We had the chance to sit down with Pedro Alonso, one of the curators of the Chilean pavilion “Monolith Controversies,” at the 2014 Venice Biennale, to learn more about the concept and inspiration behind the Silver Lion-winning pavilion. “We were interested in demonstrating that architects didn’t absorb modernity, but rather, they supplied it. The ones who absorbed it were the workers and the people,” Alonso told us, outside of a replica of a Chilean apartment – the entrance to the Pavilion. “The absorption of modernity has to do with the pieces we are exhibiting. For example, this apartment, the apartment of Mrs. Silvia Gutiérrez in Viña del Mar, which is an exact replica – object by object- of the 518 things that make up her living room.”
The much anticipated Time Space Existence collateral event at Palazzo Bembo and Palazzo Mora for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale brought together a diverse group of 100 architects from six continents in an "extraordinary combination." Summoned by the Dutch non-profit Global Arts Affairs Foundation, the exhibitions the architects were asked to produce documents current developments and thoughts in architecture, highlighting fundamental questions by discussing the philosophical concepts of Time, Space and Existence. Featuring well established architects next to lesser known practices, they all share a "dedication to architecture in the broadest sense of their profession."
Re-Creation is a two-part installation based on a concept by Anssi Lassila. One part of the installation was constructed by a Finnish master carpenter and his team, and the other by a Chinese team. Together the two parts of the installation strike up a subtle and complex dialogue between the architects and local builders.
Germany's contribution to the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale scrutinizes the architecture of representation, its crisis, and potential cessation. Aside from the universal ambition of modernism to break with the past, Germany has undergone a number of decisive political and societal breaks during the last hundred years. Through the question of how the nation "(re)builds and represents itself through architecture, we are able to discuss the friction between national identity and architecture expression—however, architecture is not only a mirror to ideology, but a constituting reality and societal context."
What are the challenges in Africa's current rapid socio-economic development that architects have the capacity to address? Can foreign architects play any role on the African continent today and during the coming decades? If so, how?
The Italian Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale looks at the country’s architecture through the lens of “grafting,” or the transferring of new ideas onto preexisting realities and structures.
“Elements of Architecture,” the Rem Koolhaas-curated exhibition at the 2014 Venice Biennale, delved into several remarkable structural as well as technical components of architecture, including floors, walls, doors, stairs and toilets. But why was light missing?
Curated and commissioned by German Architect / Urbanist Oliver Schütte and Dutch Anthropologist / Economist Marije van Lidth de Jeude, Costa Rica's first pavilion at the Venice Biennale focuses on a competition-winning project for the new Costa Rican Legislative Assembly, a project which illustrates the "vicious circle of social segregation and spatial fragmentation in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica (GAM)."
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.
Mexico’s pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale is centered on Octavio Paz’s reflections on the contraposition between tradition and modernity. Echoing the request from Rem Koolhaas that the national pavilions focus on the theme Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, Paz’s writings establish that “…modernity, for the last one hundred years has been our style. It is the universal style. Wanting to be modern seems like madness, we are condemned to be modern.”
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.
At its debut at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014, Indonesia offers a peek into the country’s past 100 years of architectural history in its pavilion: “Craftsmanship: Material Consciousness.” Moving images projected onto glass panels tell Indonesia’s story through the development of six materials, traced over time: wood, stone, brick, steel, concrete and bamboo. See images of the pavilion and enjoy a statement from the curators after the break.
Dutch practice Bekkering Adams Architecten, in cooperation with ABT and BeersNielsen, recently unveiled an installation at the Palazzo Mora, Venice as part of a collateral event with this year's Venice Biennale. Entitled Form-ContraForm, the sculptural piece reflects on the conceptual and human perception of space - something which they describe as "a space that surrounds and envelops." Distilling architecture's fundamentals (which is also the theme of this year's Biennale) down to the definition of co-ordinates in space, the experience created by Bekkering Adams is akin to the notion of "the mass versus the cavity."
"We consider Bakema not so much an architect of buildings, but an architect of a new idea of what Holland could be--a new national identity, a new national landscape…with an architect in the center of this particular ambition." - Guus Beumer, co-curator of the Dutch Pavilion at the 14th Venice Biennale
In this extended interview by the Architectural Review, Charles Jencks provides an in-depth description of the 2014 Venice Biennale and critiques his former student Rem Koolhaas' overall curation and theme: Fundamentals.
On the morning that France accepted a Special Mention for its exhibition "Modernity: Promise or Menace?" at the Venice Biennale, Curator Jean-Louis Cohen spoke to us about the questions raised within, on, and around the walls of the French Pavilion. Standing in front of a model of the farcical Villa Arpel from Jacques Tati's famous film "Mon Oncle," Cohen explained that France didn't just absorb modernity (as Rem Koolhaas proposed) but that France inspired modernity, providing different expectations, promises and, as the title suggests, menaces.