LocationShenzhen, Guangdong, China
Partners in ChargeBjarke Ingels, Andreas Klok Pedersen
Project ManagerMartin Voelkle
Project LeadersSong He, Andre Schmidt
Vatican City participated in the Venice Architecture Biennale for the first time this year, inviting the public to explore a sequence of unique chapels designed by renowned architects including Norman Foster and Eduardo Souto de Moura. Located in the woods that cover the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the chapels offer interpretations of Gunnar Asplund’s 1920 chapel at Woodland Cemetery in Stockholm, a seminal example of modernist memorial architecture set in a similarly natural wooded context.
A new video produced by Spirit of Space offers a brief virtual tour of the structures that make up the Holy See’s pavilion, lingering on each just long enough to show different views and angles. As members of the public circulate through the chapels in each shot, the scenes give an impression of how each chapel guides circulation.
Known for his daring neo-futurist sculptural buildings and over 50 bridges worldwide, Santiago Calatrava (born July 28, 1951) is one of the most celebrated and controversial architects working today. Trained as both an architect and structural engineer, Calatrava has been lauded throughout his career for his work that seems to defy physical laws and imbues a sense of motion into still objects.
Completed last year, AL_A's porcelain public courtyard at London's V&A Museum is the largest architectural intervention and restoration of the site in more than 100 years. AL_A also designed a new colonnade and a column-free exhibition gallery. The design connects the space with the neighboring buildings on site, giving the museum a more streamlined sequence between gallery spaces.
Constructing places of worship has always been an intricate practice, managing to detach the human, and release the boundary between body, mind, and spirit. Holy presence has been crucial in designing and constructing sacred places, which is why almost all religious building possessed similar characteristics: grandiosity, monolithic material, natural elements, and a plan that compliments an individual’s circulation through the space. Contemporary religious structures, however, found a way to adapt to the evolution of architecture. Unlike the Gothic or Baroque periods, modern-day architecture does not have a dominant identity. It is, in fact, a combination of postmodernism, futurism, minimalism, and everything in between. Architects have found a way to transform these exclusive, religion-devoted places into structures of spirituality, manifestation, and fascination.
Here is a selection of contemporary religious buildings that prove once again that architects are breaking all boundaries of creativity.
For readers around the world who monitored with enthusiasm the opening of Frida Escobedo’s Serpentine Pavilion, but were unable to reach London to experience it in real life, Photographer Nikhilesh Haval of nikreations is here to help.
Similar to previous productions of BIG’s 2016 Pavilion, and SelgasCano’s 2015 Pavilion, Haval 360-degree virtual tour explores Escobedo’s pavilion to capture aesthetic delights such as the Mexican celosias façade, shallow water pool, and curving, mirrored roof element. When inside the courtyard, don’t forget to look up!
Opinion: The Chilean Pavilion Offers the 2018 Venice Biennale's Most Powerful Architectural Statement
This article was originally published by Common Edge as "STADIUM: the Venice Biennale’s Most Powerful Architectural Statement."
The opening of the Venice Biennale has about it a general sense of raucousness and aesthetic cacophony. The entire scene is lush, almost overwhelmingly rich. There are thousands of places for eyes to land. There are outfits: the salty, wet Venice air manages to get at least a few architects to ditch the all-black outfit for its all-white summer counterpart, often cut through with brightly colored, geometric jewelry. There are events: at any given moment, at any point throughout the weekend, there’s a dozen or so architects gathered on a panel to talk about a topic relevant to a pavilion theme, or the edition theme, or to architecture generally. There are parties, picnics along canals, Aperol spritzes that glow bright orange, and designed-to-death tote bags that run out so quickly just carrying them is a sign that you were there, part of the early crowd, in the mix.
It’s all swirling and chaotic and bright and somehow you have to manage to pay attention to serious ideas about architecture while attempting to figure out how it’s possible that you’re still sweating even though it’s 4PM.
