Venice Architecture Biennale 2018: The British Pavilion

You join us on the roof of the British Pavilion designed by Caruso St John (pronounced Singen, if you were wondering) Architects, just in time for a nice cup of tea.

Reacting to the brief of Freespace, and called Island, the architect, along with artist Marcus Taylor, has created a completely new area on top of the pavilion while leaving the traditional show space below as a complete void.

A mass of scaffolding surrounds the building to support this new space, which is intended to give a completely new perspective, while also becoming a place for discourse and discussion and, as mentioned, mid-afternoon teas…

Accessed via a stairs on the left of the building, the rooftop space of the British Pavilion shares some aspects with other pavilions that have looked to interpret the brief by creating completely new areas above or within buildings (Hungary above, Austria within) or by using all of the wall space, from floor to ceiling (Spain and France). You can see these other pavilions on this site under the Giardini post.

The empty space below now literally echoes with a new resonance. It’s a ‘sunken world beneath’ the new island above and is a space for a series of curated events and a refuge if the weather turns bad. The pavilion was opened with a brand-new work by UK poet Kate Tempest, which is more than fitting, since Shakespeare’s Tempest, ‘where the protagonists are shipwrecked in a storm and saved from drowning by being washed up on the beach of an unknown island’ was a starting point according to the creative team.

This Island is another England, this Island is Venice, this Island is the vote for the isolation of Brexit – this Island is many things, which come together here in elegant simplicity.

The 16th International Architecture Exhibition: La Biennale Di Venezia
runs until 25 November 2018

Thumbnail image on previous page: Johnny Tucker