Though the understated Swiss and British Pavilions were the big (and perhaps overly literal) winners at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale investigating Freespace, it was the Chinese that put their relentless architectural progress on display. Nestled in the back of the Arsenale, the Chinese Pavilion presented dozens of built works all around Chinese countryside, each project demonstrating a meaningful social impact through the involvement of villagers in the production process. Among the most visible Chinese architects presenting at the pavilion was Shanghai-based educator and practitioner Philip Yuan, whose office Archi-Union Architects has become a major voice in the already-distinctive contemporary Chinese architecture scene.
The Chinese Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, themed "Building a Future Countryside", is endeavored to explore new technology and ideas to make better of China's rural areas. A digitally-fabricated outdoor pavilion "Cloud Village" has been set up in addition to the national exhibition at the Venetian Arsenale. The Cloud Village has a twisting form which creates a sequence of open and semi-enclosed spaces under its roof. It seeks to convey an abstraction of the everyday life in Chinese countryside where boundaries of private and public realms are not always defined.
The Cloud Village is structurally made possible by the robotic printing technology developed by Philip F. Yuan and his team. Read below for a detailed account of the project from the architects.
With their latest facade construction, Iranian architecture firm Sstudiomm explores the potential that brick can offer by utilizing parametric architecture. Instead of relying on unique construction elements for assembly on-site at a later date, in their new project (called, in full, "Negative Precision. On-Site Fabrication of a ParametricBrick Facade // A DIY for Architects") the firm considers how a simple mass-produced element like the brick can be assembled in unique ways by taking advantage of digital technology. While firms like Gramazio Kohler have already developed industrial methods of assembling brickwork following parametric designs, Sstudiomm aims for a more lo-fi approach, creating parametric brick walls using little more than the traditional construction methods found in Iran and a dose of ingenuity.