As founder of the “Do Tank” firm ELEMENTAL, Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena (born on June 22, 1967) is perhaps the most socially-engaged architect to receive the Pritzker Prize. Far from the usual aesthetically driven approach, Aravena explains that “We don’t think of ourselves as artists. Architects like to build things that are unique. But if something is unique it can’t be repeated, so in terms of it serving many people in many places, the value is close to zero.”  For Aravena, the architect’s primary goal is to improve people's way of life by assessing both social needs and human desires, as well as political, economic and environmental issues.
Mainly known outside of his home country for his design of the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, architect Smiljan Radić (born June 21, 1965) is one of the most prominent figures in current Chilean architecture. With a distinctive approach to form, materials, and natural settings, Radić mostly builds small- to medium-sized projects that flirt with the notion of fragility.
Mnemonics proposes a contemporary take on the event’s theme and takes an ultimately optimistic snapshot of the public urban space that Romanian society has seen transforming over the past decades. It raises the question of the social and cultural functions of the free public space in Romanian cities.
As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage, we present the completed Indonesia Pavilion. Below, the curatorial team describes the exhibition in their own words.
What if architecture has no form and shape? It will be freed.
The Venice Biennale, one of the most talked about events on the architectural calendar, has opened its doors to architects, designers, and visitors from all around the globe to witness the pavilions and installations that tackle this year’s theme: "Freespace." The curators, Irish architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects, described the theme as “a focus on architecture’s ability to provide free and additional spatial gifts to those who use it and on its ability to address the unspoken wishes of strangers, providing the opportunity to emphasize nature’s free gifts of light—sunlight and moonlight, air, gravity, materials—natural and man-made resources.” As the exhibition launched at the end of May, the architecture world rushed to Venice to be immersed in what the Biennale has to offer. But while the 2018 Biennale undoubtedly had its admirers, not everyone was impressed.
Read on to find out what the critics had to say on this year’s Venice Biennale.
Following the opening of the 2018 Serpentine Pavillion this week, designed by Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has turned his lens to London. Ghinitoiu’s images, which you can discover below, capture the elemental beauty of Escobedo’s pavilion, defined by a permeable cement tile façade inspired by Mexican celosias.
Fusing elements typical to Mexican architecture with local London references, the pavilion centers on a courtyard enclosed by two rectangular volumes constructed using the characteristic celosia method.
At first glance, The Stealth Building looks like a pristinely-restored cast iron apartment building. That’s because technically, it is. But upon closer inspection, the Lower Manhattan building is rife with innovative restoration and renovation practices by WORKac.
As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage, we present Freestanding, an exhibition in the Biennale's Central Pavilion. Below, the team describes their contribution in their own words.
Lasting for close to two decades now, the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Exhibition has become one of the most anticipated architectural events in London and for the global architecture community. Each of the previous eighteen pavilions have been thought-provoking, leaving an indelible mark and strong message to the architectural community. And even though each of the past pavilions are removed from the site after their short summer stints to occupy far-flung private estates, they continue to be shared through photographs, and in architectural lectures. With the launch of the 18th Pavilion, we take a look back at all the previous pavilions and their significance to the architecturally-minded public.
The 2018 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Frida Escobedo, was unveiled today in London's Hyde Park. Escobedo's design, which fuses elements typical to Mexican architecture with local London references, features a courtyard enclosed by two rectangular volumes constructed from cement roof tiles. These tiles are stacked to form a celosia, a type of wall common to Mexican architecture which is permeable, allowing ventilation and views to the other side.
Red is everywhere. From stop signs to bricks and lipstick to wine, our constant use of the color in everyday objects has slowly taken over our subconscious. Red is a color that always blends with the context, telling us how to feel or what to think, but why are we attracted to it? Why did cavemen choose ochre-based paint to draw on their walls? Why do revolutions always seem to use red to stir support? Why do we parade celebrities down red carpets, when green or blue would surely do the same job? While the answers to these questions may be vague and indefinite, red’s use in architecture is almost always meticulously calculated.