As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage we present the proposal for the Austrian Pavilion. Below, the participants describe their contribution in their own words.
Cities are largely defined by their public spaces. It is here that a range of user expectations come together. The aim of urban design is to find a balance, to act with an eye to the future and cities are largely defined by their public spaces. It is here that a range of user expectations come together. The aim of urban design is to find a balance, to act with an eye to the future and to increase the attention given to public space. Public space is social space. And this is precisely why design is so important. In terms of architectural language, the quality of public space is defined by the balance between space and place, by convincing materials and by major urban design signals as much as by spontaneous and informal gestures. And, always, by high aesthetic aspirations.
The three invited teams – LAAC, Henke Schreieck and Sagmeister & Walsh – address urban spaces and architecture as built landscape. And they do this with great consistency, with self-assurance, with the highest qualitative aspirations and with a great respect for cooperation and interdisciplinarity. A common feature of their work is that their interventions – whether these are architectural, urban or emerge from the logic of the design – are built not in the city but as extensions of it. This approach also enables the notion of the common good to emerge in the shape of a focus on the public interest that is playing an increasingly important role in the current architectural debate.
For the Austrian Contribution to the Biennale Architettura the three conceptual teams will develop an interdependent spatial installation in three parts. In doing this we will refer directly to the theme “Freespace” and address the significance of free spaces for urban contexts. While not alluding to real architectures, we will be working with real spaces – spaces which should enable us to recognise the qualities that these architects and designers are seeking to create with their work: the convergence of outside and inside, vertical and horizontal connections, the historic pavilion and the language of contemporary architecture and design.
“Freespace”, the title given by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara to the Biennale Architettura 2018, describes “generosity of spirit” and humanity as the central aspects of an architectural agenda that concentrates on the quality of space. It also places a focus on mutual exchange and influence between architecture, the users of architecture, nature and natural resources.
Their exhibition in Venice will present built and unbuilt spaces that will essentially employ socio-political questions as the starting point for addressing the issues of spatial quality and architectural beauty. This should make it possible to understand architecture better, to encourage the discussion of architectural core values and to turn the spotlight back onto architecture’s proven and sustainable contribution to humanity.