Biennale Installation Presents a Sobering Environmental Message

The appointment of Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena as the curator of the 2016 Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia) has seen the exhibition take a more vested interest in social responsibility. In harmony with this theme, German architect Werner Sobek has presented a large cube with a sobering social and environmental message. Entitled "Beyond Form," Sobek's intention mirrors Aravena's; it forces the viewer to look beyond the formal elements of architecture to the unavoidable issues facing it in the near future.

The cube is visually deceptive, as it floats above the floor with a certain lightness that ignores its large mass. As viewers get closer, they can begin to decipher the textual inscription which covers its surface. Intended to provoke discussion around population explosion and global warming, the Assessment Report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is inscribed in 12 languages. The black fabric acts as a veil, concealing half of the message. 

According to Werner Sobek, the future of construction does not lie in questions of form, but in creating more buildings with fewer materials in a completely recycling-friendly way. Photo by René Müller). Image Courtesy of Werner Sobek

In Sobek’s opinion, “the search for the architecture of tomorrow is no longer focused on issues of form. Instead, it is concerned with answering the two major questions surrounding the future of construction. Firstly, due to the population explosion, we must find a recycling-friendly way of using fewer and fewer materials to produce greater numbers of buildings that function without any need for fossil fuels. Our second challenge is to avoid consuming fossilised sources of energy altogether. The enormous volume of CO2 emissions generated during the construction and operation of our buildings exacerbates the problem of global warming in an irresponsible manner.

Despite its volume, the cube designed by Werner Sobek for the 15th Architecture Biennale looks totally weightless. Its message is of great contemporary importance. Photo by René Müller. Image Courtesy of Werner Sobek

The extremely light, fabric covered structure can be easily disassembled, despite its size. It will be dismantled into its constituent parts on the 27th November 2016, the day that it will cease to be exhibited at the Biennale. Check out this article on Sobek's demand for emission free cities to find out more about Sobek's plight for climate protection and sustainable living.

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Cite: Lauren Crockett. "Werner Sobek's 2016 Venice Biennale Installation Presents a Sobering Environmental Message" 18 Aug 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/793276/werner-sobeks-2016-venice-biennale-installation-presents-a-sobering-environmental-message> ISSN 0719-8884

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