La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – Padiglione STATI BALTICI

Castello 2132, Calle S. Biagio, Venice, Italy

34. Baltic PavilionStates (ESTONIA, LATVIA, LITHUANIA)

Commissioner Estonia: Raul Järg. Commissioner Latvia: Janis Dripe (Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia). Commissioners Lithuania: Ona Lozuraité, Jonas Žukauskas. Curators: Karlis Berzinš, Jurga Daubaraite, Petras Išora, Ona Lozuraityte, Niklavs Paegle, Dagnija Smilga, Johan Tali, Laila Zarina, Jonas Žukauskas. Exhibitors: Architekturos Fondas, Eesti Arhitektuurikeskus.

Venue: Palasport G.B. Gianquinto, Castello, Calle S. Biagio

The Baltic Pavilion project is an attempt to be inside many definitions tracing different kinds of ways infrastructure relates (to) resources. The exhibition brings all concerns and ideas together, without the establishment of a finished text, but just showing the relationships between ideas and things; objects, artifacts and brought together in one place and viewed as material presences. At the same time distilling what kind of spatial practice would be appropriate for the Baltics.

The Palasport, the location of the Baltic Pavilion, is a pure example of Brutalist architecture. The building is named after Giobatta Gianquinto, a Venetian, a member of the Italian Communist Party and Mayor of Venice from 1946 to 1951. Its Brutalist, cast in-situ bare concrete form carried the ethical program at the time it was built in 1977. Architecture then, was concerned with communicating the development of building technology with social purposes. Palasport exemplifies the kind of statements or architectural brief issued at that time: to formulate and provide spaces for the society that were previously unavailable. In the context of the historic city, the “Palace of Sports” had a new purpose that it still carries. It is used intensively for sporting activities and communal events. The process of using the space is complex and intertwined not only with its calendar, but also with its general function for celebrating activities by groups of people. Perhaps it is not an accident that the meaning of its ethical architectural form enhances the Baltic Pavilion installation enabling it to continue adapting and changing form through time.

La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – EVENTI COLLATERALI Foster’s Droneport

Campo della Tana, 2169/S, Venice, Italy

33. Norman Foster vaulted Droneport prototype

Architecture: Foster + Partners. Collaborators: Block Research Group, Redline, MecoConcept, LafargeHolcim Foundation. Construction: Carlos Martín Jiménez, Sixto Cordero, Luisel Zaya, Segundo Victor Simba, Luis Alfonso Tituania Male.

Venue: Arsenale.

Foster + Partners has unveiled the first full-scale prototype of its Droneport concept at the Arsenale, which is designed to transport medical supplies to remote regions in Africa using unmanned flying vehicles. The structure is the inaugural project from the Norman Foster Foundation, set up by the British architect to anticipate technological advances in the field, respond to humanitarian needs and encourage a more “holistic” view of architecture.

The vaulted form is made up from two layers of a new type of compressed earth blocks called Durabric, developed by the Lafarge Holcim Foundation for sustainable construction with researchers at the Block Research Group from ETH in Zurich and MecoConcept in Toulouse.  The Norman Foster Foundation is also exploring how a solar-powered building material developed by artist Olafur Eliasson, called SolarBrick, could be 3D printed in future drone ports. The material has its roots in Eliasson’s design for a solar-power light named Little Sun, and would feature a solar panel on its outer surface to power an LED light on its inner surface. It could provide artificial lighting for drone ports in areas where electricity is scarce.

As explained by the architects “the Droneport project is about doing more with less, capitalising on the recent advancements in drone technology – something that is usually associated with war and hostilities – to make an immediate life-saving impact in Africa.”

La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – EVENTI COLLATERALI Kunlé Adeyemi docks Makoko Floating School

Campo della Tana, 2169/S, Venice, Italy

32. Kunlé Adeyemi docks Makoko Floating School – Waterfront

Participant: Adeyemi and his studio NLÉ.

Venue: Arsenale.

Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi brought his floating school to the Venice Biennale, as part of his ongoing research into building for flood-prone regions. Adeyemi and his studio NLÉ developed an “improved, prefabricated and industrialised iteration” of the Makoko Floating School in Lagos, Nigeria, adapting its engineering to suit the Venetian climate conditions.

The Amsterdam and Lagos based studio originally created Makoko Floating School as a building prototype for coastal regions of Africa that have little permanent infrastructure because of unpredictable flooding. Like the original, MFS II is a pointed three-storey floating structure. It spans 220 square metres, over three floors that decrease in scale towards the building’s apex.

