For the 2012 Venice Biennale, Swiss architect Valerio Oligiati curated a collection of images selected from well-known architects. The concept of the collection - "Pictographs - Statement of Contemporary Architects" - were inspirational images that have guided the work of these architects. These images portray a wide range of subjects that represent the basis of the architects' work from inspiring images to diagrammatic interpretations of concepts to details and materials. The collection will be assembled into a book that will contain a total of 44 "musees imaginaires".
Global architecture underwent a seismic shift in the 20th Century. Governments, keen to mitigate the impoverishing effects of rapid urbanization and two world wars embarked on ambitious social housing programs, pairing with modernists who promised that design could be the solution to social inequality and poverty. Today, the problems inherent in these mid-century tower blocks are well documented and well known, and these modernist solutions to poverty are often seen as ill-conceived failures.
Following the conclusion of David Chipperfield’s 2012 Venice Biennale, the British Pavilion has brought its investigations back to the UK to expand upon ten exceptional research projects that illustrate how architecture has shaped the culture and economy of countries around the world.
During the 13th Venice Biennale we had the chance to interview the team behind San Rocco: Matteo Ghidoni, Giovanni Piovene and Pier Paolo Tamburelli.
At the gardens of the Arsenale designed by Piet Oudolf, a small pavilion, the Casa Scaffali, encloses a fantastic world of smells, textures and artifacts, a Wunderkammer (wonder-room) curated by NY-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.
We had the chance to interview Catalonian architect Jordi Badia at the Vogadors: Architectural Rowers exhibit at the 13th Venice Biennale.
David Chipperfield, the curator of the Architecture Exhibition at this year's Venice Biennale, Common Ground (which wraps up this weekend), will be chatting live this Friday to offer his final two cents on the Exhibition's legacy.
The Dutch Pavilion, built in 1954 by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, is used by curator Ole Bouman (Director of the NAI) and designer Petra Blaisse (Insise Outside) to question how existing buildings can be reanimated, and how our profession can inject a new boost of imagination to give new value to ever growing number of vacant structures sitting dormant around the world.
One of the final events at the Biennale Architettura is the Meetings on Architecture that will take place on November 24 at Teatro alle Tese, Arsenale. In the context of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition Common Ground, the aim is to explore together with the curator David Chipperfield, architects, scholars and critics the themes of the exhibition Common Ground and are addressed to the public of the Biennale Architettura made up, as well as professionals, by passionates, students and visitors of all ages, backgrounds and origins. Organized by la Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta, the ‘Grande meeting di chiusura’ event on this day will be an afternoon of round table discussions reviewing the intentions of the Exhibition and the reactions to Common Ground. For more information, please visit here.
Last year, thanks to a photo essay by architecture photographer Iwan Baan featured in the New York Magazine, the world became aware of a dramatic urban context in Caracas, Venezuela, the result of a lack of available housing: The Torre David (David Tower). The tower, built as the headquarters of the Confinanzas Group during the economic boom of the 90s, was left unfinished after the company went bankrupt in 1994, placing the building in a murky legal void where its ownership was put into question. Since 2000, the tower has suffered looting and decay; the public take-over culminated with the occupation of the tower by more than 2,500 people in 2007.
For the 13th Venice Biennale, Norman Foster was invited to create two exhibitions. On the one hand, there’s Central Pavilion, “Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank HQ”, specifically commissioned by David Chipperfield, which presents how a public space, created by physically lifting a tower to make a space at its base, has been used by people over time.
This exhibition, curated by London-based Sergison Bates Architects, explores the common spaces between the public city and the private room. It considers six recent social housing projects in six cities: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Geneva, Paris, Trondheim and Winterthur. The work, by six different practices, reveals an interconnected culture of thought and practice, a common ground of influence and affinities that extends back to past practitioners and typological precedent.
How to think about today’s architecture, captured in the pragmatic flows of changing society? Can architecture once more be captivating, romantic, humanistic, visionary, and everyday at the same time? It appears that today’s architecture is becoming increasingly complex and ambiguous, and thus increasingly manipulative. It is lost in the cloud of the everyday. But how can architecture be seen again in its elementary correlations, geometry, form, use? To be derived from the specific, idiosyncratic, everyday, and face the timeless, resistant level. How to find the vertical of the everyday? The everyday that makes sense only if it is reflected in the sublime.
Curated by Alexander Ponomarev and Olilga Milentiy, the Ukraine Pavilion presents mobile museums projects under the concept of “Mirage Architecture”. The exhibition focuses on a conceptual design for a Museum of Contemporary Arts in the Antarctic.
Vessel is a site-specific response to the theme of Common Ground – a wooden structure, composed of a stacked planks, that works in conversation with the layered brick construction of the Arsenale. Irish architects O’Donnell + Tuomey have created a contemplative space, hollowed out of solid matter, that is at once a light funnel, a lantern chamber, and a passage.
C+S Architects‘ contribution, Facecity, for the 2012 Venice Biennale, gives form to the idea of the curator, Fulvio Irace, of continuity in architecture. The exhibition reconsiders the architecture of Milan in the 50s and 60s, where architects, belonging to different generations and with different positions, built the identity of the city without giving up their personal poetics.