In this video, presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, the curators of the German Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale discuss their theme of “Making Heimat, Arrival Country.” The exhibition explores the current influx of refugee communities occurring in Germany, and how architecture can be used to improve the “arrival cities” where immigrants tend to settle.
A word without a direct English translation, “heimat” refers to the sense of belonging and hominess of a place, rather than simply its pragmatic function in filling basic human needs.
“In a way it’s ‘modern home’, not only an architectural but also a mental situation," explains curator Oliver Elser. "We have a housing emergency situation and a refugee emergency situation. So these two frontlines come together and it’s absolutely necessary to think about the situation in an architectural way, and not only as shelter for the people."
The pavilion design subverts typical architectural exhibition strategies, opting not to include any architectural models while instead creating what designer Julian Schubert refers to as “spatial installation displaying the atmosphere of arrival cities.”
Commissioner Peter Cachola Schmal concludes, “The German pavilion will not be a normal architectural exhibition. There will be no architectural models; it will be quite something else. It will be political.”