“Just as our first prototype sourced local intelligence from the Makoko waterfront community, MFS II is an improved iteration designed to suit Venetian conditions and a wider waterfront population,” said the studio. “Adapted for easy prefabrication and rapid assembly, it is more robustly engineered and affords a wide range of uses. It is mobile, deployable, and ready to be reassembled at its next waterfront.” MFS II was assembled for the Biennale by four builders in just 10 days – using one tonne of metal and 13.5 tonnes of wood for the structural framework, and 256 plastic barrels as a floatation device. It forms the venue for an exhibition titled Waterfront Atlas, which looks at developing coastal communities.

La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – EVENTI COLLATERALI Alexander D’Hooghe in Belgium

Campo della Tana, 2169/S, Venice, Italy

31. An Immigrant market in belgium for permanent modernity

Participant: Alexander D’hooghe, Luk Peeters, Natalie Seys.

Venue: Arsenale.

In addressing the refugee crisis, the immediate assumption is the need to focus on how to accommodate such large numbers of people, and where: inside or outside the cities, in temporary camps or permanent housing, in existing buildings or newly purpose-built constructions. Other aspects on how to deal with the crisis are sometimes neglected: the relationship with existing communities, access to jobs and economic activity, or cultural integration.

D’Hooghe’s immigrant market in belgium takes a parallel and just as relevant approach, that is connected to the very nature of cities as places of production and exchange of goods. It addresses the question of what immigrants are going to do rather than where they are going to live. Simultaneously it addresses the issue of how to intervene in existing cities in europe, cities that may well already have degraded areas. D’Hooghe’s specific design contribution is the introduction of archetypical forms in prefabricated concrete elements, acknowledging that the cultural baggage of a building is just as important as its structural efficiency. This gives the building a civic character, transforming the market into an institution. It blends the functional aspects of efficient city renovation with the intangible of the cultural crossroads of massive migration.

La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – EVENTI COLLATERALI Zumthor’s work

Campo della Tana, 2169/S, Venice, Italy

30. The work of Peter Zumthor from a small village in Switzerland

Architect: Peter Zumthor and Partners, Switzerland.

Venue: Arsenale.

Peter Zumthor has put his designs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on display for the professional community. Inside the Arsenale building, a model of the tar-pit-inspired building has been suspended to float within a curving display of textile artworks by Christina Kim, while a soundtrack by Walter De Maria – “Ocean Music,” written in 1968 – provides a rhythmic backdrop for the installation. Kim’s textile artwork consists of two curving rows of fabrics in a gradient of colors. The fabrics are picked up in the reflection of the model’s continuous glazed wall, where they serve as an abstraction of how LACMA’s collection of paintings and artworks will contrast with the museum’s dark gray concrete shell.

Kim is not a foreigner to LACMA, she has previously worked with both LACMA and architectural themes as a participant in Wear LACMA, in which Los Angeles-based designers were tapped by the museum to create pieces inspired by LACMA’s permanent collection. Kim’s label Dosa created a 10-piece collection inspired by paintings of Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers.

The Arsenale exhibit also contains a small set of site plans and architectural drawings of Zumthor’s design, as well as a calming presence in the form of a bamboo garden.

La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – Padiglione IRLANDA

Campo della Tana, 2169/S, Venice, Italy

29. Irish PavilionLosing Myself

Commissioner: Niall MacLaughlin. Curator: Yeoryia Manolopoulou. Exhibitor: Níall McLaughlin (Níall McLaughlin Architects).

Venue: Arsenale.

Visitors enter the space at the end of the Arsenale through a gap in the partition walls. The room is darkened, in contrast with the projected brightness on the floor. The floor accommodates a 4.8m x 6.4m animated drawing of the Alzheimer’s Respite Center. Dynamic, with multiple projected hands moving across the plane of the floor, that merge and overlap, as they create fragments of a plan. Labouring towards the clarity of a completed plan but falls short of achieving it. These hands represent sixteen individuals inhabiting a series of rooms at the Alzheimer’s Centre. Suspended speakers create a soundscape, consisting of the physical sounds of the act of drawing itself, layered with murmured conversations; sounds of rain and the sea; quotidian noises—a kettle boiling, children playing, people eating—and the bells of the Angelus.

According to the exhibitors “our report is a reflection on the lessons learnt through designing and revisiting buildings for people with dementia”. They had spoken to a broad range of people—neuroscientists, psychologists, health workers, philosophers, anthropologists, people with dementia and their families—about dementia, the brain, and the role of design in dementia care. These conversations are recorded on the website. The exhibtiors are interested in the social function of architecture: how it can improve the lives of people with dementia? Beyond this, it is hoped that the research into the impact of the condition on spatial cognition will equip with a deeper understanding of how all of minds interpret space.

La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – Padiglione CILE

Campo della Tana, 2169/S, Venice, Italy

28. Chile PavilionAgainst the Tide

Commissioner: Cristóbal Molina (National Council of Culture and the Arts of Chile). Curators: Juan Román, José Luis Uribe. Exhibitors: Felipe Aranda, Ximena Cáceres, Claudio Castillo, Ximena Céspedes, Gabriel Garrido, Carolina Guerra, Juan Francisco Inostroza, Yasna Monsalve, Felipe Muñoz, Daniel Prieto, Javier Rodríguez, Jonnattan Silva, Carolina Solís, Tanya Vera, Cesar Verdugo.

