Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas' earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”
Fundamentals: The Latest Architecture and News
"The Biennale reveals that modernism was never a style. It was a cultural, political, and social practice," says Sarah Williams Goldhagen in her recent article for New Republic, The Great Architect Rebellion of 2014. This year, the Venice Biennale dissects the notion of modernism by providing a hefty cross-section of architectural history in the central pavilion. However contrary to Koolhaas' prescriptive brief, the 65 national pavilions show modernism was not just a movement, but a socially-driven, culturally attuned reaction to the "exigencies of life in a rapidly changing and developing world." Unexpected moments define the 2014 Venice Biennale: from Niemeyer's desire to launch Brazil into the first world through architectural creation, to South Korea's unveiling of a deep modernist tradition with influence across the nation. This Biennale proved to be truly rebellious - read Goldhagen's article from New Republic here to find out why.
The Argentine pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale analyzes modernity in terms of the IDEAL and the REAL by looking at how the country has used “ideal” modern ideas to construct the reality of its cities.
The curators, Emilio Rivoira and Juan Fontana, structured the exhibit around eight periods, selecting cinema clips to represent the ideal and the real.
Enjoy photos from the pavilion and read the description from the curators after the break.
ArchDaily has been asking architects "What is Architecture?" for over 6 years. It's a question that few interviewees answer without hesitation or bristling. But after asking over 200 architects, we've noticed a pattern: even though many people start very similarly, the answers soon diverge in a way that demonstrates the promise of the profession. And no matter how architecture is defined, the strong majority of architects hold an underlying belief in its ability to influence.
When the ArchDaily team visited the Venice Biennale and entered the Central Pavilion of the Giardini, home to the Elements exhibition, we saw it as a dynamic, immersive, exhaustive response to the question "What is Architecture?" Visitors to the Biennale are introduced to architecture through its elements--the pieces, parts and fundamentals that comprise built structures around the globe.
When Koolhaas chose to focus on Elements, he produced a text (in both book and exhibition format) that gives us the tools to understand what architecture is and how is it has evolved (or stagnated). Even though he didn't invite people to show projects in the traditional sense, the AD editors saw a hopeful undertone to Elements -- it is a resource that can be revisited over and over again, one that will arm the current and future designers of our built world with the knowledge they'll need to address the issues they have yet to even confront.
After the break, see images of the exhibition and read Koolhaas' curatorial statement.
Curated by Rem Koolhaas, this year’s Biennale set high expectations in the architecture world, a fact reflected in the massive attendance during the preview. As Koolhaas stated at the awards ceremony, he took on the hard task of reinventing the Biennale, recognizing its influence in how architecture is exhibited around the world.
Under the title “Fundamentals,” Rem rallied this year’s curators to assemble a vast amount of knowledge, bringing to light research that had been hidden, forgotten, scattered, and/or previously unexamined, and making it available to the larger architectural community. This was achieved not only in the form and content of the Biennale, but also in the numerous publications produced by the curators (a practice which closely follows OMA/AMO traditions).
Yet this is actually a double-edged sword; in many pavilions, the density and depth of the content made it hard to understand at first glance. Architecture festivals and exhibitions tend to lean on experiential one-liners, but since “Fundamentals” was so focused on conveying ideas about architecture’s relationship to modernity over the past 100 years, it was a significant challenge to the curators. Many pavilions produced impressive publications, so that all the rich knowledge they unearthed may continue to influence architectural thought long after the Biennale ends in November.
By focusing on the architecture of interiors, Inaki Ábalos, the curator of this year's Spanish Pavilion, highlights the spaces within 12 Spanish buildings. These projects, mostly completed within the past three years, serve as specifically important instances of refurbishment and regeneration of Spain's built heritage. The exhibition is a study not only of the architecture itself, but of the cultural material that gave rise to the specific forms. Through large-scale photographs and sections of each of the presented spaces, Interior seeks "the place where life unfolds, the central theme of architecture." Read on to find the rest of the curator's statement.
During this year's Architecture Biennale in Venice, homes rented through AIRBnB (although not the company itself) will host an independently curated pavilion. AIRBnB is a six-year old platform through which home owners can rent out rooms, apartments, and entire houses, allowing "the fortress of the family and the individual" to be infiltrated. The pavilion will take advantage of this "infiltration" and how it reveals "the house, the home and today's life." To learn more, follow @airbnbpavilion on instagram and twitter.
With the highly anticipated Venice Biennale just over a month away, ArchDaily is gearing up for what promises to be an impressive architectural display. All of the national pavilions will be organized under one theme: Absorbing Modernity. The event will also include Fundamentals, a look back at some of architecture’s most basic components as a means of examining the history of design in the evolution of societies. All in all, Koolhaas’ conception is for a Biennale that is more "a vehicle for research than an exhibition."
With live, on-the-scene coverage on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts, ArchDaily will be giving you complete access to this year’s biennale events. We will also be crowdsourcing for content, finding out what our readers want to know from this year’s participants and curators. To get things started we will be sharing fun facts about the different countries, artists, and curators participating in the event. Starting today, May 7th, we will be uploading one fun fact per day and will be sharing whatever great content you bring to us!
Stay tuned to the #countdownvenice2014 hashtag and give us feedback, ideas, and suggestions for our coverage of #fundamentals. Let the countdown to #Venice2014 begin!