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Peter St John: The Latest Architecture and News

Caruso St. John to Transform the British Pavilion Into a Politically Charged Meeting Space at 2018 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 29 September, 2017
Caruso St. John to Transform the British Pavilion Into a Politically Charged Meeting Space at 2018 Venice Biennale, The shipwreck in Act I, Scene 1 in a 1797 engraving by Benjamin Smith after a painting by George Romney. Via <a href=“https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tempest#/media/File:George_Romney_-_William_Shakespeare_-_The_Tempest_Act_I,_Scene_1.jpg”>Wikimedia Commons</a> licensed under <a href=“https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en“>CC0 1.0 (Public Domain)</a>. Image © Benjamin Smith
The shipwreck in Act I, Scene 1 in a 1797 engraving by Benjamin Smith after a painting by George Romney. Via Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC0 1.0 (Public Domain). Image © Benjamin Smith

The British Council have revealed Island as the theme of the British Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. In the exhibition, Adam Caruso, Peter St. John (Caruso St. John), and Marcus Taylor will engage "with current political themes," and was submitted by means of an open call with reference to Shakespeare’s The Tempest:

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises; Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.

Reflections On Álvaro Siza's Seminal Quinta da Malagueira Housing Scheme

00:00 - 29 January, 2015

In an essay and accompanying mini-documentary film by Ellis Woodman for The Architectural Review, Siza's iconic Quinta da Malagueira housing estate (1973-1977) in Évora, Portugal, is comprehensively explored and examined with a refreshingly engaging critical weight. Rather than develop multi-story housing in the sensitive landscape around the city, Siza proposed "a plan that distributed the programme between two fields composed of low-rise terraced courtyard houses." As a result, the arrangement of these structures adjust to the "undulating topography ensuring that the narrow, cobbled streets along which the houses are distributed always follow the slope."

As is made clear in the film (above), one of the remarkable aspects about the Quinta da Malagueira estate is that it is "governed by a third layer of infrastructure" which takes the form of "an elevated network of conduits that distributes water and electricity [...] much in the manner of a miniature aqueduct." For Siza, this was a logical move as it provided the cheapest means of distributing utilities around the complex. Woodman ultimately concludes that "Siza’s work at Malagueira invites a reading less as a fixed artefact and rather as one episode in the site’s ongoing transformation."

Read extracts of what Pier Vittorio Aureli, Tony Fretton, and John Tuomey (among others) have said about Siza's œuvre and approach after the break.