Venue: Arsenale.

Against the tide presents the efforts of a generation of young architects who have conceived, designed, and constructed works of architecture, while also arranging their financial and contractual aspects as part of the requirements for their professional degree in architecture. All they have in common is that they belong to the Central Valley of Chile, where they have returned following their academic training to contribute to their communities, creating architectural projects which connect to a set of places where the region’s campesinos and their families can live and work.

Out of this rural landscape and environment, in a state of constant transformation due to agricultural activity and urban development, there emerges a series of pavilions, rest stops, viewpoints, lunch shelters, and squares, or simply places for shade and social encounter, ephemeral or permanent, explicit or abstract. These architectural projects have been erected with minimal resources, with the residues of agricultural processes and with readily available local materials, contributing value and inserting the territory into a global context through a regional ―but not a costumbrist― approach.

Against the tide speaks of a contrary direction that things can take. This exhibition moves against the current of those urban battles ―perhaps more global in scope― waged to improve the quality of the built environment. It puts the accent rather on the customs and landscapes of the rural world, fields and forests, helping through architecture to improve the everyday quality of life of its people.

La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – Padiglione SUDAFRICA

Campo della Tana, 2169/S, Venice, Italy

27. South African PavilionCool Capital: The Capital of Guerilla Design Citizenship

Commissioner: Consul-General Saul Kgomotso Molobi. Curator: Pieter J. Mathews. Exhibitors: Over 1000 citizens of Pretoria participated in creating 150 installations across the city.

Venue: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi.

South African pavilion presents successful physical outcomes and practical solutions to urban challenges, conceived and implemented by citizens for the citizens of the administrative capital city under the umbrella organization of “Cool Capital”. The Pavilion is called “The Capital of Uncurated Design Citizenship”, and showcases a selection of projects from Cool Capital – an urban experiment and labour of love by Mathews and a small team of dedicated architects, artists and designers that began in 2012, coincidentally at the 2012 Biennale Architettura.

Locally referred to as the world’s first uncurated, DIY guerrilla biennale, Cool Capital’s intent was simple: to dislodge the bureaucratic relationship between citizens and public space and to encourage a new appreciation of where they live. The project encouraged citizens to rediscover marginalized or forgotten parts of the city and to collaborate and become active agents in the creative rethinking of them as home, place, destination and capital city. All of Cool Capital‘s projects either challenged, celebrated or leveled the status quo. It continues ideas of urban renewal in the public realm but urges that this discussion should not only be among industry professionals, but also include the broader general public.

La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – Padiglione SINGAPORE

Campo della Tana, 2169/S, Venice, Italy

26. Singapore’s PavilionSpace to imagine, room for everyone

Commissioner: Jeffrey Ho, Executive Director of Design Singapore Council. Curator: Wong Yunn Chii Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore. Exhibitors: Tay Lai Hock – Ground-Up Initiative; Mizah Rahman, Jan Lim – Participate In Design; Bjorn Low – Edible Garden City; Tamae Iwasaki, Eitaro Ogawa – Keyakismos; Tomohisa Miyauchi; Lilian Chee; Lei Yuan Bin; Goldhill Gardening Garden – Moulmein Goldhill Neighborhood Committee); Publi(C)ity Projects of the Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA); National University of Singapore; Singapore Heritage Society; Singapore Nature Society; Comcrop.

Venue: Arsenale.

One may notice that in this pavilion staged for an International Architecture Exhibition, it is not showcasing buildings. Rather it is displaying the connections between people and their spaces. The challenge is that while buildings are traditionally documented in drawings, photographs, and models, the stories of these small “battles” that were found on our home-front had no ready-made form.

To embody the spirit of each participant, the curatorial team selected from each an artefact, a visually striking object that bears the marks of their endeavour or tells the stories succinctly. In one example, the Ground-Up Initiative (GUI) displays the mud-bricks that their volunteers are making for the walls of their new campus. For Participate in Design (P!D), an array of the colourful, now universal, Post-It notes that the protagonists gathered from their consultation sessions is presented.

The selection of the artifacts that will carry the story of each participant is an act of design as much as it is an act of curation. The design philosophy for the Singapore Pavilion is to present the inspiring stories in an honest and transparent manner.

La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – ARSENALE EXHIBITION

Campo della Tana, 2169/S, Venice, Italy

25. Projects exhibited in the Arsenale Exhibition

Venue: Arsenale

The “Reporting from the Front” exhibition is spread over two sites: the Padiglione Centrale in the Giardini and the Arsenale. This is a look at the projects exhibited in the Arsenale.